Changing frames: citizen and expert participation in Georgian planningChanging frames: citizen and expert participation in Georgian planning
Faculty of Social Sciences. Sociology
Centre on Inequality, Poverty, Social Exclusion and the City
Planning practice and research. - Abingdon
25(2010):3, p. 377-395
University of Antwerp
In this paper, we analyze the evolution of the spatial planning system in the Republic of Georgia, from late Soviet times to the present day, with a focus on its capital, Tbilisi. Through a reconstruction of the changing roles of various professional groups and governmental actors, we try to delineate the possibilities for citizen participation at different points in time. By examining the paths of historical dependence in this evolution, we outline the transformation options that are most likely to succeed now. This is relevant, since the current planning system is not very inclusive, making it hard to observe issues and to adjust to changing preferences in society. Using key concepts from social systems theory (Luhmann) and new institutional economics (North), it is argued that, in the current situation, import of western concepts of participatory planning might not be advisable. Participatory planning, direct citizen participation in spatial governance, is more likely to succeed in a highly differentiated society; in particular, one where the representative democracy, with its separation of powers, is already functional. It could even undermine the fragile process of ongoing institution-building, by reinforcing undesirable informal institutions.