Urban Planning: Process or Processes?

Document Type : علمی - پژوهشی


Associate Professor, Faculty of Architecture and Urban Planning, Shahid Beheshti University


This paper presents an analysis of urban planning texts by comparing six main types of planning processes: i) the Cartesian method; ii) the Conjecture and Refutation method; iii) the Problem Solving and Decision Making method; iv) the Black-Box method; v) Rational Comprehensive Planning; and vi) Strategic Planning.It is shown that if by the ‘urban planning process’ normative procedures—the process as it should be—are meant, reference is made to several diverse processes. However, if the actual process is meant —the process as it is—then reference is made to a more or less single version. It is also shown that the processes could be compared in terms of morphological, terminological, the order of planning steps, epistemological bases, rationality, optimization, and their relation to two basic concepts of truth and power. The diversity of processes could be reduced to their relation to two main dimensions: the social action (ranging between communicative and strategic), and the investigation logic (ranging between inductive and deductive logical inference). It is finally explained that the actual urban planning process is a strategic communicative action in which knowledge and power are inseparable.

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