Practicing Planning Theory In A Political World

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Practicing Planning Theory In A Political World

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Practicing Planning Theory In A Political World

  1. 1. Practicing Planning Theory in a Political World By Howell S. Baum
  2. 2. Introduction <ul><li>“ .. a developer revealed that he will go forward with his project, however he would have to apply for a single variance… the developer however thought that the process will require a long process and thus privately minimized variances on lot sizes assuming a single variance would not be a big deal..” </li></ul><ul><li>(Schon 1983,229,230) </li></ul>
  3. 3. Introduction <ul><li>What do planning theorists say about and to planners as political actors? </li></ul>
  4. 4. Politics & Planning Theory: The Rational View <ul><li>The theorists of rationality in the 1950’s and 1960’s offered little guidance for acting in a political world </li></ul><ul><li>No one is involved in politics, neither are planners </li></ul><ul><li>Emphasis on individual decision-making models </li></ul>
  5. 5. Politics & Planning Theory: The Rational Strategy <ul><li>Ignored politics and emphasized on two rational assumptions: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Disregard the nature of planning problems and the environment in which they were addressed </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Excluded the possibility that planners might have political interests. </li></ul></ul>
  6. 6. Politics & Planning Theory: The Communicative View <ul><li>planners work is communication </li></ul><ul><li>Plans and reports are texts to be analyzed for what they tell about relations of power and strategies for exercising power </li></ul>
  7. 7. Politics & Planning Theory: The Communicative View <ul><li>In contrast to the rational theorists assumption, planning issues are always defined in an environment of competing political interests </li></ul><ul><li>Planners are “reflective Practitioners”; they are active and shape the planning process in an inter-subjective understanding of particular situations </li></ul><ul><li>Communicative theorists portray planners simply; they control them without thinking of them </li></ul>
  8. 8. Planning Theory as Practice <ul><li>Communicative planners have done much more than rational theorist but many of them share with their predecessors a rational views of planners as actors. </li></ul><ul><li>Limits their ability to interpret actions and advise the planners on how to act. so the result is unrealistic. </li></ul><ul><li>They must interpret their theories as text of authors whose need practice to publish theorical text . </li></ul><ul><li>There is need to involve interviewing authors and also audience about their understanding of the texts. </li></ul><ul><li>The distinction between “espoused” theory and “theory-in-use” helps to understand the meaning </li></ul><ul><li>of theorist Writing . </li></ul>
  9. 9. “ Espoused” theory and “theory-in-use” <ul><li>“ Espoused” theory : refers to public statements about how one and others should act and people usually </li></ul><ul><li>are conscious of their espoused theory </li></ul><ul><li>“ Theory-in-use”: by contrast is the principles inherent in action, whether or not the actor is aware or </li></ul><ul><li>intends them. </li></ul><ul><li>People like to present their actions as reasonable, high minded and successful. but in reality people are often uncertainly ,mistrustfully and even unsuccessfully </li></ul>
  10. 10. “ Espoused” theory and “theory-in-use” – Cont’ <ul><li>“ Argyrus” and “Schon” : these incongruities between these theories reflect two intentions: </li></ul><ul><li>1- to device others about one’s goodness and efficiency </li></ul><ul><li>2-to device oneself </li></ul><ul><li>What theorists publish consists of espousals but their actions in publishing involve theories-in-use. </li></ul><ul><li>but espousals are more rational than theory-in-use so what theorists published is poorly addresses the vicissitudes of planners practice. And one of the best clues are planning practitioners. </li></ul>
  11. 12. Studies of planners politics <ul><li>There are four groups of planners in terms of political beliefs and activities; </li></ul><ul><li>1- primary politicians : recognize The planning as political and choose their actions strategically. (minority) </li></ul><ul><li>2- combine political thinking and actions with technical analysis ( minority) </li></ul><ul><li>3-technicians :they regard issues as technical and do not recognize politics in planning.(majority) </li></ul><ul><li>4-Ambivalent about politics. They see the planning world as political involving the allocation of valued good and services and understand that parties must act strategically to get what they want. But they draw back from acting politically. </li></ul>
  12. 13. Why? <ul><li>They afraid of risk of being defeated or losing goods or status. </li></ul><ul><li>Some of them think acting powerfully mean hurting others and feeling guilty. </li></ul><ul><li>Some do not want taking responsibility for the outcomes. </li></ul>
  13. 14. An ambivalent planning theory <ul><li>These planners actions could be articulated into their theory-in- use theory . it includes the following rules: </li></ul><ul><li>1-collect information about issues and their environment both substances of issues and political issues </li></ul><ul><li>2-assess the personal risks in an environment with attention to possibilities of the conflict with others </li></ul><ul><li>3-select the role that avoids risks of conflict, to defeat guilt or responsibility </li></ul>
  14. 15. This theory has 2 significant characteristic : <ul><li>4-take actions consistent with that role with technical neutrality and formal rationality as means of avoiding conflict if necessary ignore or deny information about political interests </li></ul><ul><li>1- focus on planners role as actor rather than substance of issue. </li></ul><ul><li>2- rationally choosing technical role for political purposes and avoid recognition of the politics that make them Anxious. </li></ul><ul><li> So there is a hidden fifth step to this theory: </li></ul><ul><li>5-conceal steps 2 and 3 and this steps from other and oneself. </li></ul>
  15. 16. The Puzzle of Planning Theorists’ Actions <ul><li>Planners </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Acknowledge Politics </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Choose Apolitical Roles </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Communicative Theorists </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Record the Pervasiveness of Politics </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Portray Planners as Even Minded Free of Bias </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Theorists as Political Activists Urge Planners to Act Differently! </li></ul>
  16. 17. The Puzzle of Planning Theorists’ Actions <ul><li>Why Do Theorists Depict Planners With Little Feeling and Commitment? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>They Deliberately Dissemble </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Such reasoning helps explain “why the rational paradigm persists” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>This interpretation treats theorists’ actions as rational efforts to deceive enemies </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Schwartz (1990) suggests that theorists take step 5 to conceal their thinking also from their selves. </li></ul></ul>
  17. 18. The Puzzle of Planning Theorists’ Actions <ul><li>Schwartz’s reasoning offers an explanation for the puzzle of many planning theorists: they choose to espouse rational views of planners that ignore the possibilities of political action because academic, professional, or other politics are too painful to recognize and write about. </li></ul>
  18. 19. Planning Theorists’ Relation with Planning Practitioners <ul><li>Planners appreciate rational theories </li></ul><ul><li>Planners attack those theories as being unrealistic </li></ul><ul><li>Planners with those theories were true </li></ul>
  19. 20. Planning Theorists’ Relation with Planning Practitioners <ul><li>Emphasis on rationality suggests: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Planners know best </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Planning “reality” not political </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Planners unemotional reasoners </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Planners can get by, even prevail, by thinking, speaking and writing clearly </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Planner is innocent of interests in power and aggression </li></ul></ul>
  20. 21. Planning Theorists’ Relation with Planning Practitioners <ul><li>Conclusion: if cognitive reasoning is enough, perhaps politicians are not “really” a part of planning! </li></ul><ul><li>Unrealistic, serves a magic purpose: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>It mentally eradicates politicians! </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>It tells planners to give politicians no mind! </li></ul></ul>
  21. 22. Planning Theorists’ Relation with Planning Practitioners <ul><li>They do not respond to the real world, they respond to real frustrations!! </li></ul><ul><li>Planners are ambivalent: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>They need to believe </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>They need to doubt </li></ul></ul><ul><li>In Short: Both Theorists and Practitioners Need Serious Psychological Help!! </li></ul>
  22. 23. Theorizing and Theorists [Conclusion] <ul><li>Analysis suggests that theorists do not acknowledge their own political practice </li></ul><ul><li>Better Understanding Requires Conceptualizing Planning Theory and Practice: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Recognize both as practitioners </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Discard simplistic notions of “What Planners Do” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Think more imaginatively about relationships </li></ul></ul>
  23. 24. Theorizing and Theorists [Conclusion] <ul><li>Theorists need to understand themselves better: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Why they develop theories </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>How experience leads to principles </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Are the theories consistent with their actions </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Theorists should recognize the issues in themselves and respond rather than deny </li></ul><ul><li>Probe experience with problems of power </li></ul>

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