Contentious Content: Planning-related citizen protests in Berlin 2005 – 2015

Organisation: AESOP - Association of European Schools of Planning
Event name: AESOP Annual Congress 2018

In recent years an increase and qualitative change in citizen protests with respect to local spatial plan-ning has been observed in Germany as in many other countries. Based on results of a DFG-funded pro-ject on planning-related protests in Berlin between 2005 and 2015, the paper examines the specific political opportunity structure, types of contents and political nature of citizen protests in spatial plan-ning.
Drawing conclusions from quantitative and qualitative research alike and in contrast to most commen-tators on protest phenomena the paper argues, that process related aspects of planning such as insuffi-cient public participation play only a minor role in the genesis of these protests. When citizens decide to protest, their main aim is to propose a concrete solution to problems in urban development, that constitutes an alternative to official plans, current trends or the missing involvement of planners. It is also possible to distinguish between at least nine types of alternative problem solutions articulated in protest.
Although contemporary planning protests might be less ideological than their predecessors during the era of “new social movements” and could be described as “gentrified” – as they are mainly middle class – they are highly political. Protesting is nowadays a “normal” form of participation and at least in some parts of Berlin has also become an important part of the current local governance mode.

Last updated on 2018-05-12 at 16:40