25 June, 2014


Constance Carr & Evan McDonough will present,
Whither sustainability? Governance and regional integration in the Glatt Valley

at the

RSA Research Network Second Workshop on
Governing the Sustainability Transition – How to govern fundamental Sustainability Transition processes?
10-11 July 2014

University of St. Gallen


This paper problematises the concept and practice of integrative planning – one of the central tenants of sustainability. We contend that, in practice, planning for the broader goal of spatial integration has the effect of producing a fundamentally paradoxical and contradictory social space, a form of urbanisation (or suburbanisation) that reinforces some of the problems which sustainability seeks to address. Drawing on an empirical base of observations of transport integration initiatives in the region of the Glatt Valley, and interview work in the field, this paper examines how integrative spatial planning strategies sanction further fragmentation. Observed in the Glatt Valley were attempts to consolidate infrastructure towards optimising capital accumulation along particular axes of flows. Housing, transport, and economic development were three key areas that needed to be integrated for success. The apparent integration of the region, however, is contrasted against a fragmented field of governance, an ambiguous set of winners and losers, and an uncertain trajectory of long-term stability. The research confirms that integrative strategies can entrench and exacerbate existing tendencies of fragmented governance, and in fact, generate new rounds of fragmentation with respect to land use and social worlds.

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