Planning Inequality : Social and Economic Spaces in National Spatial Planning
Publication: Research - peer-review › Journal article
While traces and techniques of power and contestation around the understanding and production of spaces are clearly recognized in the sociological and planning research literature, there has been little rigorous attention to how socio-spatial inequality is put at stake in strategic mobilization around particular spatial imaginaries. In an analysis of the German Spatial Planning Report, the paper examines how inequalities are represented in relation to space and movement in spatial strategy. The analysis shows how, in the report, the spatial dimension of the social is represented as a territorial container, in which the social merges into regional and national entities. Correspondingly, movement is only interpreted as a derived demand, ignoring its integrative aspect as precondition of participation and part of network capital. On the other hand, the spatiality of the economy is represented as something outside and fluid which is meant to be channelled into the territorial containers by means of regional development and spatial planning. These representations of the social suggest a territorialized culturally integrated society as the unquestioned frame of reference which has lost its adequacy and explanatory power against the background of a qualitatively and quantitatively increase of border transgressing relations and movements. However, this view covers the economic forces producing inequalities and reduces the political space of manoeuvre to redistributions within territorialized socialities, thus sustaining the dominant neoliberal paradigm.