March 2, 2012
Long on Overcoming Neoliberal Hegemony in Community Development
Jerrold A. Long (Idaho) has posted Overcoming Neoliberal Hegemony in Community Development: Law, Planning, and Selected Lamarckism. The abstract:
Law constrains our behavior, both individually and collectively. Legitimate law is that law that emerges from an inclusive process that identifies a governed community’s collectively imagined future for a place, while respecting the concerns of necessarily oppressed minority interests. In the land use context, we use comprehensive land-use plans to identify and communicate a vision that motivates binding behavioral changes — i.e., plans create visions that are sufficiently attractive to motivate communities to act in meaningful ways. To the extent law emerges from an inclusive and effective community plan, it is legitimated by that plan. But a planning process that relies exclusively on letting visions emerge from a community necessarily prefers those visions that provide individual economic benefits to specific participants — e.g., the growth machine. Public goods — even public goods that might represent the “best” vision for a particular community — are not championed, supported, or developed in the planning process. Combined with a general trend toward neoliberal governance, and the weak legal position of comprehensive plans, this inherent preference for the growth machine over the public good yields land-use ordinances that are unrelated to what might be the best vision for a community. The remedy is twofold. If planning’s purpose is to achieve public goods, planners must be willing to represent the unrepresented, potentially forcing particular visions on communities during the planning process rather than waiting for private-good-driven visions to emerge, at least initially. And the forced visions must be sufficiently specific so as to limit the universe of legal choices, and land-use consequences, that result. If the forced vision is useful — if it is a public good — the community will adopt it. Without the forced vision, it does not have that opportunity.
As coincidences go, I just had the pleasure of meeting Jerrold for the first time tonight at the ALPS reception, and then came back to jump on the interwebs and see that he has one of the most recently-posted land use papers on SSRN. So check it out.
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I truly struggled with the premises and conclusions for the most part of this posting. For me there were a lot of assumptions. But let me not get bogged down there. Let me go to what I agreed with.
“…If planning’s purpose is to achieve public goods, planners must be willing to represent the unrepresented…” This logical premises rings true to me.I think that this is critical ly necessarily for fairness.
“… potentially forcing particular visions on communities during the planning process rather than waiting for private-good-driven visions to emerge, at least initially…”
The “forcing” part bothers me, however, believing it to mean forcing-on-the-planning-process; I understand why forcing-the-other-underrepresented-visions would be needed in this case. …but still I think to force it will have other problems down the line??!
“… And the forced visions must be sufficiently specific so as to limit the universe of legal choices, and land-use consequences, that result…”
Can’t say I agree with that at all. There tend to me natural limitations in most situations...why must the universe-of-legal-choices be limited??!! Not getting that at all, but am open to more clarity.
“…If the forced vision is useful — if it is a public good — the community will adopt it….”
I disagree with this as it is just not a fact of life or CED. Many of us have seen public-good things proposed to communities who just did not want it or adopt it for a plethora of reasons.
“…...Without the forced vision, it does not have that opportunity…” Again I agree...but I would still try to use another word than force. I just can't think of one right now. The word force just has other implications to me. It conjures up images of where the “underrepresented” might be unfair to the more-represented---just my view at the moment.
Posted by: Sanyakhu-Sheps Amare' | Mar 4, 2012 12:32:46 PM