Special Issue "Cultural, Legal and Political Dimensions of Public Norms in Sustainable Metropolitan Spaces"
Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 October 2021.
Interests: institutions and planning; comparing city-regions; cultural norms; political norms; legality; sustainable city-regions
In the current stage of urbanisation, major cities and decentralised urban spaces are converging in wide city-regions on a metropolitan scale. To guide this fragile and largely unordered process of urbanisation toward coherent metropolitan spaces with sustainable ‘qualities of place’ would require the establishment of social and ecological (climate-proof) conditions to social and economic relationships. Since the early 1990s, public initiatives at different levels of scale have been taken in most western city-regions to enhance the objectives of sustainable metropolitan development. Yet, this trajectory of sustainable transition appears to be thorny and obdurate. Purposive change appears to be difficult in complex societies. The purposive mission is characterised by a permanent state of negotiation and the changing commitment of many involved actors with different stakes; Not seldom do the attempts of goal achievement result in reversed outcomes. The quintessence of this Special Issue is that purposive systems run down when not adequately sustained by sets of public norms (Salet, 2018a, b). Public norms differ strongly when it comes to objectives or problem-solving pragmatism. They set normative conditions to social interaction rather than organising the performance of objectives. They provide a normative antenna in complex situations of uncertainty when people do not know the purposes of the other, but keep another to shared public norms of ‘appropriateness’. A sustainable metropolitan transition depends on the vital interaction between public norms and purposive strategies of action. However, the search for public norms seems to be undervalued in the prevailing purposive (often managerial) strategies of change. Therefore, the Issue focuses on the normative dilemmas of public action.
The social relevance of public norms is never self-evident. They may be institutionalised in historic trajectories, but yet have to be validated time after time in ongoing practices (actively sustained, reproduced, reinterpreted and innovated) in order to make a difference. Processes of social normalisation often contain dilemmas or social conflicts of interpretation. The validation of institutional norms is a permanent challenge rather than a given a priori. In this sense, calling attention to public norms does not provide any more certainty than focussing on purposive strategies. The added value is in directing the reflection of the public to dilemmas of justifying —a ‘normative judgment’—in addition to, and in interaction, with the ‘practical judgment’ of purposive action strategies.
This Special Issue is subdivided into three parts, addressing, respectively, the cultural norms, the political norms and the legal norms of sustainable metropolitan transition. The informal cultural norms address the ways in which small and large communities reproduce and reassess the cultural codes of appropriateness. They express the ways in which citizens cultivate their norms of sustainable metropolis. These public norms may be embedded in cooperative social forces and may underlie the social acceptance of political and legal norms. Political norms of sustainable metropolitan transition address the political dilemmas and choices of material rules with regards to social and ecological conditions of metropolitan development; furthermore, political norms arrange the interrelationships of different involved actors (the rules of the game), such as the political ordinance of new renewable energy markets (including social distribution and access). Legal norms address the fundamental meaning of legal norms versus the (more routine) instrumentalisation of legislation to policy objectives. Legal norms include the reciprocal search of legal obligation in the multi-actor public action of city-regions.
Prof. Dr. em. W.G.M. (Willem) Salet
Manuscript Submission Information
Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.
Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Sustainability is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.
Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1900 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.
- public norms
- cultural norms
- political norms
- legal norms
- purposive planning strategies
- the making of sustainable metropolis