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Authoritative GovernancePolicy Making in the Age of Mediatization$
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Maarten A. Hajer

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780199281671

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: February 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199281671.001.0001

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Contested Authority in Rebuilding Ground Zero

Contested Authority in Rebuilding Ground Zero

(p.97) 4 Contested Authority in Rebuilding Ground Zero
Authoritative Governance

Maarten A. Hajer (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

The decision what and how to rebuild at ‘Ground Zero’ is a highly symbolic and contentious act, with high financial stakes, in which the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation, Port Authority, private stakeholders, mourning families, and inhabitants compete about the meaning of the site. Examining the stories of Ground Zero the chapter makes out four different discourses: (1) The Programme (2) Memorial Discourse, (3) Revitalization, and (4) Phoenix. The chapter studies the policy process focusing on two policy practices through which the meaning of rebuilding Ground Zero gets enacted in a particularly interesting way for the book. Listening to the city and the subsequent Design study constitute examples of opening up a closed process. The empirical analysis shows how new techniques of deliberation were employed, allowing many publics into the policy conversation. It also reveals interesting examples of how to recombine expertise and participation, and design experts cooperating with various audiences. However, by the lack of a creative follow-up, and a script that would have kept the public involved, the ‘rebuilding as a democracy’ in the end turns out to be an unhappy performative. In the end the oyster of classical-modernist politics that was forced open, closed again. A chance for an authoritative governance based on the story line of ‘we must rebuild as a democracy’ was missed.

Keywords:   Ground Zero, planning, New York politics, Listening to the City, institutional void, deliberation, multiplicity, legitimacy, discourse, dramaturgy, setting and staging

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