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Third - master final

Nora Sibilla

on 15 January 2014

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Transcript of MASTER Final

University of Fribourg, Faculty of Science, Geosciences Department, Geography Unit
Master thesis – Final presentation 5th December 2012
Supervised by Olivier Ejderyan

'La Foce' - a discursive approach to participation in the river outlet restoration project
1- Project 'La Foce'
Focus: the participation for the river outlet restoration project
Participation is a set of procedures, such as sharing informations, with the aim to involve different stakeholders that normally are excluded.

acteurs privés sont tout aussi importants: c’est à bon droit que les organisations économiques ou écologistes, mais aussi et surtout les acteurs directement concernés
, entendent avoir voix au chapitre. Tous
doivent être impliqués dans les projets, mais également prendre eux-mêmes des initiatives.
Et partager la satisfaction que procurent des réussites convaincantes." OFEFP, 2003, p. 10.
2 - Research questions
To better understand how participation is implemented in the negotiation process of the river outlet restoration project.
5 - Results
4 - Approach - Discourse analysis
Presentation structure
1 - Project 'La Foce'
2 - Research questions and objective
3 - Methodology
4 - Approach - Discourse analysis
5 - Results
6 - Conclusions
7 - Discussion
Research objective
3 - Methodology
history of events
The City Council asks the Municipality to present a project for the restoration of the Cassarate River outlet
The city of Lugano launches a competition for the project
City Council accepts the credit for the
project planning
Winning project team 'La Foce'
Main goals of the project 'La Foce'
Valorisation of the river environment in a urban setting
Improve the accessibility and usability for the population
New configuration of river outlet and banks to increase safety against flood
Ecological valorisation - establish a typical fauna to river environments, considering the urban setting of the project
City Council accepts the credit for the construction
tot. = fr. 5'936'000
Referendum 'Parco Ciani, giù le mani!'
Popular voting on Referendum
NO for a difference of
106 votes
Data collection
Sampling technique and contact research
Final Target group
1 - Federal - Cantonal continuum in the participation discourse production
2 - Local authorities and institutions - rupture with Federal discourse

3 - Discourse on the role of expertise within the decision-making process
Unstructured interviews
Official documents: Swiss legislation, project proposal and documents from Municipality and City Council
Newspaper articles
6 - Conclusions
Purposive sampling
Snowballing sampling
Local authorities and institutions
rupture with Federal discourse
Int.5 (city councilman - pro project):

"If you implement a participative project for every city project,
I think you’ll do nothing else.
It paralyzes a city.
I think we should admit to this. It is not possible to discuss everything.

Maybe the role of a city council, as the citizens’ representatives, it should be that citizens trust these people, and hope that they accomplish what the citizens desire. This is kind of the concept."
Int.6 (city councilman - referendum proposer):
"The participative moment,
but with heated opposition,
happened only with the collection of signatures,

with the advent of public debates
(…). Before that, nothing at all, nothing happened.
That’s the mistaken planning
in general, at
least in Ticino,
where it is not participative.
There are only formal things, the obligatory ones. Therefore there was no real involvement until the last minute."
Discourse on the role of expertise within the decision-making process
Int.3 (landscape architect):
I don’t believe in the participative project.
During the referendum, we saw everyone improvised at being a hydraulic engineer, everyone became a land architect. That’s all fine and good, but strangely enough one could solve one thing, but could not resolve ten others.
The land architect,
if he does well his work, he
can solve everything in a project, he is a professional figure. This is why I don’t believe in the participative project.
Int.2 (cantonal employee-engineer): Because
one should not confuse what is an emotional aspect with a technical one.
At the beginning, the involvement of everyone is appropriate, necessary to share the pursued objectives and understand them better. (…) After that there is the refinement stage on the technical level, and it is clear that the citizen has nothing to do with this. If someone is not a professional, he does not understand the importance of certain actions.
Because if the thing is entrusted to experts, professionals, everything is well done,

then all of the conditions are there to ensure that
the work is well done.
How is the participation discourse, as loosely defined by the Swiss legislation, reproduced in the local context of the river outlet restoration project 'La Foce'?
To what extent does the reproduction of the participation discourse, in the negotiation process, express dynamics of rupture, resistance and exclusion?
This is a concrete example of what can happen with no participation

BUT no guarantee that participation = no conflicts

Particularity of this context is that participation is considered as political
picture by officinadelpaesaggio.com
figure by officinadelpaesaggio.com
Discourses are about whole sets of ideas, system of thoughts, knowledge claims, institutions, actions and practices

The production of discourses is always determined by certain procedures:

Discourse production support a power-knowledge structure
“In every society the production of discourse is at once controlled, selected, organized, and redistributed according to a certain number of procedures, whose role is to avert its power and its danger, to cope with chance events, to evade its ponderous, awesome materiality.”
Pictures by Nora Buletti, September 2012
Thank you for your attention!


Local authorities and institutions break with Federal participation principle

Participation needs to be implemented in local institutions

Confederation should understand in which context monitoring should be increased
“(...) I believe that this will to knowledge, thus reliant upon institutional support and distribution, tends to exercise a sort of pressure, a power of constraint upon other forms of discourse - I am speaking of our own society. (...) Every educational system is a political means of maintaining or of modifying the appropriation of discourse, with the knowledge and the powers it carries with it.”
Foucault (1971) page 11 and 17, English translation due to Rupert Swyer.
Foucault, 1971, p.8, English translation due to Rupert Swyer.
Full transcript