Hanging out with “trouble-causers”: Planning and governance in urban Zimbabwe
Taking the relational nature of participatory governance as a point of departure, this chapter interrogates the attitude, behaviour and thinking of planners in urban Zimbabwe. Particular emphasis is placed on the planners’ interaction with the public. The discussion analyses one city’s planning system as it implements an ambitious “governance outreach programme” which involves interacting with youths who are using public space illegally. The central argument of the chapter is that it is difficult to operationalise participatory governance in planning mainly because the relational nature of governance requires planners to act in ways that conflict with their preferred role as technical experts. The discussion exposes how pointless it can be for bureaucrats to interact with the public, when the participants’ attitude, means, behaviour and style express no confidence in the institutional framework. The chapter suggests that the transformation from government to governance is not merely procedural, and requires a deep cultural change on the part of planners.