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 5: Finding spaces for innovation in regional planning practices through enabling and contrasting actions

Angela Barbanente


The chapter proposes a reflection on the experience of an academic planner appointed to the executive body of the Apulia regional council, southern Italy, for 10 years. After highlighting some dilemmas embedded in such a difficult double role in a context characterized by an old land use planning system and huge expectation of change, the article focuses on the case study of the so-called “area of Paduli”. The different processes taking place in this area involved the author in a blend of enabling and contrasting actions. They disclose how the author interpreted her role in politics, as involving continuous direct interactions with local municipalities and more or less organized citizens and groups, connecting top-down vision and bottom-up initiatives. This fed a new collective interpretation of ‘territory’, as an intermingling of material and immaterial heritage to be protected and enhanced through social appropriation processes for more just and durable regional development.

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