The first difficulty is that if we look at the titles of the delegations in the cities, we see that urban planning concerns several delegations: PLU, resilient city, urban strategy and PLU operational planning, ecological transition and planning, territorial equity and city policy, ecological and territorial transformation. There is little delegation to urban planning. The division between the planning part and all the documents that go with it and operational urban planning remains de rigueur in addition to all the new terms around ecology, nature's green spaces and soft mobility. There can be up to 4 delegates in the field of urban planning in a metropolis.

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Being elected in urban planning in 2020 ?

Column by Jean-Yves Chapuis, sociologist, urban planner, elected in Rennes city (France) from 1983 to 2014, former vice-president at the Rennes Metropolis and director of the school of architecture in Rennes. He is now an advisor in urban strategy.

The first difficulty is that if we look at the titles of the delegations in the cities, we see that urban planning concerns several delegations: PLU, resilient city, urban strategy and PLU operational planning, ecological transition and planning, territorial equity and city policy, ecological and territorial transformation. There is little delegation to urban planning. The division between the planning part and all the documents that go with it and operational urban planning remains de rigueur in addition to all the new terms around ecology, nature's green spaces and soft mobility. There can be up to 4 delegates in the field of urban planning in a metropolis.

The consequence of this fragmentation, which is quite understandable given the new ecological awareness and the consequences that go with it, is of course the way in which these delegations will work with each other and how the departments of cities and metropolises will organize themselves.

The paradox is undoubtedly that it is the organization of the branches that will have an increased role in the organization of the horizontality of the urban problem in the broadest sense. To invent the places for dialogue between the delegations concerned and the departments in order to be able to examine the files and take action.

Second difficulty, how will the dialogue with citizens be organized?

Sometimes, in addition to the elected officials of the neighborhoods, there are also elected officials who coordinate the neighborhoods or are responsible for local democracy. We live in a society where citizens need recognition and visibility, must be able to express and tell their stories and explain the notion of living that goes far beyond a program of housing, facilities, roads, public spaces, urban forms. To talk about their lives.

How can the dialogue between several delegations that affect urban planning be organized with neighborhood approaches that will have to be able to respond to citizens' questions about the way they live in the city or metropolis? This debate must be carried out, well before any project, as an acquired knowledge that should allow us to think about other forms of democracy. This is not to deny representative democracy, participatory democracy and direct democracy, but it is how to continually create what I call the democracy of knowledge. This requires, whether we like it or not, a certain refocusing in order both to grasp these multiple demands and, above all, to enable elected officials with general management to be able to constantly evolve the way of doing both services and elected officials in this uncertain and complex world.

In the end, this approach requires a certain concentration on large delegations and, at the same time, strong decentralization in the field in order to continually organize the response to multiple expectations.

The question that arises is that this dispersion of delegations risks making concrete answers difficult for citizens? and the response time in a society of presentism and where social networks amplify democratic demands risks continually creating a mismatch between questions, questions asked for explanations and democratic answers.

Illustration :  Phototechno - istockphoto.com

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