Dealing with discomfort: How the unspeakable confounds wicked planning problems

Grant-Smith, Deanna & Osborne, Natalie (2016) Dealing with discomfort: How the unspeakable confounds wicked planning problems. Australian Planner, 53(1), pp. 46-53.

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The idea of ‘wicked’ problems has made a valuable contribution to recognising the complexity and challenges of contemporary planning. However, some wicked policy problems are further complicated by a significant moral, psychological, religious or cultural dimension. This is particularly the case for problems that possess strong elements of abjection and symbolic pollution and high degrees of psychosocial sensitivity. Because this affects the way these problems are framed and discussed they are also characterised by high levels of verbal proscription. As a result, they are not discussed in the rational and emotion-free way that conventional planning demands and can become obscured or inadequately acknowledged in planning processes. This further contributes to their wickedness and intractability. Through paradigmatic urban planning examples, we argue that placing their unspeakable nature at the forefront of enquiry will enable planners to advocate for a more contextually and culturally situated approach to planning, which accommodates both emotional and embodied talk alongside more technical policy contributions. Re-imagining wicked problems in this way has the potential to enhance policy and plan-making and to disrupt norms, expose their contingency, and open new ways of planning for both the unspeakable and the merely wicked.

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ID Code: 93076
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: Wicked Problems, Unspeakable Problems, Emotional Geographies, Deathscapes, Sexscapes
DOI: 10.1080/07293682.2015.1135812
ISSN: 2150-6841
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > BUILT ENVIRONMENT AND DESIGN (120000) > URBAN AND REGIONAL PLANNING (120500)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > QUT Business School
Current > Schools > School of Management
Copyright Owner: 2016 Taylor & Francis
Deposited On: 19 Feb 2016 03:30
Last Modified: 22 Mar 2016 05:15

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