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Department of Planning

PhD defence by Sara Bjørn Aaen

Understanding citzen action in infrastructure development processes


08.09.2017 kl. 12.30 - 15.30


Living with infrastructure facili2es can have a significant impact on individuals as well as local communi2es. Development of new infrastructure in par2cular is therefore something ci2zens are forced to relate to. They do this by ac2ng meaning into the situa2on. The current situa2on where more and more infrastructure projects are being opposed by ci2zen groups shows a need for a be?er understand of the way ci2zens act in rela2on to infrastructure development.
This disserta2on seeks to provide a be?er understanding of ci2zens’ ac2ons related to the development of infrastructure and the dynamics that form these ac2ons. This is done by focussing on the interac2onal processes that go into forming the ci2zens’ ac2ons as well as the factors that play a role in the ac2on forma2on process. The disserta2on inves2gates these two aspects of ac2on by studying ci2zen ac2on in four cases of energy infrastructure planning processes in Denmark.
The primary contribu2on of the disserta2on is the development of a novel framework that takes into considera2on the situated and construc2vist nature of ac2on. The results suggest that ci2zen ac2on is governed by two supplemen2ng processes: 1) An enactment process where ci2zens translate the myriads of homogenous influencing factors into a network in order to make sense of the infrastructure development process and enacts the network as a way of ac2ng order into the situa2on and 2) an interac2on process where human actors, in the effort to make sense of the process they are a part of, enact a situated order in the interac2ons between them which come to define what is meaningful ac2ons for the ci2zens to take. Ci2zen ac2on is therefore, according the disserta2on ́s results, best understood as a con2nuous process of transla2on, sensemaking, enactment, and interac2on rather than a result of the influence from various independent factors.
The disserta2on ́s findings are especially relevant to the prac2ce of public par2cipa2on as it provides insights into how par2cipatory processes could be?er adapt to the ci2zens’ ac2on forma2on process.

assessment committee

Professor Dr. Finn Arler (Chairman), Aalborg University

Professor Dr. Patrick Devine-Wright, Exeter University

Professor Dr. Tove Egrob Boon, University of Copenhagen


Associate professor Søren Kerndrup, Department of Planning, Aalborg University

Associate professor Ivar Lyhne, Department of Planning, Aalborg University


Professor Lone Kørnøv, Department of Planning, Aalborg University, Denmark


Please sign up for this event no later than September 1st at 12.00 in this link


Free of charge


Department of Planning


Rendsburggade 14, 9000 Aalborg, room 4/4.513

Registration Deadline

01.09.2017 kl. 12.00