Participation – Activity – Agency – step back or progress to develop civil society? The main aim of the article is kick-off discussion about phenomenon of participation in spatial planning and management. Background to the discussion are results of my, more than twenty years, research on citizens’ standards of influence to the local authorities. It is drive me to the question if is the public participation right way to create civil society, especially in the context of spatial management? What do we expect in that context? We would like to provoke Polish local communities to bottom-up initiatives or make citizens to participate “on the call of the authorities” in statutory forms of engagement in spatial management process? There in Poland do we want to create a “civil society” or a “society of civic organizations”? Public participation is a tool and action that provokes the processes of civil society development or part of a bureaucratic planning ritual to tame the “social demon of activity”? Listed questions provoke me to discussion about five, in my opinion, significant, though perhaps not the only, dilemmas accompanying the implementation of participatory processes in the spatial planning and management, especially large territorial units. These are: “institutionalization of engagement”, “formalization of civic engagement”, “erosion of civic engagement”, “diversity of forms of civic engagement”, “exclusion of groups of citizens through involvement”. The listed issues show that participation is not end of process, but only a tool on the road to building or a civil society or a society of instrumental activity.
The author outlines a basic framework for anarcho-capitalism, a stateless social order in which safety, law and adjudication of disputes are provided by private companies (private defense agencies) competing with each other in the free market. In the course of presentation, three fundamental problems of anarcho-capitalism are addressed. (1) Is a peaceful cooperation among agencies possible? (2) Would agencies respect the rights of their customers? (3) How would the law look like in an anarcho-capitalist society? The last problem is especially vexing, since anarcho-capitalists seem to be caught up in a contradiction here. On one hand they are proponents of a specific moral theory (based on non-aggression principle), on the other hand they do not allow for any central, monopolistic agency to impose that moral theory on society. Is it possible for the law in the anarcho-capitalist society to be simultaneously produced by competing agents and remain libertarian at the same time?
The transformation of the former docks in Dublin was one of the major urban regeneration projects in Ireland, which was built during the recent economic boom. Since the start of the project in the nineties, more than six thousand apartments have been built in the area. The construction of the apartments allowed for the diversifi cation of the character of this district into a living quarter. Initially the Docklands were considered as an offi ce district that would serve the Ireland’s service-based economy. New projects also allowed for the development of housing in a close proximity to existing city centre, although it did not happen not without avoiding the gentrifi cation and social polarization of this area. The key role in the process was played by the operator – the urban development agency (Dublin Docklands Development Authority). It acted both as a strategic landowner and the coordinator of the development. The agency was responsible for the delivery of the infrastructure and the sale of the land. The actions of the operator included setting up the of the housing standards, requirements for the development of the infrastructure, both social and technical and public transportation systems. In the hindsight, the agency was praised for the management of the development of such large site. On the other hand, the lack of procedural oversight and a few dubious fi nancial decisions, as well as the other eff ects of the neoliberal policies, such as gentrification, fi nally lower the assessment of DDDA efficiency in that matter. The article summarizes the main aims and achievements of the DDDA’s development policy and its assessment from the long-term perspective of two decades of transformation. This includes the eff ects of the actions in the aftermath of the fi nancial crisis. Such perspective allows to highlight the various stages of the development of the agency and to examine the efficiency and efficacy of these actions.
In this text, a critical reflection is presented on assessment practices in early childhood education, which are discussed in the context of the creation by those practices of the students’ sense of agency which, according to J. Bruner, is treated as a category of school culture. The discussion is based on the results of the recent research conducted in Poland on students’ agency and an analysis of the data collected as part of the author’s own research. The picture obtained by using the triangulation of methods and sources confirms that assessment in early childhood education strips children of the opportunity to build a sense of agency, even in terms of independent control of a task situation. The surveyed students, admittedly, are capable of a relatively independent reflection on the context of school assessment, but the world of their educational experience is limited to the incapacitating culture of the school grade. It is a culture that becomes one of the sources of children’s self-restraint in the perception of themselves as agents, perpetuating their external steerability and passivity. To change this situation, external regulations will not suffice, but only the organizing of the learning environment based on the relationship between the teacher and the student, which is free from the daily pressures of assessment and the worship of formal correctness.