Trans-Local Civic Networking: An Alternative Planning Praxis

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2 Scopus citations


Various theories of planning have offered methods for (professional) planning to promote alternatives that are considered ideologically better and more just. Nonetheless, it is not always clear how these alternatives are able to overcome the constraints of state power, within which planning operates and upon which it relies, causing a drift towards ‘post-planning’ approaches. In contrast, we present a newly-emerging (professional) planning praxis that relies on trans-local civic networks. This means separating the concept of planning from planners, enabling the planners to promote their alternatives and confront the state politically. We describe a 40-year-old alternative planning tradition that promoted the formalization of informal Bedouin settlements in the outer-rings of Be’er Sheva metropolis in Israel, which is a deeply contested planning issue. The tradition started with planning specialists and solitary grass-roots organizations (GROs) who achieved negligible results when they encountered the state’s persistent refusal to formalize. It continued with the growth of a complex trans-local civic network of loosely interacting NGOs, GROs, local councils, funds, social movements, global institutions, and political parties. The network proposed (professional) alternative plans, as part of a broader political project manifested in various arenas, and achieved significant results in challenging state power and policies. We describe the evolution and form of the praxis, its impact on the formalization of Bedouin space, and we analyze some of the aspects that enabled the alternative planners to increase their influence on policy decisions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)475-493
Number of pages19
JournalPlanning Theory and Practice
Issue number4
StatePublished - 8 Aug 2019


  • Alternative planning
  • Bedouin
  • Be’er Sheva metropolis
  • planning praxis
  • trans-local civic networks

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development


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