Participative Urban Planning Rituals in Brazil: The Technical Language Challenge

Authors: Thaís Nassif*, Universidade Federal De Minas Gerais
Topics: Communication, Urban and Regional Planning, Latin America
Keywords: social participation, urban planning, technical language, power, democracy
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/13/2018
Start / End Time: 1:20 PM / 3:00 PM
Room: Galvez, , Marriott, 5th Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

Understanding language as a structuring element of the human relationship with reality and viewing the city as a common and a right — not only of access, but of transformation —, this paper develops from the understanding that urban planning technical language deserves attention as to it’s effects on citizens capacities to affect and interfere both on the city decision-making processes and on space itself.
The challenge presented by technical language to the possibilities of democratic production of space is explored both theoretically and empirically. Composing the theoretical framework, Pierre Bourdieu’s symbolic economy analysis strategy is adopted in order to better understand the system of rules that determine technical language’s efficacy and highlight the social conditions of it's production. Which are fundamentally disciplinary conditions. Fitting also an approach on Michel Foucault´s theory particularly highlighting the author’s developments on the definition of discipline.
As to further develop the theoretical discussion, the task of characterizing participative urban planning forums as rituals is undertaken in the city of Belo Horizonte (Brazil) through the analysis of two distinctive initiatives: a grand scale rezoning and interventions project (Operação Urbana Consorciada Antônio Carlos/Pedro I + Leste-Oeste) and a small slum urbanization plan (Plano Global Específico da Vila Mantiqueira).
The focus on the Brazilian context allows the discussion presented to address a general problem within the fiel of participative urban planing within conditions of great social and political inequality enabling a deep critique on the role of technical language in the reproduction of those same inequalities.

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