Power and participation in urban planning : an ethnographic case study of Curitiba, Brazil Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/g445cg557

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  • This thesis examines the concepts of power and participation and how they are intertwined in the examination of the urban planning systems in Curitiba, Brazil. Power is identified as both the planning system's ability to affect the daily lives of the city's residents and the power of individuals and groups to influence the planning process. Participation relates to how individuals, groups and communities are involved in the planning process. As a case study, Curitiba presents an example of how power gradients within the city influence participation in planning and how the power of planning impacts the daily lives of citizens. To explore these two themes, ethnographic research was conducted using ten key informants and more than twenty supporting informants. Additionally, participant observation methods and demographic data supplemented the respondents' statements. Three main aspects of the city's planning system -- transportation, land-use and education -- are examined. The discussion of these systems focuses on four main themes -- public participation, the role of government, the unequal provision, access and use of social services, and power relationships. The final three chapters examine the theoretical implications of this work and the application of the results to planning elsewhere. Planning in Curitiba demonstrates the inability of modernization theory to explain the multidirectional influences of planning concepts. Dependency theory and the world-systems perspectives are shown to offer better explanations of the dominance of multinational corporate interests in planning and the role Curitiba's planning systems play in incorporating residents into the broader world. Furthermore, the planning system in Curitiba shows the inability of elitist and pluralists perspectives of community power structures to capture the complexity of planning decisions. On the individual level, the resistance of shanty town residents to planning is viewed as a form of participation. Curitiba's planning systems show the importance of including the whole community in the process. Planners must encourage citizen participation and work to mobilize diverse community groups. Planning must be depoliticizing and supported through innovative leveraging of the city's resources. In promoting a city's planning identity, planners must identify the individual interests that motivate involvement in the planning process.
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