A complexity perspective on institutional change: Dealing with land fragmentation in Galicia

Wim Timmermans, Francisco Ónega López, José María Tubio, Rafael Crecente Maseda

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As land use planning aims at changing land use through a variety of institutions, theories on institutional change have become increasingly important to understand planning processes. Two discourses can be distinguished in institutional change, one saying that institutional change is mainly efficiency-driven and tales place in small controlled steps, the other arguing that institutional change occurs as the often unexpected outcome of a design in response to a contextual change. Some authors consider both discourses to be complementary. We wanted to improve our understanding of this complementarity, by using the case of the newly established Galician Land Bank as an example and describing its policy making process over the last thirty years. We put the policymaking process in a Complexity perspective regarding land use planning and governance, since Complexity Theory has not yet been introduced into the institutional change discourses. We conclude that each of these discourses excludes some of the phenomena in cluded in the other, and the inclusion of Complexity enables us to relate and connect the two discourses. In the Galician case, a longterm study of institutional change processes from a Complexity perspective, excluding none of the relevant phenomena, enables us to integrate the two discourses.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)77-107
Number of pages31
JournalSocial Evolution and History
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2015

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