DESPITE THE EXISTENCE of a number of self-professed "Marxist" urban planners and "Marxist critics of urban planning" (Dear and Scott; Foglesong; Harvey, The Urbanization of Capital; and Scott and Roweis), as many writers have noted, the very idea of Marxist urban planning seems to be something of an oxymoron as there seems to be an essential conflict between Marxist theory and the necessarily normative stance that must inform the practice of urban planning. As a result, according to Peter Hall, Marxist urban planners are caught up in a
... dilemma. Either [Marxist] theory is about unraveling the historical logic of capitalism or it is about prescriptions for action. Since the planner-theorist-however sophisticated--could never hope to divert the course of capitalist evolution by more than a millimeter or a millisecond, the logic would seem to demand that s/he sticks firmly to the first and abjures the second. In other words, the Marxian logic is strangely quietistic; it suggests that the planner retreat from planning altogether into the academic ivory tower (Cities of Tomorrow 339, emphasis added).
Along similar lines, Norman and Susan Fainstein argue that
Marxist theory and radical planning practice have lived uneasily with one another, in part because Marxism cannot provide a completely satisfactory guide for what planners do and still remain planners, and in part because seemingly radical planning activities have themselves been demystified by Marxism. Thus Marxism points to the severe limitations of ... planning activities.... The ... Marxist paradigm ... cannot tell practicing planners what to do.... [Indeed,] Marxist theory cannot do much ... for the practice of ... planners ... (New Debates in Urban Planning 397-400, emphasis added).
In another article, the Fainsteins suggest that the reason for this uneasy relationship lies in the radical nature of the Marxist critique of bourgeois society and its planners, arguing that because Marxist theorists "are very concerned with ... fundamental questions [of social power and legitimacy, they have], for the most part, ... not provided prescriptive theories of planning ...." (City Planning and Political Values 273). Similarly, Robert Fishman has argued that the fundamental problem for Marxist planning theory lies in the structure of Marxist theory, itself:
In an important series of articles collected under the title, The Housing Question, Frederick Engels maintained that urban design was part of the "superstructure" of capitalist society and would necessarily reflect that society's inhumanities, at least until after the socialist revolution had succeeded in transforming the economic base. He concluded that any attempt to envision an ideal city without waiting for the revolution was futile and, indeed, that any attempt to improve the cities significantly was doomed so long as capitalism endured. The working class [therefore] must forget attractive visions of the future and concentrate on immediate revolution after which the dictatorship of the proletariat would redistribute housing in the old industrial cities according to need. Then and only then could planners begin to think about a better kind of city (Urban Utopias of the Twentieth Century 17, emphasis added).
According to this--call it the "received view"--there is an essential tension between Marx's deterministic theories of history and society and the practice of urban planning. These theories undermine that practice by calling into question, not only the power of urban planners to effect social change, but, more importantly, the legitimacy of the normative theories needed to justify those efforts. It follows that, the practice of urban planning, at least at this point in time, cannot be justified.
Against this view, I will argue that Marx's theories do not necessarily undermine the practice of urban planning. This is not to say that they are irrelevant to that practice; indeed, quite the opposite is true. Marx's theories can be used in a number of ways to understand and improve the practice of urban planning. In particular, I will argue, it is possible to derive from them a number of important criticisms of several specific approaches to urban planning; that it is possible to use them to understand several incidents in the history of urban planning; and, most important, that it is possible to derive a normative theory from them that can help guide the practice of urban planning today. To establish these points, I will develop an argument based on three initial insights: (1) as Lewis Mumford has argued, Ebenezer Howard's book, Garden Cities of Tomorrow, is an important source of contemporary urban planning that "has done more than any other single book to guide the modern town planning movement and to alter its objectives" (The Garden City Idea and Modern Planning 29). (2) there is a close historical and conceptual connection between Howard's ideas and town plans and those of the utopian socialists; and (3) an examination of Marx's critique of the utopian socialists is the most direct way to uncover those of his normative views that are most relevant to the practice of urban planning. My argument will have several parts: after briefly describing the work of the utopian socialists and showing how it parallels Howard's work, I will outline Marx's criticisms of utopian socialism. I will then apply those criticisms, first to the town plans of the utopian socialists and then to Howard's plans for a garden city. I will then--again briefly--describe some more contemporary approaches to urban planning and apply Marx's criticisms of the utopian socialists to each of them. Finally, I will argue, in opposition to the received view, that Marx's critique of the utopian socialists can be used to ground a new and constructive approach to the practice of urban planning.
II. The Utopian Socialists and Ebenezer Howard
A. The Utopian Socialists
Henri Saint-Simon, Charles Fourier, and Robert Owen proposed to redesign society on a cooperative basis in order to promote the happiness and welfare of all. All three combined a rationalist faith in science with a radical critique of individualism to argue for this reorganization. However, all three rejected revolutionary political activity and focused instead on developing more limited, long-term practical plans to make society more just. These plans involved a variety of specific institutional proposals, such as the public ownership of land, the rationalization of industry, the end of class distinctions, and, most importantly for this essay, the redesign of cities and towns.
Their proposals were based on a single shared, "humanistic," approach to social theory and reform that was composed of two elements. The first element of this humanistic approach involved a particular conception of moral theory that holds that morality and moral judgements must be grounded on an underlying conception of human nature and its needs. According to this view, morality requires the full and fair satisfaction of these 'truly human needs,' and these needs can be discovered only through a careful study of human nature. The second element of this approach held that the proper way to study human nature was by using the methods recently developed by the highly successful natural sciences. The resulting social and psychological sciences would then do two things. First, they would provide a description of human nature sufficient to allow for the identification and prioritization of our true needs. Second, it would provide a basis for the selection of those social institutions which would lead to the most efficient satisfaction of those needs. Such a humanistic approach could be contrasted with a religious approach to morality or to the kind of communicative ethics that, on some interpretations, Marx championed (Paden).
While the utopian socialists all adopted this approach to social theory, they disagreed on the precise description of our human nature and its needs, on the limits human nature put on human development, and on the best way to satisfy those needs. However, they did agree that, measured by such a standard, the industrial society of their day was immoral: not only had it failed to satisfy the needs of most of its citizens, but its individualism was inconsistent with our social nature. As a result, it made the cooperation morality required nearly impossible. Therefore, society required radical reorganization. Nevertheless, the utopian socialists believed that, because this reorganization would be in everyone's interest, it would meet little resistence once its true nature and justification became fully and widely known. This belief led them to focus their energies on devising theoretical and humanistic arguments against industrial society and on developing models of cooperative socialist institutions and communities that would empirically demonstrate the advantages of cooperation.
The utopian socialists developed a number of specific proposals for the reform of society based on this common approach. However, because they worked independently, theft proposals differed in a number of ways. In particular, whereas Saint-Simon and his followers emphasized large-scale plans to rationally transform the whole of society, Fourier and Owen focused on the design of small scale utopian communities. Nevertheless, their proposals included a number of common elements. For example, they agreed on the principle of the public ownership of the land and on the idea that some limitations should be placed on the private acquisition of wealth. In addition, they argued for the end of social distinctions based on economic classes and for the rationalization of industry. Finally, the utopian socialists--especially Fourier and Owen and their followers--also made a number of similar proposals concerning the proper design of cities and towns (Beecher; Harrison; and Manuel).
Owen advocated the building of utopian communities based on the paternalistic social principles he developed while supervising the textile mills he owned in New Lanark, Scotland. According to these principles, towns should be designed so as to efficiently satisfy the needs of their inhabitants. The prototypical utopian town that he designed in collaboration with Stedman Whitwell took the form of a "parallelogram," with residential buildings on all four sides in which the town's 1200 citizens would be housed according to their age and marital status (Figure 1, Hayden 21). In its center and at its corners would be the common buildings that housed factories, kitchens, schools, and even a conservatory. The community itself would be built in a rural setting so that there would be fields close by to provide both food and work for the inhabitants. Owen's humanism can be seen in the town's design as each of its elements is devised so as to make it easy for its inhabitants to satisfy their material and spiritual needs. For example, it was laid out in such a way as to insure that the town's inhabitants did not have to walk long distances or circuitous routes to carry out their daily tasks.
[FIGURE 1 OMITTED]
At one point, Fourier "proposed a scheme for what he called the City of Garantism ... composed of three concentric bands: the commercial city at the center, then the industrial city, and then an agricultural zone. The three bands would be separated by hedges. Open space would double in the middle band and triple in the outer" (Kostof 200). However, he is best known for his "phalansteres," small communities consisting of several large connected buildings which, oddly, resemble the palace of Versailles (Figure 2 Hayden 153). Fourier designed his community for 2000 as that number would allow it to contain two adult representatives of each of the 810 personality types he described, thereby guaranteeing that each member could find at least one partner with a compatible "passionate nature." This was essential, for Fourier designed his communities in such a way that they would allow each of their members to fully satisfy their natural, human needs or "passions." Unlike Owen, Fourier would permit privately held property in his phalansteres, as he thought that private property, if suitably controlled, could help satisfy basic human needs. However, because social classes would not exist in his community, there would be no need for a large state, which would be reduced instead to an institution dedicated to economic planning. Finally, each phalanstery would be set in the countryside where it citizens would could satisfy their need to commune with nature while working in the fields.
[FIGURE 2 OMITTED]
Owen's and Fourier's utopian ideas led then to advocate the development of experimental utopian communities. The most famous Owenite community was at New Harmony, Indiana, where Owen and his family lived for a short time. Begun in 1824, its failure five years later was used by Fourier to promote his phalansteres, some forty-five of which were founded throughout the world. The most famous of these was the Brook Farm Phalanx which became a Fourierist community in 1841 (Figure 3, Guarneri 166). Unfortunately, most of these communities, such as New Harmony and Brook Farm, were begun by other groups and were not based on the physical plans suggested by Owen and Fourier. Nevertheless, their inhabitants tried to adapt them to these plans, with mixed results (Hayden).
[FIGURE 3 OMITTED]
B. Ebenezer Howard
In his book, originally published in 1898 under the title, Tomorrow: A Peaceful Path to Real Reform, Howard proposed the construction of a small "Garden City" of about 30,000 people, which was to be zoned in such a way as to segregate various activities while, at the same time, ensuring that they all are easily accessible. The city, which resembled Fourier's City of Garantism, was to occupy 1000 acres in the middle of a 5000 acre tract reserved for farms which would be large enough to provide the bulk of the food required by the city's citizens and to provide many of them with employment. Forest preserves located in the agricultural belt would insure that each citizen had ready access to nature. In addition, these greenbelts would prevent suburban sprawl. Instead, future growth would require the construction of new garden cities surrounding a larger "Central City" (Figure 4, Buder 106) to form an integrated "Social City" (Figure 5, Howard 143) linked by rail lines.
[FIGURE 4-5 OMITTED]
Just inside the greenbelt at the periphery of each Garden City would be an area dedicated to manufacturing. These factories would be joined by a railroad used to transport goods efficiently. Because the railroad would circle the city, it would also serve as a commuter line, insuring that no citizen would have a long commute to work. Six large roads would extend from the periphery to the city's center, dividing the city into six pie-shaped "Wards," each with its own neighborhood center and neighborhood park to serve its 5000 residents (Figure 6, Howard 53). Each of the 1000 families that live in each Ward would rent homes of varying sizes on 20' by 130' lots. At the center of the city would be a Central Park, surrounded by a set of "Crystal Palaces" dedicated to shopping and socializing. At the center of the park would be a central garden surrounded by a various public buildings includ-Garden City Introduced; Aalen; Fishman, The American Garden City; and Hall, Cities of Tomorrow 86-135).
According to Fishman, "the utopian socialists were largely forgotten by the time Howard ... began [his] work, so there was little direct influence from them.... [However, his] search ... for a city whose design expressed the ideals of cooperation and social justice led him to revive many of the themes of his utopian socialist ... predecessors" (Urban Utopias 14). Although, Fishman is right that the utopian socialists had little direct influence on Howard, they had a strong indirect influence on him through such intermediaries as Edward Bellamy, Peter Kropotkin, Henry George, Alfred Russel Wallace, John Ruskin, and Alfred Marshall, who, like Howard, played a role in the loosely organized society that constituted English Radicalism at the end of the nineteenth-century. Under their influence, Howard adopted a number of ideas that were originally developed by the utopian socialists (Batchelor; Beevers; Buder; Fishman, Urban Utopias 23-90; and Lang).
Among these ideas was the humanistic approach to social reform. Like the utopian socialists, Howard's goal was to create "a condition of life in which every endeavour is made by Society ... to satisfy from the bountiful reservoirs of Nature the needs of Society as a whole.... We ... must ... therefore earnestly endeavour to ascertain what are the urgent needs of Society" (Qtd in Beevers 30). Howard was particularly interested in seeing that two such needs were satisfied; namely, that all people have ample space to live and abundant opportunities to work. His focus on these needs was a result of his observation of life in London during the industrial revolution, which was characterized by the unemployment, filth, and overcrowding that he believed were caused by the rapid depopulation of (and high unemployment in) the countryside, which in turn was caused by the industrial revolution. As illustrated in his "Three Magnets" diagram, which Howard used to argue that they would be universally attractive, his garden cities were designed to solve these problems and, thereby, to satisfy all important human needs (Figure 7, Howard 46).
Like the utopian socialists, Howard believed that his city would solve many of the problems created by the rapid anarchic development that characterized the industrial revolution. Not only would the Garden City overcome the separation between town and country which many thought lay at the root of a variety of social and spiritual problems, but it would also contribute to a greater equality by raising wages and allowing rents to be used to benefit all citizens. In addition, it would lead people to be more cooperative by making cooperation more rational. As Howard believed that these results could never be achieved though coercion, he, like the utopian socialists, advocated peaceful change and, like the utopian socialists, he developed a detailed plan to achieve this end (Benevolo).
This plan involved the establishment of a joint stock company that would buy the land on which the town was to be built. The town would then rent land to its citizens and to the companies that they would form and use that rent first to pay off the investors and then to fund various cooperative ventures. By ridding his city of landlords (without having to impose Henry George's "single tax" on existing property owners), Howard hoped to find a way to lower the cost of living, fund cooperative projects, and peacefully achieve a more egalitarian society. Moreover, like Fourier, Howard would allow for privately owned businesses, but since the town would own the land on which businesses would be located, there would be no real danger that they would generate any great disparities of wealth.
As is clear from this short summary, Howard's Garden City shared many features with the utopian socialists' ideal communities. Not only did Howard and the utopian socialists advocate the creation of small, self-sufficient, cooperative, and pastoral communities, designed to create full employment and insure social equality, but they did so for similar reasons. Both Howard and the utopian socialists, that is to say, were humanists who believed that people shared a common human nature and a common set of human needs. Moreover, both Howard and the utopian socialists believed that morality required the fair satisfaction of these needs and they condemned existing society for failing to do so. Finally, both Howard and the utopian socialists looked to science to discover how these needs could be satisfied. Robert Beevers summarized this approach nicely in his study of Howard's work:
Above all, Howard appealed to ... the power of reason directed by science to solve problems of social structure and organization by means of the nascent discipline of sociology.... Thus, when he spoke of his garden city as the key to mankind's ... [future], it was through a reconciliation of ... [both individuals with society and society with nature that this would come about. As long as the] unnatural separation of man and nature endures, the fulness of joy and wisdom will not be revealed to man. [As Howard put it:] "Town and country must be married, and out of this joyous union will spring a new hope, a new life, a new civilization ..." (59).
III. The Marxist Critique of the Utopian Socialists
Although Marx was famous for his criticism of the utopian socialists, as I argued in an earlier essay, it is not entirely clear what his objection to their work was: not only does Marx make as many as five distinct criticisms of the general political and social plans of the utopian socialists, but it is an open question as to which most clearly reflects his final considered position (Paden). Here, however, I will set aside the interpretative questions I address in that article to focus on the application of these various general criticisms to their urban and spatial plans. I will begin, however, with a brief account of his five general criticisms of the utopian socialists which, I will treat as competing interpretations of a single criticism.
The Tactical Criticism: This interpretation is based on the idea that Marx's critique of the utopian socialists was addressed primarily to other socialists. According to this interpretation, while Marx might have believed that it is possible to imagine a truly ideal society, he thought that politically it was a tactical mistake to spend much time on these idle dreams and a greater mistake to debate the relative merits of alternative ideals in public as these debates would only cause divisions within the socialists' ranks and delay the impending revolution. Therefore, as a practical matter, socialists should avoid all utopian speculation as to the nature of the post-revolutionary Communist society so as to focus on the revolutionary task at hand--the overthrow of bourgeois society.
The Strategic Criticism: On this interpretation, Marx supported (in outline, at least) the utopian socialists' vision of the ideal society. However, he believed that the means the utopian socialists proposed to attain their ends (i.e., theoretical argument and practical demonstrations) were insufficient. Given the realities of capitalist society, a truly good society can only be realized through the violent overthrow of the entire existing social order: peaceful change can never produce a wholly good society and gradual improvements will always be counterproductive in the long run. Thus, on this view, while the utopian socialists' goals are, in general, worthy and while they have accurately forecast, in outline at least, the various structures of the future society, the means they proposed to reach these ends are entirely inadequate.
The Materialist Criticism: This interpretation places the criticism of the utopian socialists into the context of Marx's Historical Materialism according to which morality is an aspect of the cultural superstructure whose prime function is to help maintain the existing class structure by leading people to act in ways that support it. Therefore, on this interpretation, the Marxist criticism of the utopian socialists focuses on the method that the utopian socialists adopted; namely, the moral criticism of existing society and the ethical projection of an ideal society. This morally-grounded approach faces two problems. First, without a valid theory of social structure and social change, this method is incapable of accurately comprehending the shape of the future society. As a result, it is incapable of projecting an ideal that would be appropriate to it. In particular, the utopian socialists, lacking a sound (i.e., materialist) scientific theory, failed to understand both the productive potential of industrialization and the political significance of the working class and, as a result, their ideal societies will not fit future conditions. Second, to be convincing, ethical projections must be based on existing moral categories, but those categories function to support the existing social structure. Thus, because the moral projections of the utopian socialists are based on "bourgeois" moral values, such as 'equality' and 'justice' they will, despite their creators' intent, tend to reproduce the social relations that originally gave rise to these values. Therefore, not only is this method incapable of providing the perspective necessary to ground a radical critique, but in practice it will tend to reinforce existing institutions. Utopian moralizing in the absence of a sound science of society and a revolutionary moral theory is always doomed to failure.
The Humanist Criticism: On this interpretation, Marx accepted the utopian socialists' humanist approach to morality, the method of the ethical projection of ideal societies developed by the utopian socialists, and the broad outlines of their utopian vision, but he disagreed, at least in part, with the particular ideals they adopted. According to this interpretation, there is nothing wrong in principle with a humanist approach to morality, as long as it is based on sound scientific theories and a conception of human nature consistent with those theories. The utopian socialists went wrong, on this view, by accepting an essentially bourgeois theory of human nature and, with it, a moral theory that stressed equality and justice in consumption. Marx replaced this false theory with another, more adequate, theory of human nature, which he derived, with some modifications, from Hegel. This theory of human nature supported an alternative--but still humanist--moral theory, the central value of which is autonomous self-development; and this theory, in turn, grounded Marx's utopian vision of a non-alienating society in which free, spontaneous self-development is possible. Such a developmentalist/humanist society would be very different, in principle, from the society envisioned by the utopian socialists in that it would place a premium on individual development. As a result, unlike the rigid and oppressive 'utopias' of the utopian socialists, Marx's ideal society would be a dynamic society that would change as its members changed. Therefore, it would be impossible to give a detailed or a final description of every aspect of that society and, consequently, Marx limited himself to a description of a set of framework institutions, the purpose of which was to guarantee that all members of the society could freely engage in the process of self-development. Coincidentally, these institutional arrangements (e.g., no social classes or oppressive state, dynamic and autonomous intellectual and artistic institutions, non-oppressive working conditions, etc.) resemble in outline the arrangements proposed by the utopian socialists, while still allowing for the social changes individual development would require.
The Metaethical Criticism: On this interpretation, although Marx agreed with the utopian socialists that society should be redesigned along more moral lines, he disagreed both with the moral principles adopted by the utopian socialists and with the humanistic approach they used to ground these principles. Marx, as Louis Althusser has argued, came to reject humanism in all its forms and with it the utopian socialists' project of grounding morality on a concept of human nature and its needs (221-47). Instead, as Cornel West has argued, he came to believe that morality could not be grounded on a concept of human nature; indeed, that it had no philosophical foundation, but instead could only be based on the consensus of the community, if this consensus was arrived at through a free and rational process (1-14). This implies that the ultimate content of morality can never be finally settled as any such content must always remain open to further challenge and argument. Therefore, on this interpretation, although Marx, like the utopian socialists, believed that the ideal society would be a morally well-ordered society, since he believed that morality is essential revisable, he thought that it is impossible to specify in advance all the particular institutions that give the ideal society its structure. Instead, those institutions must be allowed to change in order to conform to the moral conceptions developed through the free dialogues the citizens of the ideal society conduct. Nevertheless, it is still possible to give a partial description of the ideal post-revolutionary society, as this society must include those institutions that would make free discourse possible. Thus, the ideal society must include the institutions essential to what today is called "a deliberative democracy" (Dryzek). Coincidentally, those institutions are virtually the same institutions that would guarantee self-development on the humanist interpretation. Beyond these framework institutions, however, it is impossible to give a more complete description of the ideal society as these details depend on the unpredictable results of an ongoing internal debate. Thus, as with Marx's humanist ideal, this ideal society would be dynamic.
These five interpretations lead to some seemingly inconsistent criticisms. For example, while the tactical and materialist criticisms attack the utopian socialists simply for being utopians, the strategic interpretation faults the utopian socialists for adopting inadequate means in the pursuit of valid utopian goals. These goals, however, are largely rejected by the humanist and the metaethical criticisms, which attack the utopian socialists for being the wrong type of utopians. Moreover, while the metaethical criticism argues on philosophical grounds that the humanist project is entirely mistaken, in practice both share a similar utopian vision which is similar in many ways to the utopian visions of the utopian socialists. Finally, while the tactical criticism advises socialists to avoid discussing the ideal society for political reasons, in the course of making his strategic, humanist, and metaethical criticisms, Marx actually spent a good deal of time doing just that on the latter two interpretations, seemingly on the assumption that a description of an ideal society would give people sound moral reasons to pursue revolutionary activity--a tactic called into question by the materialist criticism. Elsewhere, I have argued that these five interpretations are not as inconsistent or independent as they might at first seem (Paden). In this essay, however, I will ignore this argument in order to apply these criticisms to various approaches to urban planning.
IV. Applying the Marxist Critique ...
A. ... to the Utopian Socialists' Town Plans
Marx's general criticisms of the utopian socialists' political and social project seems only too accurate. First, their endless infighting over the details of their utopian visions helped to split the European left into a number of conflicting camps, preventing it from becoming an effective political force. Second, the utopian socialists were, in fact, unable to gain the support they sought from bourgeois bankers and politicians and, partly as a result, their demonstration communities failed and their peaceful challenges to bourgeois society were easily turned aside. Third, their emphasis on equality and justice led them to design rigid, authoritarian communities that would almost certainly make the problem of alienation worse. Fourth, their humanist morality was based on a narrow conception of human nature, which led them to overlook the importance of autonomous self-development and, generally, to champion fixed, static, and rigid dystopian societies. Finally, their adoption of a humanist approach to morality led them to misunderstand the provisional nature of all theories of the good and the inherent revisability of all social institutions and, consequently, to underestimate the importance of moral debate and democratic institutions. As a result, their revolutionary utopias turned out to be neither revolutionary nor utopian, but were, instead, impediments that blocked needed social change.
Unfortunately, Marx did not systematically apply these criticisms to the spatial ideas behind the utopian socialists's town plans. In his writings on "the housing question," however, Engels discussed the problems of urban life during the last half of the nineteenth century in some detail and these comments shed some light on the nature of these criticisms. For example, Engels argued, in what was little more than an extended elaboration on Marx's call for the "gradual abolition of the distinction between town and country" (The Communist Manifesto 490). that this division was the source of most urban problems. Given this, it is not surprising that Engels argued that the "bourgeois solution" to the housing question (i.e., programs to help workers buy their own homes in the city) was essentially flawed:
The bourgeois solution to the housing question has come to grief and it has come to grief owing to the antithesis of town and country [which it did not address]. And with this we have arrived at the kernel of the problem. The housing question can only be solved when society has been sufficiently transformed for a start to be made towards abolishing the antithesis between town and country, which has been brought to an extreme point by present-day capitalist society. Far from being able to abolish this antithesis, capitalist society ... is compelled to intensify it day by day. On the other hand the first modern utopian socialists, Owen and Fourier, already correctly recognized this. In their model plans the antithesis between town and country no longer exists (The Housing Question 54, emphasis in original).
As the utopian socialists also sought to overcome this antithesis, Engels was more favorably disposed towards their ideas. Nevertheless, he argued that their attempts to build small communities set in natural surroundings was premature:
It is not the solution of the housing question which ... solves the social question; instead only by the solution of the social question (that is, by the abolition of the capitalist mode of production), is the solution of the housing question made possible. To want to solve the housing question while at the same time desiring to maintain the modern big cities is an absurdity. The modern big cities ... will be abolished only by the abolition of the capitalist mode of production (The Housing Question 54).
Thus, he faults the utopian socialists for failing to attack bourgeois society as a whole. This, of course, is essentially a strategic criticism of these town plans: a solution to the urban crisis must wait on the larger transformation of society. But Marx also explicitly criticized the utopian socialists town plans and conception of urban space on tactical grounds, arguing that, with their focus on envisioning ideal communities, the utopian socialists led the proletariat into endless competing "doctrinaire experiments [which must] ... necessarily suffer shipwreck" (Eighteenth Brumaire 601). In addition, Engels criticized these plans on materialist grounds, arguing that socialists who develop town plans that seek to realize eternal justice and complete equality through architectural means are guilty of adopting essentially bourgeois values that are incompatible with a truly ideal society (The Housing Question 31).
B. ... to Howard's Garden City
It should be clear that the same type of criticisms could be leveled against Howard's Garden City. Although Howard was more successful in attracting the support of bourgeois bankers and politicians and while an association he founded was able to build two garden cities, this success actually seems to support rather than contradict a strategic criticism of Howard's plans. In fact, it is tempting to apply a line from The Housing Question to Howard's work: the garden city concept failed to achieve its revolutionary goals because it "has been borrowed directly ... from the [town plans of the] socialists Owen and Fourier ... [but] made entirely bourgeois by discarding everything socialist about them" (55). Despite Howard's commendable intentions, in practice, not only did garden cities fail to produce the broad social changes Howard sought, but it did not produce any great improvement in urban life, narrowly conceived (Buber 77-132; Ward, The Garden City). For example, Letchworth and Welwyn were unable to attract the industry they need to be self-sufficient and, as a result, were inhabited not by the working poor, but by the middle class. In addition, without their own factories, they became dependant on access to urban centers, and, as a result, rapidly became nothing more than garden suburbs. Consequently, while pleasant places to live, garden cities did little to solve the problems Howard confronted, while helping to exacerbated such problems as residential segregation and transportation gridlock (Hall, Cities of Tomorrow 86-135; Fishman, The American Garden City 146-164). Ultimately, bourgeois society was able to assimilate the garden city movement without difficulty. In part, this reflects the fact--fully in accord with the materialist criticism--that Howard's garden city was grounded in bourgeois values. Marx could also add that this shows that Howard made a tactical error in that, by proposing an ideal city as a way to transform society, he opened the door to unproductive utopian speculation and debate.
C. Broadening the Critique
Although these criticisms support the received view, it should be clear that they do not exhaust Marx's arsenal: he could also attack the various town plans of the utopian socialists and Howard on humanist and metaethicai grounds. As to the former, Marx could point out that both Howard and the utopian socialists adopted a mistaken conception of human nature according to which people have fixed needs that should be fairly satisfied by their society. Therefore, neither Howard nor the utopian socialists understood the importance of self-development, nor the significance of alienation. As a result, with the exception of their stress on overcoming the separation between town and country, neither Howard nor the utopian socialists attempted to use their plans to help overcome alienation. Instead, because their towns were designed to be inhabited, not by the creative and autonomously self-developing individuals that Marx celebrated during his humanist moments, but by static unchanging individuals with fixed needs, they would likely increase alienation. From a metaethical perspective, Marx could criticize the humanist nature of both Howard's and the utopian socialists' approach to urban planning, arguing that their towns allow no room for social change; that, from the moment of creation, they are finished products; and that their plans evince no recognition of the importance of practical discourse in shaping social institutions and provide no forums for such discourse, nor opportunities for the types of "experiments in living" that are essential to such discourse.
Marx's attacks on the utopian socialists were not limited to their political programs; instead, his criticisms took in their town plans, as well. Moreover, his criticisms of these plans were not necessarily limited to the tactical, strategic, and materialistic criticisms that are emphasized by the received view. Instead, it is possible to extend his humanistic and metaethical criticisms to their town plans. Given the close connections between the utopian socialists' town plans and Howard's Garden City, it is clear that these other criticisms of the utopian socialists's town plans can also be applied to Howard's plan without substantial change. But if this is the case, then, given Howard's position in the history of urban planning, these criticisms should also apply to more contemporary approaches to urban planning.
V. Marxist Criticism and Contemporary Urban Planning
In the twentieth-century, in an attempt to make their discipline into a profession, urban planners produced an amazing number of theories to help explain, justify, order, and improve their discipline. This theoretical effort was so prolific that in short order there were a variety of competing and conflicting urban planning theories and much talk about paradigm shifts and disciplinary crises (Galloway and Mahayni): "theory" in urban planning began to resemble a rapidly growing hydra. To deal with the resulting confusions, some planners developed a number of "topologies" of planning theory that group theories together based on the fact that they adopt similar approaches or make similar assumptions (Allmendinger; Fainstein and Fainstein, City Planning and Political Values; Friedman and Hudson; and Yiftachel). One of the most important of these topologies was developed by Henry Hightower and Andreas Faludi, who argued that there were two distinct types of theories related to urban planning, "theories in planning" and "theories of planning" (Faludi 4). Theories in planning (or "urban theories") are substantive theories of the city. This type of theory, I would argue, can have two parts: a descriptive and explanatory urban theory (or 'science of the city') that gives an account of how cities and their parts function and interact and a normative urban theory (part of a 'philosophy of the city') that gives an account of what makes a city a good city. Theories of planning (or "planning theories"), on the other hand, are second-order theories which take as their subject the process of planning. I would argue there are two kinds of this type of theory, philosophical methodologies that give an account of how, ideally, planners should plan and sociological theories of planning that give an account of how planners actually do plan.
This topology can be combined with a historical topology developed by Nigel Taylor. Taylor's topology, which focuses mainly on the work of Anglo-American planners, was developed in the course of his philosophical history of twentieth century urban planning which presents newer theories as developing out of problems in older theories. Taylor divides the history of twentieth century urban planning into three stages, each dominated by a particular approach: the first modeled on architecture, the second on science, and the third on politics. According to Taylor, each of these approaches was subjected to damaging--even fatal--criticism and that, as a result, planning theory has remained in a state of crisis throughout much of the twentieth century. Marx, I would argue, anticipated virtually every important criticism of these various approaches to urban planning in his criticism of the utopian socialists. Thus, in partial confirmation of the received view, Marx plays the Hercules to urban planning's Hydra.
A. Urban Planning as Design (1900-1960)
Because many early urban planners were architects, who understood themselves to be architects working on the scale of a town or a city, early in its history many common architectural practices were incorporated into urban planning. In particular, urban planners implicitly adopted four principles from architecture that together constituted the "design approach" which dominated planning during the first half of the twentieth century (Taylor 20-36). The first of these principles was what Taylor calls "utopian comprehensiveness." Under the influence of the utopian socialists, many planners developed designs for completely new cities to serve as models to guide the process of urban reform. Implicit in this project were the ideas that cities should be designed to advance the "public interest," which, in principle, could be defined in terms of a number of basic values, themselves derived from an underlying concept of human nature and its needs; that these values completely determined a fixed and unchanging urban ideal; and that, to achieve this ideal, cities must be entirely rebuilt. Second, while planners sought to satisfy human needs through urban plans, they also emphasized aesthetic considerations. This emphasis was justified by a relatively simplistic architectural determinism which held that beautiful cities produce good citizens who in turn produce healthy societies (Creese 165). Third, planners adopted a highly ordered, hierarchical, view of urban structure which, oddly enough, was partly based on an anti-urban, backward-looking romanticism that took village life as an ideal. According to this view, cities should be composed of numerous self-contained, village-like neighborhoods that were separated from each other, but connected to the city's center and industrial areas (Harvey, Justice, Nature, and the Geography of Difference).
To varying degrees, a number of early planners and planning movements adopted this approach. It should now be clear that this approach was modeled on the work of Howard and Garden City Movement. Moreover, it is easy to argue that Frank Lloyd Wright's "Broadacre City" and the growing suburban movement it reflected also adopted this approach. In addition, Taylor argues that Burnham and the "City Beautiful Movement" accepted many of the principles associated with this approach, although, admittedly, they were less influenced by its anti-urban bias. More controversially, he argues that Le Corbusier and the modernist movement generally were also inspired by this approach. Clearly, Le Corbusier's "Radiant" and "Contemporary" cities were hierarchically-ordered, utopian communities designed as finished and integral wholes reflecting underlying moral values based on a well-defined conception of human nature. On the other hand, the modernist movement did not in any way seek a return to simple village life. I would argue that the work of other more contemporary urban planners has also been informed by these principles. One of the best examples of this can be found in the admirably clear work of Kevin Lynch. Interestingly, Lynch not only adopts some of the principles of the design approach, but he clearly adopts a humanistic position, arguing for a normative position based on "certain very general statements about the nature of human beings" (112).
Due to a number of spectacular failures (Kolson), the design approach had been widely rejected by the middle of the century. These failures could be attributed to the principles underlying the approach. First, many planners argued that, with their eyes fixed on their utopian ideals, urban designers simply failed to understand how real cities worked and that, as a result, their attempts to realize their ideals produced numerous unintended, but extremely harmful, consequences. For example, in The Containment of Urban England, Peter Hall et al., argued that the attempt (inspired, in part, by the design approach's anti-urban bias) to limit the growth of cities and preserve open space through the introduction of "greenbelts" surrounding urban areas led to a number of harmful consequences. While the greenbelts did contain the growth of the urban cores, suburban development simply leapt over the greenbelts. This caused average commuting times to lengthen, which in turn led to increasing property values in the urban core. This disrupted many established middle class neighborhoods and caused a decline in the quality of urban life (Hall, Gracey, Drewett, and Thomas). Second, the focus on the physical aspects of urban areas led planners to believe that poor, but healthy, urban communities were slums that need "renewal." This created additional and severe social problems. Third, as Jane Jacobs pointed out, this approach's hierarchical view of the city and its anti-urban bias, led planners to create sterile suburbs and deaden urban neighborhoods (Jacobs). Finally, the focus on perfecting the city led planners to denigrate diversity and change, thereby exacerbating social divisions and increasing social problems.
Despite the fact that Marx and Engels shared the anti-urban bias common to both the utopian socialists and the urban designers, in their criticisms of the utopian socialists they anticipated virtually all the other criticisms of the design approach enumerated above. In his materialist criticism, Marx faulted the utopian socialists for basing their town plans on a set of naively humanistic moral values and for lacking a science of society that could guide them in their efforts. The same criticism was made of twentieth century urban designers. Second, Marx and Engels rejected in advance the architectural determinism implicit in design approach: as Engels was fond of pointing out when elaborating on the strategic criticisms, the housing problem could only be solved after the social problem had been solved. Finally, consistent with both the humanist and metaethical criticisms, they argued that an ideal society must be dynamic and ever-changing. Therefore, they rejected the idea, common to both the utopian socialists and the early urban designers that planners should draw up detailed utopian blueprints of future communities.
B. Urban Planning as Science (1960-1970)
These failures led to the development of a new variety of "scientific" urban planning theories, the most well-known of which were "systems theory" and "comprehensive-rational planning" (Friedman and Hudson). The practical failures of the design approach convinced many planners that it was essential to develop an empirically-grounded scientific theory of urban life. Given Hall's analysis of these failures as the unintended consequences of urban reform, many planners were naturally attracted to the idea of cities as complex evolving social system that react in unexpectedly complex ways to seemingly simple changes. Systems theory, therefore, was the obvious alternative. The adoption of a systems approach was motivated by the problems in the principles of the design approach including its simplistic architectural determinism, its near exclusive focus on the physical elements of the city, its emphasis on aesthetic considerations, and its utopian emphasis on the development of final blueprints. Because, on the systems approach, cities were understood to be ongoing, ever-changing, primarily-social systems, planners took their task to be one of managing these systems so as to maximize short-run benefits while avoiding long-term disasters.
Systems theory was a purely descriptive and predictive urban theory and, as such, was the polar opposite of design theories which were purely normative urban theories. Unfortunately, this emphasis on science and systems led systems theorists to ignore the essential value dimension of urban planning practice. Instead of developing and defending a normative urban theory, systems theorists almost completely ignored the normative dimensions of urban planning, arguing that the task of an urban planner was simply to "optimize the functioning of the city," as if the city were a type of machine (Taylor 78). Of course, this metaphor only disguised the value assumptions of systems theory, which, in fact, remained largely unchanged from the humanistic values of the design approach. However the apparent implausibility of this view soon led systems theorists to link their theory to various types of philosophically-grounded rational methodologies of planning. The best known of these methodologies, comprehensive-rational planning, was adopted from a public policy approach to planning developed by Herbert Simon from theories first advanced by the utopian socialist, Saint-Simon (Simon; and Friedman, Two Centuries of Planning Theory). Comprehensive-rational planning focused exclusively on the process of planning which, it held, should to be composed, ideally, of a number of sequential stages (e.g., goal formulation and values clarification, problem formulation, options generation, options evaluation, and policy selection) together with some associated feed-back loops (Hare). Often, this theory was combined with a type of cost-benefit analysis to further formalize the procedure. The advantage of this approach was that it allowed values to enter the planning process, without requiring that they be philosophically justified. Instead, planners argued that, as neutral professionals, they must adopt as their sole value, "the public good," as determined through some neutral, rational procedure. Given this rational approach to decision making, systems theory and comprehensive-rational planning theory formed a complete approach to urban planning that promised to put urban planning on a purely scientific basis.
Unfortunately this promise could not be redeemed. First, systems theory did not produce the kind of accurate predictive urban theories the approach required. This may have been due to relative lack of detailed empirical research on various urban subsystems or it may have been due to an underlying ideological blindness (Taylor 75-91). At any rate, systems theory did not attain the scientific status to which it aspired. Second, a number of sociological theories of planning suggested that comprehensive-rational planning theory was essentially flawed. The most important problems suggested by these studies involved the theory's use of the concept of "the public good." As a number of planners argued, conceptions of the public good are inherently contestable. To some degree this argument reflects a decline in confidence in humanistic moral theories, but, in urban planning, the argument was also based on practical experience. For example, Martin Meyerson and Edward Banfield's study of public housing in Chicago revealed that different groups held irreconcilable views as to the ends that the city's housing authority should pursue. In addition, these groups often had mutually conflicting interests, only some of which could be satisfied by any particular urban policy or design. Moreover, as a number of more philosophical studies argued, in the absence of some philosophical theory, such as humanism, which can provide an objective evaluation of these conflicting values, it is not possible to rationally construct a common public good and, without it, planning cannot pretend to be a purely neutral activity (Tribe). Furthermore, other studies suggested that, in principle, planners could not select goals after a careful consideration of all possible alternatives, but must instead select an alternative from among a few politically salient possibilities. Moreover, they cannot implement particular urban plans in a rational manner, but must instead bow to political pressure every step of the way. Thus, planners do little more than address, on an ad hoc basis, those urban problems that politically influential groups deem important (Barrett and Fudge; and Lindblom). In light of these arguments, comprehensive-rational planning should be rejected: planning is not scientific, but, as Norton Long argued, is instead "inherently political."
As with the criticisms of the design approach, virtually all these criticisms of the scientific approach to planning were anticipated in Marx's criticisms of the utopian socialists' town plans. As Marx argued in his materialist criticism, plans that are not based on a scientifically well-grounded conception of society are doomed to failure, while plans based on values grounded in the existing social structure and its ideology will only reinforce that structure and benefit those who control it. If the critics of rational planning are correct, its central value, "the public good," is just such an ideological concept. Moreover, consistent with Marx's strategic criticism, it is unlikely that planners can escape the political limitations imposed upon them by their position. As a result, the scientific approach to urban planning must be understood to be essentially flawed, 'utopian' in the pejorative sense of the term.
C. Urban Planning as Polities (1970-1990)
These criticisms of the scientific approach to planning led some planners to adopt an explicitly political approach to planning. If urban planning decisions cannot be rationally justified and if they are inherently political, then planning itself must become explicitly political. This argument led to what might be called a "democratic turn" in planning theory which holds that planners should give up their pretensions of neutral expertise and embrace an explicitly political role. For some planners, the democratic turn simply meant that planners should use their work to help achieve greater economic equality (Krumholz and Forester). Other planners, however, understood the democratic turn to require a reform in the process of planning: planning itself must be made more democratic. As the Fainsteins put it:
During the 1960s, critics of planning accused planners of imposing their vision of an idealized bourgeois world on a resistant population. They called for a transformation of planning from a top-down to a participatory process.... According to David R. Godschalk, "What is needed is a modus operandi which brings governmental planners face-to-face with citizens in a continuous cooperative venture. Such a venture could not only educate and involve the community in planning, but could also educate and involve the planners in their community" (City Planning and Political Values 268-269).
There are a number of ideas as to how to bring the community into the planning process. At one extreme is Paul Davidoff's "advocacy planning" which is based on a model adapted from the legal profession, in which planners are responsible to their clients and unabashedly seek to express and achieve their client's interests." On this view, the planner is to bring the community--and particularly those who have historically been excluded--into the planning process by personally representing their interests. At the other extreme is "communicative planning" which is based on a model drawn from Jurgen Habermas's work. On this view, the role of the planner is to create a planning environment that welcomes all parties and facilitates undistorted communication. In this quasi-ideal speech situation, the pubic can freely discuss plans and make truly democratic decisions as to what projects to pursue. Here, planners are not to act as advocates, nor as experts, but instead they are simply to work to maintain the proper environment to insure a fully democratic process (Forester, Planning in the Face of Power and The Deliberative Planner).
A number of Marx's criticisms of the utopian socialists can be adapted to criticize these theories. First, with respect to equity planning, Marx went to great length in his Critique of the Gotha Program to criticize attempts to bring about economic equality without greater political changes. According to the materialist criticism, these attempts are based on unsound moral concepts and would, if successful, only exacerbate other social problems. Second, according to the strategic criticism, as equity and advocacy planners are employees of the state, they will be unable to use their position effectively to challenge the existing political order in such a direct way. With regard to democratic planning, Marx was always suspicious of attempts to create isolated utopian communities and the attempt to create fully democratic ideal speech situation in which the community can engage in democratic planning is, in effect, an attempt to create just such a community, albeit one without any permanent structure. Consequently, consistent with the strategic criticism, it is likely that such a community would be even less able to influence the society at large than were the utopian socialists's ideal communities. Some sociological studies of communicative planning have confirmed this prediction (Huxley).
When Faludi's and Taylor's topologies are combined they reveal how urban planning theory developed over the course of the twentieth century. At the beginning of the century urban planning theory rested on a number of purely normative urban theories. The practical failure of these theories led to the development of several purely descriptive urban theories that were combined in various ways with a set of rational choice methodologies in hopes of producing purely scientific approach to urban planning. These hopes were undercut by the difficulties inherent in any attempt to develop an empirically well-grounded science of the city. In addition, sociological theories of planning revealed that the conceptions of the public good were essentially contestable and that, therefore, these conceptions conceal a political agenda. Finally, other sociological studies challenged the new political approaches to planning theory, arguing that they continued to ignored the political settings in which planners had to operate. In sum, the trend in normative urban planning theory has been from substantive normative urban theories to rational methodologies of planning, followed by the ruthless critique of procedural conception of rationality (Camhis).
I have argued throughout that most of the particular criticisms that drove urban planning theory from position to position were anticipated by Marx in his criticisms of the utopian socialists. Indeed, in each case, the possibilities opened up by these modern theories were almost immediately foreclosed by criticisms that could be traced back to Marx's criticisms of the utopian socialists. Obviously, this gives great support to the received view. More importantly, it suggests that the crisis in urban planning theory is inescapable as it is not possible to develop such theories. Consequently, it is tempting to take Marx's tactical criticism to heart: it is simply a mistake to theorize about urban planning as this only leads to endless debates and paralyzing confusions. Urban planning it would seem, should become a practice without a theory. Before adopting this approach, however, it might be worthwhile to look one last time at Marx's criticisms of the utopian socialists.
VI. New Directions
The received view is not the only way to apply Marx's criticisms of the utopian socialists to urban planning theory. In fact, the received view ignores almost completely the philosophically most sophisticated aspects of Marx's writings--its humanist and metaethical elements--and emphasizes only its more narrowly political and crudely positivistic and deterministic theory of society; namely, the now widely-discredited, Historical Materialism. Consequently, although the received view is correct in its claim that Marx would have rejected much of contemporary urban planning theory, it overlooks the more constructive aspects of his critique. In particular, because it ignores Marx's more utopian criticisms of the utopian socialists, it mistakenly concludes that Marxism can provide no normative urban theory upon which an alternative approach to urban planning might be grounded. This conclusion leads directly to the "strange quietism" Hall warned against. Against the received view, I would argue that Marx's more sophisticated criticisms of the utopian socialists involve a vision--or actually two closely related visions--of an ideal society and, with it, a well-grounded normative urban theory.
Although the utopian visions implied by the humanistic and metaethical criticisms are very similar, as I believe that Marx's criticism of humanism to be well-grounded, I will sketch only the urban vision implied by that approach. Nevertheless I invite the reader to develop an urban vision based explicitly on Marx's developmentalist/humanist views. As I argued above, since the metaethical utopia would be a dynamic utopia, Marx avoided giving a detailed description of its various institutions and focused instead on describing and rejecting those institutions that would be incompatible with it. However, he did give some sketchy descriptions of its framework institutions which, in this case, are those institutions that would encourage effective practical discourse. These institutions must include some form of democratic decision making procedures, as democracy (of the right sort) requires reasoned practical discourse. More generally, a metaethical utopia would attempt to strengthen the public sphere in order to further encourage democratic deliberation. It is at this point that architecture and urban planning become important to the development of a metaethical utopia.
On the metaethical view, cities should be designed to encourage public discourse, with the understanding that, above all, cities are the locus of political activity and the peculiar forms of conversation upon which this activity is grounded. Lewis Mumford has noted the close historical connection between cosmopolitan cities and the political domain:
The best definition of the city in its higher aspects is to say that it is a place designed to offer the widest facilities for significant conversation.... Dialogue is one of the ultimate expressions of life in the city: the delicate flower of its long vegetative growth. Certainly, this dialogue developed with difficulty, if it developed at all, in the early city; for the first urban communities were based rather on the monologue of power.... Dialogue was, in fact, the first step out of that tribal conformity which is an obstacle both to self-consciousness and to development ... [and] like so many other emergent attributes of the city, [this] ... was no part of its original plan or function; but [instead] it was made possible by the inclusion of human diversities within the enclosed urban amphitheater.... And if provision for dialogue ... is one of the essential offices of the city, then one key to urban development should be plain--it lies in the widening of the circle of those capable of participating in it, till in the end all men will take part in the conversation (The City in History 116-17).
If Mumford is right, urban planning should have always been focused on the design of truly democratic cities. In any case, this goal would be central to an anti-humanist normative urban theory. As John Friedman put it, urban planners should work "for a recovery of the political community on which our Western ideas of democratic governance are based" (Planning in the Public Domain 327). However, this does not mean, as Friedman believes, simply that the process of planning should be made more democratic; rather, it means that planners should plan for democracy.
How can this be done? How can architecture and urban planning help achieve a democratic city? Several strategies might be suggested. Most important, cities should be designed so as to draw people into public places where they can meet each other in an environment that is conducive to rational interaction and discourse. Of course, typically this type of interaction takes place in formal institutions, in schools, associations, and meeting halls. But, as Iris Marion Young notes, on an anti-humanist approach to urban planning, it is essential to encourage similar, but less formal, encounters between ordinary citizens from diverse backgrounds (19-23). In traditional town plans, public squares and parks provided a place for people--and especially for strangers--to meet, but such meetings can also occur in private establishments such as restaurants and halls, as well as at more organized public events. More important, as Jane Jacobs has pointed out, streets and small parks can be designed to make people linger and perhaps strike up conversations. From another perspective, Richard Sennett has argued that for these streets and parks to function well, they must be surrounded by high density housing occupied by a diverse population (156-66). As the "new urbanists" have argued, the design of houses--their placement on lots, the addition of front porches, and the intermixing of different types of housing--can also play a role in increasing interactions across social boundaries. Similarly, many larger-scale features of the modern city can be redesigned to eliminate barriers to interaction. Many of these barriers, from wide streets, to suburban sprawl and the spread of sterile, controlling shopping malls, and the destruction of city centers, can be traced directly to the automobile. Others, like the increasing economic segregation of residential neighborhoods, culminating in gated communities, can be traced to misguided zoning regulations (Duany, Plater-Zyberk, and Speck). These features must be changed if cities are to become more open and discursive. If my interpretation of Marx is right, refining these ideas, discovering related ideas, and linking them together into a coherent urban plan is the proper task of urban planning. It is from this ideal of an open discursive community--itself based on Marx's metaethical position--that the various strategies and tactics of a reinvigorated form of urban planning must be developed.
A consideration of all of Marx's criticisms of the utopian socialists demonstrates that the received view is mistaken: Marx's criticisms do not necessarily lead to quietism, but they can point to a return to normative urban theory--but with a new twist. Even ignoring the explicitly Marxist criticisms, the history of urban planning theory traced in this paper indicates that normative urban theory is essential to the practice of urban planning, as the attempt to replace it with a combination of descriptive urban theories and ideal philosophical planning methodologies was doomed from the start. Of course, planners were fully justified in rejecting the narrow humanistic normative urban theories that dominated the history of urban planning during the last part of the nineteenth century and the first part of the twentieth century. Nevertheless, it was a mistake to reject normative urban theory in principle, as the problem with those theories did not lie in their normative character, but instead was to be found in their narrow humanistic foundations. Therefore, instead of embarking on their impossible project, urban planners should have attempted to revise their normative urban theories and put them on firmer foundations. In pursuing this task, they might have gained some insight into their situation by examining Marx's rejection of the utopian socialists' humanistic projects in favor of his developmentalist/ humanist approach or of his more discursive anti-humanist approach to politics. Indeed, given the similarities between the situations that urban planners found themselves in during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries and the utopian socialists' connections to the nineteenth century urban planning, it is surprising that so few urban planners paid attention to this early critique.
Attention to it might have led to one of the normative approaches that I have discussed in this paper. Of course, normative urban theory cannot stand in isolation and must be supplemented both by empirically well-grounded descriptive urban theories and by empirical and ideal studies of the planning process itself. Twentieth century urban planning theory can make a substantial contribution to a new synthesis, as long as normative urban theory is returned to its central place in urban planning theory. The need for all four types of theory is clear. Moreover, it is consistent with Marx's insistence on the close relationship between a scientific understanding of society and of a political praxis meant to reform it and with his insistence that political praxis must be consistent with political goals. Given this, urban planners who adopt Marx's normative approach might well be advised to continue empirical research on urban systems and to adopt some of the methods of communicative planning, as that method may best promote the democratic goals that are central to the normative urban theory I have outlined. It should be understood, however, that these planners must not simply work to create the conditions necessary for democratic planning practices, instead, they must also be advocates of democratic ideals and of plans that would help realize those ideals.
Urban planning theory has suffered too long from the absence of normative urban theory. Whether or not the normative theory outlined in this paper is accepted, a new normative theory is needed. In any case, however, if correctly understood, Marx's criticisms of the utopian socialists does not lead to a "strange quietism;" instead it offers two intriguing and related solutions to this general problem.
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Roger Paden is an Associate Professor at the Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies at George Mason University, 4400 University Drive, Fairfax, VA 22030 (Rpaden@gmu.edu). He specializes in Social and Political Philosophy, Ethics, and Environmental Ethics. His recent publications include "Marx's Criticism of the Utopian Socialists" (Utopian Studies); "Values and Planning: The Argument from Renaissance Utopianism," (Ethics, Place, and the Environment); "The Two Professions of Hippodamus of Miletus: On the Relationship Between Philosophy and Urban Planning" (Philosophy and Geography); and "Popper's Anti-Utopianism and the Concept of Open Society" (Journal of Value Inquiry).…