Planning and Urban Theory

This course uses analytical readings and case studies to address several major questions in planning theory. The overall theme is the relationship between conscious public policy and the economic, social, and political framework in which it operates and the urban space which it affects. To what extent is planning simply the resultant of social forces and to what degree does it shape those forces? Where do planners derive their goals; what is the relationship between the goal-setting process, the quality of policy, and the character of cities and regions; what are the ethical constraints that should govern planning practice; how can the planner enhance his or her control over social outputs, and, in turn, by what mechanisms should the public control him or her? Who benefits from urban and regional planning? What is the relationship between race and gender and planning outcomes? How does the capitalist political economy influence the nature of planning, and to what extent is there variation under capitalism?