Online First: The Everyday Emergency Planning and Democracy Under Austerity Regimes

The Everyday Emergency

Planning and Democracy Under Austerity Regimes

  1. Carolyn G. Loh1

  1. 1Wayne State University, Detroit, MI, USA
  1. Carolyn G. Loh, Department of Urban Studies and Planning, Wayne State University, 3198 FAB, 656 W. Kirby, Detroit, MI 48202, USA. Email: cgloh@wayne.edu

Abstract

In the last several years, the governor of Michigan has placed seven cities under the control of emergency managers (EMs), who have the authority to make drastic cuts and rearrangements of public processes and services. I investigate what happens to planning processes under these circumstances, and how EMs use planning to accomplish their goals. I find that many of the cities devote renewed attention to planning, and that the planning process may function as an alternative public participation process, given that the normal democratic process had been disrupted. I also find that the implementation of the plans is likely to be problematic because of staffing cuts, and that planning in itself cannot solve the structural problems that led to these cities’ financial distress.

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