Engagement in urban planning as a consequence of trust : an explorative study of the Slussen redevelopment project opposition

Abstract: This study is about the phenomenon of trust as applied in urban planning processes. The study views this concept through the lens of “the opposition” – the dissenting voices to the official narratives of urban planning projects. The main focus in this context is Slussen in Stockholm, Sweden, which is a majorly important redevelopment project as well as a source of heated debate. The methodological approach is qualitative research. The data collection relies on interviews and a discourse analysis of text and language. The interviewees are chosen based on their experience of, or participation in, opposition against the Slussen redevelopment project. The theoretical literature and the interviews are analysed through the theoretical framework of Erik Blennberger’s six analytical themes of trust. This enables a systematic detached approach to analysing the subjective interviews as well enabling a comparison between empirical evidence and relevant theoretical literature. This process resulted in seven categories of (dis)trust emerging from the interview material, which in turn resulted in the conclusion that, based on the study’s main findings three factors were the possible reasons behind the opposition of the Slussen redevelopment project: (1) Slussen as a unique space, (2) Debate character, (3) Authority. Based on these empirical findings and their comparison to the theoretical literature, the study concludes that trust depends on people’s perceptions of trustworthy actions of those who initiate change. That by exploring trust in the statements of oppositional networks over time it is possible to better understand issues regarding implementation of urban planning projects.