Precarious Parks

Authors: Robert Priebe*, University of Alberta
Topics: Urban and Regional Planning, Qualitative Research, Social Theory
Keywords: Parks, planning, social relational institutional theory,
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/11/2018
Start / End Time: 3:20 PM / 5:00 PM
Room: Balcony L, Marriott, River Tower Elevators, 4th Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


This paper and presentation will discuss a case study in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada of processes that will redeveloped public lands for private housing using social relational institutional theory revealing the tension of city legal ownership of parcels and community perceived ownership through use of sites. The presentation will focus on the discourse used by politicians and senior administrative officials to support the redevelopment, the silencing of alternative viewpoints and the lingering distrust generated by the process. The physical development of a community, the building of roads, utilities, and other supportive infrastructure (i.e., parks, schools, police and fire services, etc) at any one point in time is simply a current snapshot of past history and standards that supports the development of homes, stores and jobs for an evolving community. New applications and planning processes are based on a desired better or different future than currently exists. Politicians and administrators job is to manage change if and as necessary for the betterment of the entire community, which may create local dis-benefits but broader city wide benefits, or may simply benefit selected actors over others, or all of the above. The paper and presentation explores the decision making process to interrogate how the decision was made, who was privileged, who was disadvantaged, and to recast the result within four alternative planning theories: managerialism, pluralism, neoliberalism, or reformism. This work is based on a series of qualitative interviews of key actors engaged or disengaged in the process.

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