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2016 - 2017 - S6 - CM - TD - Theory and practice of planning

Enseignants : Christian MONTES, Roelof VERHAGE

Résumé en français
Dispensé en anglais, ce cours porte sur les théories de l’aménagement, de l’urbanisme et du spatial planning telles qu’elles ont été développées et telles qu’elles sont appliquées en France et à l’étranger. La compréhension des processus d’aménagement et de l’intervention sur l’espace, ainsi que des « espaces aménagés » qui en résultent, est nourrie de différents exemples Européens et nord américains notamment.

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 different countries: France, the United Kingdom, the United States, the Netherlands.

The course is organised in twelve sessions of two hours each.

Session 1 : CM, 25-01-17, 14h00 à 15h45 (Roelof VERHAGE)
Introduction to planning theory. Definition of planning. Identification of different types of planning and short presentation of their main characteristics.

Session 2 : CM, 01-02-17, 14h00 à 15h45 (Christian MONTES)
Technical – rational planning: mechanisms, results and limits through the example of the French aménagement du territoire.

Session 3
: CM, 08-02-17, 14h00 à 15h45 (Roelof VERHAGE)
Introduction to the notion of planning at different scales: national, regional, city-region, city, neighbourhood, project; Introduction of the roles and functions of plans.

Session 4 : CM, 15-02-17, 14h00 à 15h45 (Christian MONTES)
Technical – rational planning: mechanisms, results and limits through experiences in the United States.

Session 5 : CM, 01-03-17, 14h00 à 15h45 (Roelof VERHAGE)
Planning in the Netherlands (1): History of planning in the Netherlands. Institutional organisation and the planning system. Current issues.

Session 6
: CM, 08-03-17, 14h00 à 15h45 (Christian Montes)
Technical – rational planning: mechanisms, results and limits through experiences in the United States.

Session 7 : TD, 15-03-17, 14h00 à 15h45 (groupe 1), 16h00-17h45 (groupe 2) (Christian MONTES)
The development of the Part-Dieu area in Lyon: illustration of the evolution of urban planning in France from 1970s to 2000s

Session 8
: TD, 22-03-17, 14h00 à 15h45 (groupe 1), 16h00 à 17h45 (groupe 2) (Roelof VERHAGE)
Planning in the Netherlands (2): Examples of planning in Amsterdam – Urban Renewal Bijlmermeer, Re-development Zuidelijke IJ-Oevers. Results and limitations.

Session 9
: TD, 29-03-17, 14h00 à 15h45 (groupe 1), 16h00 à 17h45 (groupe 2) (Christian MONTES)
Recent planning experiences: urban development in relation to the London Olympics in 2012.

Session 10 : TD, 05-04-17, 14h00 à 15h45 (groupe 1), 16h00 à 17h45 (groupe 2) (Roelof VERHAGE)
Institutional organisation and the planning system in the UK. Planning reforms in 2011: ‘Big Society’ and ‘Localism’. Introduction to collaborative planning.

Session 11 : TD, 12-04-17, 14h00 à 15h45 (groupe 1), 16h00 à 17h45 (groupe 2) (Christian MONTES)
Student presentations / evaluation

Session 12
: TD, 26-04-17, 14h00 à 15h45 (groupe 1), 16h00 à 17h45 (groupe 2) (Roelof VERHAGE)
Student presentations / evaluation


Students are divided into groups of five. 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 3000-5000 words and a powerpoint presentation of 15-20 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.


The following references are provided as a Reader for the course (files in pdf format). Please read each text before the relevant class. Some will be used explicitly in the class, others will provide important contextual reading so that you get the most out of the class.

Session 1
Healey P. (2010) ‘The Planning Project’ from Making Better Places: The Planning Project in the 21st Century, Basingstoke: Palgrave

Session 2
HALBERT L., 2006, "The Polycentric City Region That Never Was: The Paris Agglomeration, Bassin Parisien and Spatial Planning Strategies in France", pp. 184-193, in HALBERT L., CONVERY F.,
THIERSTEIN A., 2006, "Reflections on The Polycentric Metropolis", Built Environment, 32(2)

Session 3
Hopkins L (2001) ‘How Plans Work’ from Urban Development, The Logic of Making Plans, Washington DC: Island Press

Session 4

Pallagst, Karina M., 2009, Shrinking Cities in the United States of America: Three Cases, Three Planning Stories, UC Berkeley

Session 5

Needham, B. (2007), Setting the Scene: The underlying land and the underlying attitudes, from Dutch land use planning: planning and managing the land use in the Netherlands, the principles and the practice, Den Haag: SDU Uitgevers

Session 6
Wilson, S., Hutson, M. and Mujahid, M., 2008, How Planning and Zoning Contribute to Inequitable Development, Neighborhood Health, and Environmental Injustice, ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE, Volume 1, Number 4.

Session 7

Gallet ,R, 2015, Redeveloping Lyon Part-Dieu. Innovative construction sites management in a dense urban area.

Session 8
Karadimitriou, N, C. De Magalhaes, R. Verhage (2013), Dutch Case Studies, in: Planning, Risk and property development: Urban regeneration in England, France and the Netherlands, London: Routledge

Session 9
Raco, M., 2014, Delivering Flagship Projects in an Era of Regulatory Capitalism: State-led Privatization and the London Olympics 2012, IJURR, 38(1), 176-197.

Session 10
Allmendinger P and Haughton G (2011) Challenging Localism, Town and Country Planning, July/August 2011, pp 314-317

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.
Burg A. van der, F. Dieleman (2004), Dutch urbanisation policies: from ‘compact city’ to ‘urban network’. Tijdschrift voor Economische en Sociale Geografie 95, (1), pp. 108–116.
Cullingworth, B., Caves, N., 2013 (4th edition), Planning in the USA. Policies, Issues and Processes, London, Routledge.
Duhr, S., Colomb, C. et Nadin, V. (2010). European Spatial Planning and Territorial Cooperation. 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.
Lambregts B., W. Zonneveld (2004), From Randstad to Deltametropolis: changing attitudes towards the scattered metropolis, European Planning Studies, vol. 12, n° 3, pp. 299-321
Needham, B. (2007), Dutch land use planning: planning and managing the land use in the Netherlands, the principles and the practice, Den Haag: SDU Uitgevers
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, pps 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 15 novembre 2017

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