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2018 - 2019 - S6 - CM - TD - Theory and practice of planning

Enseignants : Christian MONTES, Roelof VERHAGE

Objective and contents
The objective of the course is to teach students to be able to critically analyse different planning practices as to their process and their impacts, and to put French planning practice into perspective. This should allow them to better understand the role and the nature of spatial planning in society. Students are familiarised with some basic notions of planning theory, and are confronted with different types of planning that have marked the history of spatial planning:

− Technical rational planning: linear approach to planning, plans as blueprints based on « scientific » diagnosis of problems and analysis of alternative solutions. Key role for engineers in planning practice, as characterised by early postwar planning.
− Process planning: As a result of new insights into the effects of public action in a situation of bounded rationality and mutual dependence of actors, the focus in planning shifts in the 1970s-1980s from the « contents » of plans towards an increased attention for the process of their implementation, and for the interactions in the network of actors involved in this process.
− Communicative / collaborative planning: Building further upon the actor oriented approach of planning, different approaches to activating the actors emerge. These new approaches insist on the role of planning to stimulate and facilitate action, rather than actually to prescibe it, and on the mobilisation of all stakeholders.

These types of planning, their mechanisms, their impact and their limits are presented through examples taken in the United States and in the Netherlands.


The course is organised in twelve sessions of one hour 45 minutes each. The sessions are divided into six sessions CM and six sessions TD that take place alternatively. Please note that for the TDs, each group has to bring at least one computer.

Session 1: CM, 21-09-18, 10h00 à 11h45 (Roelof VERHAGE)
Introduction to planning theory. Definition of planning. Identification of different types of planning and short presentation of their main characteristics.

Session 2: TD, 28-09-18, 10h00-11h45 (groupe 1) ; 12h00 à 14h45 (groupe 2) (Christian MONTES)
Discussion on the chosen case studies. Each group should have sent to Christian Montes ( the case study on Wednesday, September 9th the latest.

Session 3: CM, 05-10-18, 10h00 à 11h45 (Christian MONTES)
The history of planning in the United States.

Session 4: TD, 12-10-18 10h00 à 11h45 (groupe 1) ; 12h00 à 13h45 (groupe 2) (Roelof VERHAGE)
Search for sources, information, and or 1 or 2 academic papers.

Session 5: CM, 19-10-18, 10h00 à 11h45 (Christian Montes)
Mechanisms, results and limits of planning in the United States.

Session 6: TD, 26-10-18, 10h00 à 11h45 (groupe 1); 12h00 à 13h45 (groupe 2) (Christian MONTES)
Discussion on problematics and hypotheses.

Session 7: CM, 09-11-18, 10h00 à 11h45 (Christian MONTES)
Planning in an American city: the example of Austin, TX.

Session 8: TD, 16-11-18, 10h00 à 11h45 (groupe 1), 12h00 à 13h45 (groupe 2) (Roelof VERHAGE)
Discussion on the plan and visual choices for the presentation.

Session 9: CM, 23-11-18, 10h00 à 11h45 (Roelof VERHAGE)
“Development planning”: in search of effective planning in the Netherlands.

Session 10: TD, 30-11-18, 10h00 à 11h45 (groupe 1), 12h00 à 13h45 (groupe 2) (Christian MONTES)
Discussion on the plan and visual choices for the presentation.

Session 11: CM, 07-12-18, 10h00 à 11h45 (Roelof VERHAGE)
How do plans work: reflection on the use of plans in territorial development.

Session 12: TD, 14-12-18, 9h30 – 12h00, 13h00-15h30 (Christian MONTES, Roelof VERHAGE)
Student presentations / evaluation

Students are divided into groups of five or six. Each group chooses a planning document or process in an English speaking country. These documents and additional information is available on the websites of the local planning authorities. The group produces a text of 3000-4000 words and a powerpoint presentation of 15 minutes (in English). The text and the presentation present:

 The context of the plan (size of the town or city; geographic and socio-economic situation; status of the local planning authority)
 A description of the aims and objectives of the planning document or process;
 An identification of the different actors that are 1) involved in the elaboration of the document and/or 2) involved in its implementation.
 An analysis of the role of the planning authority, applying the concepts developed during the course.
 A critical reflexion on the implementation and the potential results of the plan.

During the last session, each group presents its findings (the powerpoint presentation) and hands in the text.

Further reading :

Breuillard M and Fraser C (2007) The purpose and process of comparing British and French planning, in Booth P et al (eds) Spatial Planning Systems of Britain and France: A comparative analysis, pp 1-13. Abingdon: Routledge.
Duhr S., Colomb C. and Nadin V. (2010). European Spatial Planning and Territorial Cooperation. London: Routledge.
Cullingworth B (1997), Planning in the USA. Policies, issues and processes. London, Routledge.
Fischer F., J. Forester (eds.) (1993), The argumentative turn in policy analysis and planning, Durham / London: Duke University Press.
Friedman J. (1987), Planning in the public domain: from knowledge to action, Princeton: Princeton University Press
Hall P. (2002), Urban and regional planning, fourth edition, London: Routledge.
Healey P. (1997), Collaborative planning: shaping places in fragmented societies, Basingstoke: Macmillan.
Healey P. (2010), Making better places: the planning project in the 21st century, Palgrave.
Raco M (2005) A step change or a step back? The Thames Gateway and the re-birth of the Urban Development Corporations, Local Economy, 20, 2, pp 141-153
Salet W., A. Thornley, T. Kreukels (2003), Metropolitan governance and spatial planning: comparative case studies of european city regions, London : Spon Press.
Rydin, Y and Thornley A (eds) (2002) Planning in the UK: Agendas for a new millennium, Aldershot: Ashgate

mise à jour le 19 septembre 2018

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