City and regional planning Essay


As I have progressed through this class it has become evident that it is difficult to supply a simple account to specify what be aftering theory is. Campbell and Fainstein ( 2003 ) say that there are four grounds why there is this difficultly. First that be aftering theory convergences with that of a figure of other societal scientific discipline subjects, intending that it is difficult to restrict the range of theory specifically to countries of planning. Second it can be difficult to separate the specific undertaking of contrivers. Third there are two differing manners of be aftering theory based upon those who define it harmonizing to its object and those who define it by its method. Finally, be aftering theory borrows methodological analysiss from many other different Fieldss ( Campbell and Fainstein 2003 ) .

It has become evident after analyzing the seminar readings and a figure planning theory books that this 2nd point, concentrating on the two different types of planning theory, is an of import point when sing be aftering theory as a whole. These two different Fieldss are defined as the theory of planning and theory in planning. Alternatively you can mention to them as procedural and substantial theory severally ( Faludi 1973 ) .

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Faludi ( 1973 ) goes on to specify each of these in bend. Procedural theory looks at how contrivers understand themselves and how they operate. Substantive theory looks at the countries that may refer contrivers and helps them to understand these countries. Throughout the class a figure of different thoughts in theory have been covered, both in talks and the seminar readings. All of these subjects and thoughts can be separated out into these two separate groups of be aftering theory.

Faludi ( 1973 ) believes that of these two types of theory contrivers should be more concerned with the thought of Procedural theory, because procedural planning dressed ores on the apprehension of general issues in planning and without this even the most refined substantial theory will non bring forth an effectual planning theoretical account.

This is an of import thought and I agree with Faludi ( 1991 ) . Without a basic apprehension of how contrivers operate, how can you get down to believe about what countries should concern them and how they understand them? This is a point that I have become more cognizant of as the subject has gone on, for illustration how can you get down to believe about Heritage and preservation before you have a basic appreciation of values. Therefore when choosing my two subjects for this diary I decided that I should concentrate on the Procedural theory of be aftering so as to spread out my apprehension of how contrivers operate.

The two that I have chosen, were both introduced early in the class and have continued to have throughout. They are likely two of the cardinal edifice chaps of theory and so hence I decided that to understand each of them would assist me to understand other subjects. Where better to get down than at the really beginning.

The first subjects I have chosen expressions at certain theoretical theoretical accounts and how these can be applied to be aftering. This will look at how contrivers operate and the thought of where be aftering cognition comes from and how it is gained. The chief focal point of this will be to look at the thought of reason and whether it applies to be aftering or non. Having studied these I will supply my ain sentiment on these thoughts and whether my ain experiences have been influenced by them.

The 2nd subject which I plan to cover is that of Reflection and the thought of being a brooding practician. This is another key thought which is interrelated with the thought of reason. This is based upon reflecting on old action and therefore how the contrivers understand themselves. I plan to look at both of these thoughts and based upon my ain experiences in be aftering give my ain sentiment on which I feel is the more relevant theoretical account for the planning system.


Allmendinger ( 2002 ) introduces the thought of reason by get downing with a simple expression at the significance of the word. Rational comes from the Latin root ‘ration ‘ which translates into ground. Therefore “ a positivist is person who emphasises logical capacities and can give grounds for a peculiar position. ” ( Allmendinger 2002 ) In other words the thought of reason is that jobs can be solved by the application of proficient or scientific cognition, instead than being based upon more affectional or intuitive logical thinking.

Rationality is one of the cardinal thoughts of be aftering theory, and one that has resurfaced in many of the readings and talks throughout the class. The thought of reason was introduced to us in the really first talk that we had, where it was merely laid out as a theoretical theoretical account for be aftering so through a figure of the seminar readings different thoughts on how it relates to be aftering were introduced, most of them conflicting.

In the first reading we had in this class ‘The Reflective Practitioner ‘ ( Schon 1991 ) we were one time once more introduced to the thought of Rationality and his return on it as theoretical theoretical account for planning. At the beginning of chapter 2 Schon offers his ain definition of Rationality. I think that this is a much clearer cut manner of depicting it, in comparing to some of the much more in-depth definitions I have come across. He states that “ Harmonizing to the theoretical account of proficient reason… professional activity consists in instrumental job work outing made strict by the application of scientific theory and technique. ” ( Schon 1991 ) In other words it looks at planning as strictly proficient procedure and hence designates contrivers as technicians who work through processs.

In this debut and as the old quotation mark suggest Schon ( 1991 ) links this thought of proficient reason with the thought of professions and professionals. This is based upon the thought that the procedure of proficient reason is one that is carried out by “ erudite professions ” ( Schon 1991 ) such as medical specialty and jurisprudence. He goes on to spread out this thought by mentioning to Nathan Glazer ‘s ( 1974 ) thoughts upon the topic of professions.

Glazer ( 1974 ) , cited in Schon ( 1991 ) , states that there are two different types of profession which need to be taken into history, these are what are known as the major and minor professions. These two groups are defined upon the theoretical account of proficient Rationality. Major professions such as Medicine, Law and concern are “ disciplined by unambiguous terminals… ” ( Glazer 1974 cited in Schon 1991 ) these are ends which can be simple to specify such as wellness and net income. For illustration in the universe of concern consequences can be easy gauged on net income, you either do a net income or you do non there is no slippery center land. Equally good as this the ‘Major ‘ professions are grounded in proficient cognition which is based upon based upon instruction.

In comparing to these ‘Minor ‘ professions ( Glazer 1974 cited in Schon 1991 ) have what are deemed to be equivocal terminals due to the changeless displacement ends based upon the context of the practise. As the ‘goal stations are invariably being moved ‘ as it were it makes it hard for these professions to bring forth a scientific cognition base upon which jobs can be solved. Glazer ( 1974 ) , cited in Schon ( 1991 ) , specifically defines Town Planning as one of these minor professions.

To simplify, professions that claim to use scientific or proficient cognition to work out jobs, such as medical specialty or jurisprudence, are thought of as being major professions. In professions such as be aftering it is deemed that this procedure is more hard as the terminals are more equivocal and so proficient information is harder to use, therefore is seen to be more routed in the ‘irrational ‘ as it were.

As an thought I think that it makes some valid points, nevertheless there are a few countries that I would differ with. The thought that planning has no scientific cognition base at all seems an unjust opinion to me. The chief issue I see with this is that to go a planning professional at the minute you have to hold studied a relevant grade at university or attained a maestro in the topic, this would connote to me that be aftering does keep some kind of relevant cognition base or else a grade would non be required. Of class being at university I have learnt a batch about assorted facets of planning and the planning system and have besides gain cognition in other academic subjects such as economic sciences and political relations. Therefore based on this I would state that although Planning may non be as rational, as it were as jurisprudence and medical specialty it seems unjust to hold it as wholly ‘irrational ‘ .

Schon ( 1991 ) continues to believe about this thought of being irrational, and that the distinguishing of professions into child and major I non intend to be derogative as it were, in fact he thinks that contrivers should non give themselves a difficult clip about non being able to rationalize assorted facets of their work.

Equally good as this he goes on to discourse the thought that even the professions defined as major are non wholly routed in scientific cognition. In the Case of medical specialty, today, it is split into two countries, one that is based upon the acquisition of scientific cognition in the signifier of biological science and biochemistry etc. And so more practical experience. For illustration, the class at Cardiff university is split in to talks and dissection, in other words into theory and so practise.

Traveling on from Schon, in the 2nd seminar we went on to read about Forester ‘s ( 1989 ) thoughts on planning and reason. The thoughts that he represented on the thought of reason and planning where much more kindred with my thoughts on the topic and felt that is was a much more satisfactory definition. Similarly he begins by saying that planning is a profession that is more routed in the irrational ; nevertheless he says that there are facets of be aftering that can be seen as rational:

“ What actions are rational for contrivers and decision makers to try depends on the state of affairss in which they work ” ( Forester 1989 )

Therefore, overall he sees be aftering as a profession that is bound by reason. I think that this theory defines be aftering better than merely by seeing it strictly as ‘irrational ‘ as it takes into history the fact that certain facets of planning as a profession make rely on proficient informations and the fact that it is governed by policy and besides that there is a certain sum of scientific cognition that is required to rehearse planning.

Forester ( 1989 ) goes on to discourse the thought that there are of class some positives to the thought of believing as Planing in this visible radiation, as did Schon ( 1991 ) , by traveling on to touch upon a figure of issues or restrictions as it were that are portion of taking a completely rational position when trying to work out a job. Within the Rational procedure jobs are solved and determinations are made by use a solution best suited to run into the terminals, from available cognition, nevertheless this thought rests upon the thought that the job presents itself to the practician. In the existent universe nevertheless things are on a regular basis this clear cut and jobs and struggles have to be taken into act. In other words reason does non take into history the context of the job.

Having worked in a planning consultancy for a twelvemonth through my ain experience I would state that it is of import to cover context when transporting out be aftering undertaking as all undertakings and developments differ. This is because there are so many conflicting issues to see. It would besides look of import to me that even in those professions antecedently defined as ‘major ‘ professions that the context is besides of import and should be taken into history and this should non merely be left out of the equation.


Another of import thought which is covered by Schon ( 1991 ) based upon reason and associating into the thought of context is that of Reflection or ‘Reflection in Action ‘ .

When discoursing reason it became evident that nowadays the bulk of profession include non merely scientific cognition but besides some signifier of practical experience, as in the illustration given for medical specialty. When reading about how the rational theoretical account can be applied to be aftering it became evident that this was an of import characteristic and helped to cover with this thought of context.

In ‘Urban Theory since 1945 ‘ Taylor ( 1998 ) presents a theoretical account for be aftering as a procedure of rational action. This is made up of five different degrees that cascade down to each other, the concluding degree which focuses on the monitoring of policy links back to all those old in the signifier of feedback. Taylor ( 1998 ) states that this is because be aftering has no terminal province and that planning is an on-going and uninterrupted procedure. The feedback cringle shows that there may be a demand to reexamine old actions and see options to the initial job.

Therefore with this changeless development of the planning procedure, using set planning processes to undertakings can be hard as they will seldom be capable to the same jobs. This is where the thought of contemplation comes in as it serves to supply contrivers with a cognition base that can get the better of these jobs by pulling upon practical experience gained from similar undertakings.

Contemplation or ‘Reflection in Action ‘ ( Schon 1991 ) is the thought merely of reflecting upon work that has antecedently been carried out. In other words it is the application of cognition obtained from transporting out similar undertakings. This is a simple yet effectual thought and makes sense in many facets of life. Whenever you apply yourself to something you gain cognitions and so when you do it once more you know what you are making, if it is the kind of thing that is repeated often so it is likely that you will go quicker and more efficient at transporting it out.

This is the same with planning by holding a greater experience of the procedures and holding possibly dealt with similar undertakings before is of more usage than trying to see it as a proficient procedure. I can associate personally to this thought because when I commenced my twelvemonth in arrangement I was involved in a figure of undertaking that were wholly new to me, nevertheless by the clip I had been working at that place for 3 or 4 months these undertakings which had been hard to get down with became 2nd nature to me. Similarly this was how my co-workers functioned and those who had the most cognition of a topic were those who had work the most extensively on similar undertakings.

Schon ( 1991 ) goes on to believe about this thought of contemplation more extensively and how it is evident within the bulk of profession. Even in instance that you would hold to be to a great extent routed in reason at that place will ever be a certain sum of contemplation applied as non all instances will suit the theoretical account. Looking specifically at the jurisprudence, a big proportion of the stuff taught to jurisprudence pupils is based upon instance jurisprudence. This is certainly merely Reflection in action doing a passage from the non-technical to the proficient and as antecedently stated medicine trades equal in both scientific and practical cognition. I see this as a good thing as there is merely so much information that you can derive and retain for the survey of scientific cognition thereby practical experiences helps to better upon and implant this cognition.

I think that this is a really of import thought with in be aftering theory, and for other facets of societal scientific discipline. Schon ‘s ( 1991 ) goes into to cover it in great item as the book is titled ‘The Reflective Practitioner ‘ this is likely non that surprising. It nevertheless it seems to me a really simple yet effectual mechanism, and is in fact an facet of theory that we all partake in mundane, frequently without being cognizant of it. As a consequence of this it seems to me that this is a much more effectual procedure than that of the thought of a rational planning theoretical account. Although I can see the benefits of this sort of attack it does non satisfactorily cover all the countries of struggle and uncertainness that go along with planning.

As a concluding point this thought would look to be sensible as frequently in be aftering those who are seated in high places within the system are non ever those that are the best educated but are those who have gained the most experience.


As I have progressed through this class I have learnt a great trade about these two differing thoughts of planning and how it operates. Both of them tackle really different attacks to theory and each have their ain positive and negative facets.

In footings of reason and the rational planning theoretical account at that place have been many different plants produced based around the thought, most of them with differing sentiments upon its topographic point within the planning system. Based Have consistently worked my manner through these, I believe that Foresters ( 1989 ) positions are those most similar to how I perceive be aftering.

The general thought of being a brooding practician ( Schon 1991 ) is a really of import one and one that seems really logical. Having the basic cognition for a topic is an of import footing but it is through this thought that we are able to construct and better upon this.

Finally I stated at the beginning of this diary that Theory can be a hard construct to specify. Through the cognition gained from this class and holding read a figure of different definitions that the undermentioned quotation mark from Allmendinger ( 2002 ) provides the best thought in my eyes. He states that:

“ … it abstracts from world a set of general or specific rules to be used as a footing for explicating and moving with the theory being tested and refined if necessary. ” ( Allmendinger 2002 )

This takes the basic thought of theory being an explanatory guess but includes the thought that there is a certain sum of reappraisal and contemplation is required thereby uniting the two thoughts of reason and contemplation. Both of these are of import and for an effectual planning system I believe that both are required, working in parallel to each other. Thereby the positives of both are combined and hopefully some of the negatives are lost.

As this class has progressed I feel that I have gained a wide apprehension of many of the different subjects that we touched upon in both the talks and seminars. I think that the class has been an interesting combination of deriving cognition from the talks and from the contemplation upon the readings in the seminar, I feel this has assist me to obtain an apprehension of be aftering theory and besides tantrums in nicely with the thoughts that I have covered in this diary.


* Allmendinger, P.

2002 Planning Theory 2nd edition, Basingstoke, Palgrave Macmillan 2002 Planning Theory 2nd edition, Basingstoke, Palgrave Macmillan

* Campbell, S. and Fainstein, S.

Readings in Planning Theory 2nd edition, Oxford, Blackwell Readings in Planning Theory 2nd edition, Oxford, Blackwell

* Faludi, A.

1973 Planning theory, Oxford, Pergamon Press 1973 Planning theory, Oxford, Pergamon Press

* Forester, J.

1989 Planning in the Face of Power, London, University of California Press 1989 Planning in the Face of Power, London, University of California Press

* Glazer, N. 1974

Schools of the Minor Professions, New York, Walker and Company cited in Schools of the Minor Professions, New York, Walker and Company cited in

Schon, D.

1991The Brooding Practitioner, Aldershot, Ashgate 1991The Reflective Practitioner, Aldershot, Ashgate

* Schon, D.

1991The Brooding Practitioner, Aldershot, Ashgate 1991The Reflective Practitioner, Aldershot, Ashgate

* Taylor, N.

1998 Urban Planning Theory since 1945, London, Sage 1998 Urban Planning Theory since 1945, London, Sage


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