The Importance of Recognition for Equal Representation in Participatory Processes: Lessons from Husby


  • Karin Hansson
  • Göran Cars
  • Love Ekenberg
  • Mats Danielson



Despite the ambition to involve people on more equal terms, participation often still means that the audience is involved in clearly demarcated parts of the process and attempts to develop more deliberative democratic processes in urban planning often fail due to unequal representation in the participatory process.

While sharing the general idea of the value of participatory processes, we will investigate some problematic features involved and suggest how some of these can be remedied. We employ the concept of recognition to analyse the conditions for public participation in a recent case of urban planning in the Stockholm suburb of Husby. This case is particularly interesting as it clearly demonstrates the impact of globalisation on local participatory processes.

The results show the importance of broad recognition for equal representation in participatory processes, and the need for a plurality of public spheres to support long-term participation in the development of the common urban space.

Author Biographies

Karin Hansson

Karin Hansson is an artist, curator and PhD student at The Royal Institute of Arts in Stockholm and at the Department of Computer & System Science, Stockholm University. Her research focus is artistic methodologies and online participatory processes. Hansson has carried out a series of thematic art projects and exhibitions related to the information society and changing conditions for democracy.

Göran Cars

Göran Cars is a professor and Head of the Department of Urban Planning and the Environment, Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm, Sweden. His interests are focused on urban governance and sustainable urban development. A special interest is directed to issues concerning the conditions for the planning, decision-making and implementation of urban and regional development projects.

Love Ekenberg

Love Ekenberg is a professor of Computer and Systems Sciences, Stockholm University. He is also Visiting Professor in Societal Planning and Environment at KTH - the Royal Institute of Technology. He has primarily been investigating risk and decision analysis; i.e., the development of processes, products and methodologies within these areas in various industrial and public sectors.

Mats Danielson

Mats Danielson is a professor of Computer and Systems Sciences and the Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences, Stockholm University. Together with Prof. Love Ekenberg, he has built the DECIDE Research Group, the leading research network in decision theory and analysis in Scandinavia.