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About becoming more skilled in participating

Book Contribution - Chapter

Strategic planning means participation. Strategic planning is based on the proposition that we cannot plan everything and must therefore make choices; for strategic locations, strategic challenges, in cooperation with strategic players. Strategic planning also assumes that planners must be prepared to review these choices at all times, because different locations, challenges and players can always emerge. This makes Louis Albrechts conclude that "much of the (planning) process lies in making the tough decisions about what is most important for the purpose of producing fair, structural responses to problems, challenges, aspirations, and diversity" (2004, p.751). This means that strategic planning is complex and we can never leave it to planners alone. Albrechts therefore writes that 'making difficult decisions' requires support and the involvement of as many social groups as possible. The Spatial Structure Plan for Flanders is based on the principles of strategic planning. Consequently, participation is an integral part of spatial policy. When the Structural Plan was approved in 1997, the Flemish Government gave advice to municipalities by means of a circular letter on the timely involvement of citizens and civil society in the preparation of structural plans. Since 2005, participation has been legally compulsory: for example, the municipal decree2 stipulates that municipalities must involve their citizens in the development of (spatial) policy and make their (spatial) decisions transparent. The Urban Policy also focuses on participation. For example, the jury for urban renewal projects judges project proposals not only on their (spatial) quality, but also on the participation process they will start. The same applies to the White Paper Spatial Planning Policy Plan for Flanders, which focuses on 'equal partnership' and 'integrated development'. The result is an enormous increase in participatory projects
Book: Plandag 2017
Number of pages: 10
Publication year:2017