A Bildungsroman for a Waterfront Development

Out now! My article “A Bildungsroman for a Waterfront Development. Literary genre and the planning narratives of Jätkäsaari, Helsinki”, published in the latest Journal of Urban Cultural Studies. It’s an integral part of my current research in urban planning narratives of Helsinki’s waterfront.
This article examines the narratives involved in the planning of Jätkäsaari (Helsinki), an industrial harbour environment currently being redeveloped. It starts out with an analysis of Hyvä jätkä/Good Chap (Hannu Mäkelä, 2009), a literary novel commissioned by the city to promote the area, arguing that this cultural product should not be seen merely as a piece of cultural branding. Rather, the novel’s fictional construction of the area’s past and future draws attention to the narrative characteristics of planning itself. Using the concepts of literary genre and metaphor, an examination of Jätkäsaari’s planning narratives shows the ambivalent and often contradictory planning visions of the area. This study aims at re-examining the considerable research tradition in urban and planning studies that sees urban planning as a form of storytelling, by applying concepts from literary and narrative theory to the analysis of planning narratives.

narrative planning,Bildungsroman,Helsinki,waterfront development,urban regeneration,literature

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