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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2021

Understanding context and its influence on collaborative planning processes: a contribution to communicative planning theory

Calderon, Camilo; Westin, Martin;


Communicative Planning Theory (CPT) has been heavily criticized for neglecting context and for not paying sufficient attention to how it influences collaborative planning. While some CPT scholars have attempted to address this critique, there are still limited insights into how context hinders or facilitates the realization of collaborative qualities in planning. The paper contributes to attempts to make CPT more attuned to context by focusing on how context influences specific collaborative processes. It develops an approach that sees collaborative processes as embedded in and shaped by the immediate interplay between institutions and agency. The approach is demonstrated in the analysis of two collaborative planning processes in Ahmedabad, India and Bloemfontein, South Africa. The paper argues for the need to look at the interplay between institutional and agential factors when analysing context. It also highlights the important role that agency plays in mediating the influence of context in specific planning processes.


Context; communicative planning theory; collaborative planning; institutions; agency

Published in

International Planning Studies

2021, volume: 26, number: 1, pages: 14–27

Authors' information

Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Urban and Rural Development
Westin, Martin
Uppsala University

Sustainable Development Goals

SDG11 Sustainable cities and communities

UKÄ Subject classification

Human Geography

Publication Identifiers


URI (permanent link to this page)