Vores by - vores ansvar: En governmentalityanalyse af byplanlægning i Sydney, Australien

Helle Hartvig

Student thesis: Master thesis


This dissertation explores an urban planning strategy executed by the Department of Planning in New South Wales, Australia. The strategy „Metropolitan Plan for Sydney 2036‟ is the first of its kind in Australia to combine economic and social goals, i.e. the plan includes strategic directions not only for the city‟s sustainable growth, competitiveness, and climate change management, but also objectives for the citizens‟ liveability and social inclusion. How does such a strategy work and with which potential consequences for the power relation between the government and the citizens? These are the key questions I set out to answer in this dissertation with the purpose of contributing to the recent debate concerning the government‟s increasing intervention in private subjects‟ environmental behavior and lifestyle choices. The proposed framework consists of an analysis of urban planning as a „regime of practices‟ and a subsequent discussion of the potential effects of the analytical results. Through Michel Foucault‟s concept of governmentality and the analytics of Mitchell Dean, the analysis identifies and studies the actual government of citizens in the urban planning strategy “Metropolitan Plan for Sydney 2036”. Here it is shown how this urban planning strategy works by creating the subjects as governable individuals through specific instruments and practices. Using Dean‟s concept of „regimes of government‟, we look into the empirical domain of urban planning through four dimensions: Visibility, technologies, specific forms of expert knowledge and the forming of subjects or selves. By means of a case study of the urban planning in Sydney, Australia, I study the practices of urban planning in the very instances they occur. I thus witness how the strategy occurs as a „program of conduct‟ that aims, via application of multiple practices, to make the subject identify with an active, participating citizen taking co-responsibility for the city and its development. Holding the subjects partly accountable, the government and the subject unite in the urban planning project – a tendency also seen within climate change management and the health sector – co-creation. In a final discussion, I outline and put forward the potential consequences of such a government/subject alliance. In the name of health and environment it seems that what is perceived as a public matter versus what is clearly a private issue, is getting increasingly harder to define today. When the city‟s wellbeing is correlated to the subject‟s liveability, the subject‟s personal lifestyle choices are made an intervention point for the government. Discussion points are whether or not the Metropolitan Plan potentially leads to more, centralized governing of private individuals, and if so what are the challenges that both subjects and the government face?

EducationsMSocSc in Political Communication and Managment, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2011
Number of pages82