Town Planning into the 21st Century

Town Planning into the 21st Century

Town Planning into the 21st Century

Town Planning into the 21st Century

Synopsis

Bringing together the key issues facing planning today, this invaluable introduction for planning, policy and urban studies presents an important agenda for the 21st century.

Excerpt

It is conventional to talk of recent history in terms of decades, as if the 1970s were marked off from the 1980s, and the 1990s reflected a new set of changes. This tendency is likely to be all the more pronounced as we enter a new millennium which offers the opportunity both for retrospective pronouncements on a supposedly passing era and for speculative analysis of the prospects for the unfolding years to come. To an extent this periodicity masks the continuities of processes and the cycles of changes that are not so bound by regular demarcation of time. But, recognising that any point in time may represent an ending, a beginning and a continuing, the dawn of a new century (and especially a new millennium) is commonly accepted as a time to reflect on past, present and future. This book is a reflection on planning as we enter the new millennium.

For planning, such stock-taking is especially appropriate. in the first place, planning is a practical activity assessing past trends, making projections and setting out the constraints and opportunities for the future development of our environment. Beyond that, planning, in its broadest sense, is also about visions, the imagination of what the environment could (perhaps should) be like. This vision, or social purpose of planning, has existed much longer than planning as a professional occupation or governmental activity. Indeed, the first great visionary text of planning, Ebenezer Howard's Garden Cities of Tomorrow was published almost a century ago, coincidentally at the dawn of a new century. It proved more than mere vision since some of its ideas were put into practice, demonstrating the fusion of vision and practice that has always been present (if often subdued) in planning.

These two faces of planning-the one as a regulatory, governmental and 'professional' activity, the other as a purposive, ideological and analytical programme-constitute the core of the debates in this book. the shifting emphasis in planning practice over the last three decades or so is traced from its emphasis on comprehensive, strategic approaches founded on governmental intervention in the public interest, through a period where market interests became the dominating feature to a present period where public/ private partnership is emphasised. Paralleling and influencing these shifts have been changes in the techniques of planning, an earlier fascination with rationality, modelling and systems giving way to a softer focus on planning

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