Planners in Politics
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Planners in Politics

Do they Make a Difference?

Edited by Louis Albrechts

In this innovative book, ten executive politicians with backgrounds in planning from around the world dissect their own political careers. Reflecting on the often structural impact of their work in political decision-making, they also consider the translation of their experiences back into academic life or professional practice.
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Chapter 4: From policy-scientist to science-informed politician. Combining territorial imaginaries, external circumstances and domestic possibilities

João Ferrão


This is the story of a 5 year-long journey through the realm of national government made by an academic with no political party affiliation. It was an exciting and demanding journey, whose (relative) success resulted from a fortunate combination of personal characteristics, national circumstances and supranational contexts. It was a journey that shows how an educational background with a weak professional reputation (geography), being a secretary of state of a domain with little social acceptance (spatial planning) in a ministry with no political weight (leadership by a party-independent minister) in a small and peripheral country in the EU context (Portugal) are not necessarily obstacles, and can even be an advantage, in putting innovative policies on the political agenda and fostering them at national and local level. However, this is also the story of the post-journey homecoming, and its effects on the traveller, his values, ideas, practices and priorities as an academic and citizen.

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