Modulation of Singularities – A Complexity Approach to Planning Competitions

Authored by: Joris E. Van Wezemael

The Ashgate Research Companion to Planning Theory

Print publication date:  July  2010
Online publication date:  November  2016

Print ISBN: 9780754672548
eBook ISBN: 9781315279251
Adobe ISBN: 9781315279244


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What lies at the heart of the complexity turn for planning is that complexity is no longer placed on the plane of interpretation – of meanings, of linguistic structures – but on the plane of a relational materiality and a realistic constructivism. In this chapter I discuss the consequences of this shift in worldview for the conception of decision-making in planning. I illustrate my argument by referring to planning competitions as a specific practice in Switzerland. Planning competitions (architectural, urban design and urban planning competitions) are a widely used instrument in Switzerland and form an important part of the planning culture (Van Wezemael 2009). In this chapter I will also elaborate on a conceptual perspective that helps us with the question of how planning competitions as a particular practice could be designed so that innovative energy may be released.

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