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Planning Theories

ARL Reader on Planning Theory Volume 1&2

ARL International ARL International
published on 27/09/2020

Planning theories are a prerequisite for intentional action in planning practice and serve the profession's understanding of itself. However, the field of planning theory has developed in a fragmented manner since the 1950s.

In general, a change in planning theory thinking from technical plan-making to communicative action in political planning processes is discernible.

The anthology presents original texts (in English and German) by well-known authors that have shaped the debate. Renowned planning scholars critically discuss and classify the original texts (in German). The volume thus offers an unprecedented overview of the fundamentals of current debates on planning theory for students of spatial and planning sciences as well as those interested in the subject from academia and practice.


Volume 1

Volume 1 of the ARL Reader Planning Theory deals with two of the most influential planning theory meta-narratives of the late 20th century: "Communicative Planning" and "Neo-Institutionalism and Governance".

They are associated with the successful overcoming of a technocratic-rationalist notion of planning. Communication, power and conflict become central categories in the discussion of planning reality.


Volume 2

Volume 2 of the ARL Reader on Planning Theory highlights recent discourses on planning theory in the early 21st century: 'strategic planning' and 'planning culture'.

The 'turn to strategy' underpinned by organisational theory can be understood as a response to the deficits of incremental planning through projects.

More recent approaches that understand planning as a cultural practice, on the other hand, aim at a deeper understanding of local and regional practices.