Helsingin yliopisto, Helsinki 2007
Aluesuunnittelu ja kestävä kehitys Luoteis-Venäjällä
Ympäristösuunnittelun mahdollisuus paikallisissa hallintatavoissa
Väitöskirja, tammikuu 2007.
In this Ph.D. thesis I have studied how the objectives of sustainable development have been integrated into Northwest Russian urban and regional planning, and how the Russian planning discourse has changed after the collapse of the Soviet Union. By analysing the planning discussion, processes, and strategic documents I have also investigated the use of power and governmentality in urban and regional planning. As a methodological foundation I have used an approach that I call "geographical constructivism". It was possible to answer in a relevant manner the question of how sustainable development has become a part of planning in Northwest Russia through a discourse analysis of the planning discussion.
During the last decades, the aim of sustainable development has become globally one of the most central societal challenges. Urban and regional planning has a central role to play in promoting this process, since many meta-level objectives actually take shape within its sphere. An ever more actual challenge brought by sustainable development is to plan regions and places while balancing the conflicts of the pressures of safeguarding a good environment and of taking into consideration social and economic needs. I have given these unavoidable conflicts of sustainable development a central place in my work. In my view, complementing instrumental and communicative rationality with "conflict rationality" gives environmental planning a well-equipped toolbox. Sustainable development can be enhanced in urban and regional planning by seeking open, and especially hidden, potential conflicts. Thus, the expressed thinking (mentality) and actions taken by power regimes in and around conflicts open an interesting viewpoint into Northwest Russian governmentality.
I examine the significance of sustainable development in planning through Northwest Russian geography, and also through recent planning legislation and four case studies. In addition, I project my analysis of empirical material onto the latest discussion of planning theory. My four case studies, which are based on independent and separate empirical material (42 thematic interviews and planning documents), consider the republics of Karelia and Komi, Leningrad oblast and the city of Saint Petersburg.
In the dissertation I argue how sustainable development is, in the local governmentalities of Northwest Russia, understood as a concept where solving environmental problems is central, and that they can be solved through planning carried out by the planning professionals. Despite this idealism, environmental improvements have been overlooked by appealing to difficult economic factors. This is what I consider environmental racism, which I think is the most central barrier to sustainable development in Northwest Russia. The situation concerning the social dimension of sustainable development is even more difficult, since, for example, the development of local democracy is not highly valued. In the planning discourse this democracy racism is explained by a short history of democracy in Russia. However, precisely through planning conflicts, for example in St. Petersburg, planning has become socially more sustainable: protests by local inhabitants have bypassed the poorly functioning representational democracy, when the governmentality has changed from a "mute" use of power to one that adopts a stand on a conflicting issue.
Keywords: Russia, urban and regional planning, sustainable development, environmental planning, power and conflicts in planning, governmentality, rationalities.
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© Helsingin yliopisto 2007
Viimeksi päivitetty 02.01.2007