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 12: Prof(ass)essori, politics and planning: lessons learned for making a difference

Daniela De Leo

Abstract

The focus of this book suggested the need to develop a different reading of the results achieved from a previous research work about a special subset of politicians not only with an academic background in urban planning but also as professors in this field, which I called prof(ass)essori. So, the chapter, from one side, underlines how this academic background impacts political action, but also how political experience impacts academic work, by reflecting on political actions taken by urban planning professors; from the other side, explanations regarding the falseness of certain theoretical dichotomies such as technique and politics, and the emergent, but unexpected relevance of “asymmetries of power” are underlined. Asymmetries of power are discussed as challenges for political action well managed by the prof(ass)essori, and to suggest strategies for educating future urban planners. Then they are finally stretched to suggest a simple essential knowledge set for politicians, albeit they lack the urban planning background to make a much greater difference in their duties on city and territorial issues.

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