Dissertation Abstracts

Planning in the Global Era – The Case Study of Ben-Gurion International Airport

Author: Shilon, Mor , morshilo@tx.technion.ac.il
Department: Urban and Regional Planning
University: Technion, Israel
Supervisor: Prof. Rachel Kallus & Prof. Ronen Shamir
Year of completion: In progress
Language of dissertation: English

Keywords: Actor-Network Theory , Social struggles , Globalization , Airport

Abstract

Globalization is characterized by an intensive flow of people and goods on the global network. One outcome of globalization is 'global places' which form kinds of micro-cosmoses – concrete places on the network that perform similarities between themselves. Global places are heterogeneous and play multiple roles in different realms, networks, and scales.
Airports in particular are unique global places where many characteristics of globalization (e.g. mobilities, flows, transitions, freedom/surveillance, and cross national relations) are constantly being performed. Scholars from a variety of disciplines study airports, examine different definitions of airports and try to portray their unique character (Adey, 2004, 2007; Augé, 1995; Berger, 2006; Chalfin, 2008; Dodge & Kitchin, 2004; Freestone and Baker, 2011; Kasarda and Lindsay, 2011; Zivoni et al. 2004).
In planning literature, the global era is characterized by new actors who perform new strategies in cities, regions and states, new borders which are constantly on the making, immigrants and emigrants who change the social demographic structures of cities, new forms of politics and governance, and alterations in the power relations between the state and the municipality (Alfasi and Fenster, 2005; Appadurai, 2002; Bauman, 2000; Healey, 2006; Sandercock and Friedman, 2000; Sassen, 1991).
However, studies that specifically deal with social struggles against airports siting are rare in planning literature; when dealing with airports, planning literature mostly investigates general models of interactions between airports and cities, the impacts of locating airports in cities and regions, efficiency in airports, and often these studies stress the important role of airports in shaping urban forms (Blanton, 2004; Gillen, 2011; Freestone and Baker, 2011; Knippenberger, 2010; Schlaack, 2010; Van Wijk, 2008).
In order to understand the complexities of planning processes, the study focuses on an arena of struggles against airport expansions, as a controversy which can reveal the multi-dimensional aspects of planning practices and processes. By drawing on Actor-Network Theory (ANT) and Non-Representational Theory (NRT) as methodologies for conducting an empirical investigation of planning practices and processes, the research questions:
1. How do social struggles concerning the airport participate in the planning process?
2. How does the planning process, broadly understood to include social struggles, constitutes the
airport?
The field of study is the construction works for the expansion of runways at Ben Gurion International Airport (Natbag) between the years 2010-2014. Due to these constructions the communities living adjacent to Natbag were affected by noise disturbances. As a result, social struggles and collective actions (e.g. objections, demonstrations, Facebook protest groups, officials' marketing against the construction works, etc.) against the expansion of the runways have started to take place.
Several elements and actors have constituted the platform for the struggles; planners and architects, engineers, IAA, Natbag, Israel Ministry of Transport and Road Safety, the opponents, but also noise level disturbances, documents, aircrafts, master-plans, international and local manuals, and even concrete, lightning, fences and bricks. The study examines the interrelationships between these elements, humans and non-humans, and the various forms of the performativity and practices which have been involved in the Natbag case study.

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