Rethinking Place in Planning: Opportunities in Northern and Aboriginal Planning in Nunavut, Canada

By Nilsen, Erik Borre | Canadian Journal of Urban Research, Summer 2005 | Go to article overview

Rethinking Place in Planning: Opportunities in Northern and Aboriginal Planning in Nunavut, Canada


Nilsen, Erik Borre, Canadian Journal of Urban Research


Introduction

There is increasing discourse in the planning discipline with regards to the democratic deficit, a term used to describe the conceptual cleft existing between the state (or other regulatory decisionmaking bodies) and civil society. Interest in the democratic deficit has heightened as governance structures have not managed to ensure widespread social equity. The planning discipline, as a governance form, is presumably geared to supporting the interests of people and places. Therefore, there is mounting conjecture that policy construction must be malleable, meaning it must be made more responsive to the citizens for whom, and places for which, it is intended to serve. This necessarily implies that planning systems require restructuring.

The viewpoint that planning systems should be restructured to ensure more socially responsive policy can be achieved has been particularly pronounced in the field of Northern and Aboriginal planning. This is, in part, owing to the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples (Canada, 1996), which set a benchmark in conveying that Northern social and economic policy requires greater consideration of context and cultural sensitivities. The viewpoint is also owing to the recent progression of Northern political institutions, and to the increasing organisational capacity of Aboriginal stakeholder groups. These developments have been instrumental in facilitating the creation of the Territory of Nunavut itself, a political entity whose formalisation marks the beginnings of a legitimate movement towards Northern and Aboriginal self-governance and self-determination. As part of this movement, a certain devolution of decision-making authority in policy arenas has occurred. Agencies have increasingly begun to experiment with more grassroots-modelled collaborative planning approaches.

This paper is grounded on the premise that Northern policy development should proceed in view of the right of First Nations self-determination, especially given the predominant Aboriginal population in Canada's North. (1) The paper acknowledges the potential of fledgling governance directives aimed at Northern empowerment, but suggests that collaborative planning practices require a more precise point of focus to ensure those directives adequately address context and cultural sensitivities. Specifically, the paper argues for an explicit focus on place conceptualisation in planning discourses. This is because the manner in which places are perceived factors importantly in the range of choices made possible for contextually appropriate policy development.

Place conceptualisations: perspectives and planning implications

There is an emergent body of literature suggesting that places are social constructs (Hillier, 2001; Madanipour, 2001; Graham and Healey, 1999; Vigar et al., 2000; Healey, 1998; Byrne, 1996). That is to say that place entities are perceptual phenomena. It follows that individuals give meaning to particular locations, each within their own social context, and in relation to the experiences of being in those social contexts (Healey, 1998). Massey (1993, 66) submits that places are "articulated moments in networks of social relations and understandings." From this standpoint, the notion of place is largely detached from a physical or object oriented viewpoint of space. As Hillier (2001,97) elaborates, place is a "surface of inscription and identity, offering different meanings to different people."

Taken as a social construct, the concept of place is not straightforward (Healey, 1998a). Yet the planning discipline has historically perceived place in a forthright manner. This is a consequence of the discipline's allegiance to the Western scientific tradition. Rationalistic philosophies of this tradition have implicitly dictated that the discipline support the idea that unitary, unbiased interpretations of places are possible (Graham and Healey, 1999).

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Rethinking Place in Planning: Opportunities in Northern and Aboriginal Planning in Nunavut, Canada
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.