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 11: Governing planning in Milan

Alessandro Balducci


One year in the position of deputy-mayor for urban planning in the city of Milan gave me the opportunity to look from inside what I normally used to study from outside. My academic background was relevant in different ways: it provided me with a deep knowledge of the city; it supported me in gaining recognition and trust from the Mayor and my colleagues; it helped me in using the typical academic technique of meeting with peers not to be overwhelmed by events. Beyond what was already defined, I took some new initiatives with the general objective of bringing quality projects in peripheral areas: selling public assets to reinvest in the periphery; organizing a task forces to develop priority projects; launching a co-planning initiative with internal municipal districts and external municipalities. I coped with issues of participation, conflicts and political controversies, holding that being equipped with sound planning theories is certainly helpful but does not prevent failure.

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