New Lecture: No escape possible: Path-, inter- and goal dependencies in planning and design

No escape possible: Path-, inter- and goal dependencies in planning and design

Planning (and design) we define as the coordination of policies and practices affecting spatial organization. We understand planning as a particular form of governance. To reflect on planning and design practices we always have to understand the governance context in which planning and design takes place. To deepen our understanding of ‘context’ we distinguish between three different dependencies that shape the course of planning and design. Dependencies create rigidities, but do not imply determinism. They also create flexibilities and there are always options open, there is always a measure of contingency and freedom. We can distinguish path dependence, goal dependence and interdependence. Path dependency is rigidity in governance paths whereby the next step in governance evolution is restricted by the existing governance configuration and by the history of governance leading to that configuration. Interdependency is the restriction on action for an actor imposed by the relations with others. Interdependency can create rigidity in a governance path caused by the specific set of relations between actors at one point in time.Goal dependency is the influence of plans and policies embedding collective goals on the present, on the co- evolution of actors and institutions, power and knowledge. Visions, scenarios and plans are rarely fully implemented, but often have an impact on governance and on the realities governance affects. (

Key words: dependencies | governance | the future matters | productive fictions

Van Assche, K., et al. (2014). Rural development and the entwining of dependencies: Transition as evolving governance in Khorezm, Uzbekistan. Futures, 63(0), 75-85. doi:

Van Assche, K., Van., Beunen, R., & Duineveld, M. (2014). Evolutionary Governance Theory. An Introduction. Heidelberg: Springer, Chapter 4