Congratulations to Prof Vanesa Castán Broto on her new paper “Queering participatory planning” in the journal of Environment & Urbanization.
All over the world, people suffer violence and discrimination because of their sexual orientation and gender identity. Queer theory has linked the politics of identity and sexuality with radical democracy experiments to decolonize development. Queering participatory planning can improve the wellbeing of vulnerable sectors of the population, while also enhancing their political representation and participation. However, to date, there has been limited engagement with the politics of sexuality and identity in participatory planning.
This paper identifies three barriers that prevent the integration of queer concerns. First, queer issues are approached as isolated and distinct, separated from general matters for discussion in participatory processes. Second, heteronormative assumptions have shaped two fields that inform participatory planning practices: development studies and urban planning. Third, concrete, practical problems (from safety concerns to developing shared vocabularies) make it difficult to raise questions of identity and sexuality in public discussions. An engagement with queer thought has potential to renew participatory planning.