The institutionalization of just decision making: analyzing planning practice in Portugal
The institutionalization of just decision making in urban policy and planning is fundamental for the achievement of social justice in the city. In this paper we highlight the importance of generating adequate institutional conditions for the constitution of cosmopolis, Sandercock’s postmodern utopia of justice. In doing that we resort to sociological institutionalist approaches to planning and policy analysis to evaluate a specific planning practice in the Portuguese planning system. Hence, after putting forward an appropriate analytical framework we tell the story of the decision-making process in the revision of Porto’s Municipal Director Plan by delving through its intertwined history and evaluating it against the chosen criteria of social justice. The transcendent aim of this paper is to help to find opportunities for institutional improvements which can open the way for nonoppressive decision making and a more socially just urban future in Portugal and elsewhere.
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