Citizens in Conflict: The Sociology of Town Planning

Citizens in Conflict: The Sociology of Town Planning

Citizens in Conflict: The Sociology of Town Planning

Citizens in Conflict: The Sociology of Town Planning

Excerpt

Citizens in Conflict has sprung from two main sources of inspiration. The first is that after some ten years of involvement in town planning practice and education, and after an initial period where it seemed that town planning held out material prospects of contributing to desirable planned social change in cities, I have become increasingly disillusioned with its promise. This disillusionment has come about mainly through the analysis of the effects of town planning on different groups in the population. These seem to have been particularly severe on those least able to help themselves, either because they lack economic resources and political power or because they do not speak the same language or share the same values as town planners. The paradox has developed that, while the demonstrated effectiveness, from its clients' points of view, of the outputs from town planning is the only satisfactory criterion of success, all too often town planners measure their success in terms of plan inputs and the esteem they acquire among their professional colleagues.It is becoming decreasingly appropriate to describe them as public servants.

The second source of inspiration for this book came from a visit made in 1970 to the University of California at Berkeley.There the atmosphere and approach to town planning were completely different from what I had been used to in this country. Many of the controversies were stimulated by the so-called 'War on Poverty' initiated under the Kennedy Administration.The questions being asked seemed to be some years in advance of the issues holding the attention of town planners here. In the first place, the whole concept of a multi-fronted attack on poverty was not something that British town planners or even social administrators had formulated as a major objective in the 1960s.In the second place, the questions being asked about this programme seemed to be far in advance of 'per-

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