Institut for Planlægning

institut for Planlægning

PHD Defence by Ask Greve Johansen

Opaqueness and tangibility A post-ANT account of the operationalisation of liveability in strategic planning. The city of Copenhagen, 2017-2020.


16.04.2021 kl. 13.00 - 16.00


In the Technical and Environmental Administration of the City of Copenhagen (TEA), strategic urban planners ponder how to value liveability in ways that align with the administration's political priorities. The elusive notion of liveability (what is it, exactly?) is interesting to explore –not as a solution, but as a problem to the situated practice of strategic urban planning. This PhD thesis investigates liveability as a problem and the related practice of operationalising it for bureaucratic practice. The basis for this investigation is participant observation of strategic urban planning in the TEA from 2017 to 2020, as well as ethnographic reading of documents collected through the research process.

The thesis describes the construction of ways of knowing and valuing liveability, not as a comprehensive whole, but as dispersed and tangentially related assemblages. These constructions represent the urban territory in different ways and make their representations tangible as planners’ tools. Planners’ tools both reveal and conceal, interchangeably or simultaneously. The skilled planner works the space between revealing and concealing when crafting tangibility in strategic planning practice.


Professor Jonathan Metzger |KTH, Sweden
Senior lecturer Kes McCormick|Lund University, Sweden
Professor Susse Georg (Chair) | Department of Planning, AAU, Denmark


Main Supervisor Professor Peter Karnøe | Department of Planning, AAU, Denmark


Associate Professor Jens Iuel-Stissing | Department of Planning, AAU, Denmark


Department of Planning


Online via Zoom

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13.04.2021 kl. 16.00

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