A-3/20 What counts or what can be counted? Rationalization of knowledge as means to power

The article does a situational analysis (Clarke, 2005; Clarke et al., 2018) of two farmland preservation situations in Trondheim and Toronto. The article identifies discourses on farmland preservation in the planning process «Municipal Plan Trondheim 2012-2024», while the Toronto Greenbelt Plan is discussed as a comparative situation. Both in the Norwegian and Canadian situations discourses are demonstrated at the community level, and micro-level discourses. In the Trondheim situation, the article describes how developer interests rationalized new housing on farmland by seizing the discourse on greenhouse gas emissions from transport and city densification. The discourse was characterized by measurable indicators of greenhouse gas emissions, which served as simplification for comparing alternatives. I also describe how local politicians chose to use knowledge from consultancy reports instead of knowledge from reports from the municipality’s own planners, and how tax input from new residents that they could potentially lose to the neighboring municipalities seemed to weigh heavily here. In the Toronto situation, I show how a neoliberal rationalization of a number of values was used to legitimize farmland preservation, which also seems to empower continued preservation. Norsk sosiologisk tidsskrift, 05/2020 (Volum 4), Nivå 1, p. 260-274

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