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The spatial dimension of project-making

Chapter in book
Authors Mirek Dymitrow
Published in In: Dymitrow, M. and Ingelhag, K. (eds.), Anatomy of a 21st-century sustainability project: The untold stories, in production
ISBN 978-91-984166-3-3
Publisher Mistra Urban Futures
Place of publication Gothenburg
Publication year 2020
Published at Department of Economy and Society, Unit for Human Geography
Mistra Urban Futures
Language en
Keywords space, urban, rural, development, projects, projectification, perspectivism, 21st century, sustainability
Subject categories Human Geography, Philosophy, Social Psychology

Abstract

Understanding the spatial dimension of project-making is important because projects are almost always restricted to a spatial focus – they are being spatialised. There are spatial projects referring to the geographical scale of the project, such as global, local or regional projects. There are spatial projects referring to hierarchies of political entities, such as state, county or municipal projects. There are spatial projects referring to the character and quality of the area of deployment, such as rural, urban or nature projects. There are spatial projects referring to the relations between the involved actors, such as national, international or supranational projects. Finally, there are spatial projects referring to specific administrative or functional units, such as Gothenburg, the City Park, Main Street, Lake Victoria or the Amazon. The question, hence, is less whether projects are spatialised, but why and how. A long history of spatial analyses in scholarly literature reveals the problematic nature of thinking about societal projects in terms of spatial demarcations. Spatial thinking before problem thinking could be described as a form of apophenic or pareidolic perspectivism conditioned by the prevalent culture of spatial planning, which may or may not impair sound diagnosis and intervention. In this chapter, I approach the phenomenon of spatial thinking in the context of project-making from several perspectives, each with its own set of assumptions and hidden problems. The purpose of such an approach is to raise awareness about the complicated role space plays in project-making upon our decisions, actions, and the consequences of those actions.

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