Theories of planning

Planning theory is generally called procedural because it generally concerns itself with the process through which planning occurs and whether or not that process is valid. Lane (2005) traces the intellectual history through its different procedural approaches, especially as they relate to public participation. He calls the first type of blueprint planning. What Lane calls blueprint planning is that which is associated with the early planning thinkers like Ebenezer Howard and Patrick Geddes. Basically, it involved planning for outcomes. The planner has an end-state in mind (i.e., Howards garden city) and seeks to achieve that end-state through high levels of codification and control. This model provides essentially no outlet for public participation, except possibly voting against those implementing this planning strategy when they come up for election.[36] This type of planning has left two important legacies on contemporary practice: the idea that planning is an apolitical activity and the idea that there is a single, unified public interest.[37] After, the fall of blueprint planning in the late 1950s and early 1960s, the synoptic model began to emerge as a dominant force in planning. Lane (2005) describes synoptic planning as having four central elements: "(1) an enhanced emphasis on the specification of goals and targets; (2) an emphasis on quantitative analysis and predication of the environment; (3) a concern to identify and evaluate alternative policy options; and (4) the evaluation of means against ends (page 289)."[36] Public participation was first introduced into this model and it was generally integrated into the system process described above. However, the problem was that the idea of a single public interest still dominated attitudes, effectively devaluing the importance of participation because it suggests the idea that the public interest is relative y easy to find and only requires the most minimal form of participation.[36] Blueprint and synoptic planning both employ what is called the rational paradigm of planning. The rational model is perhaps the most widely accepted model among planning practitioners and scholars, and is considered by many to be the orthodox view of planning. As its name clearly suggests, the goal of the rational model is make planning as rational and systematic as possible. Proponents of this paradigm would generally come up with a list of steps that the planning process can be at least relatively neatly sorted out into and that planning practitioners should go through in order when setting out to plan in virtually any area. As noted above, this paradigm has clear implications for public involvement in planning decisions.[36] Beginning in the late 1950s and early1960s, critiques of the rational paradigm began to emerge and formed into several different schools of planning thought. The first of these schools is Linbloms incrementalism. Lindblom describes planning as muddling through and thought that practical planning required decisions to be made incrementally. This incremental approach meant choosing from small number of policy approaches that can only have a small number consequences and are firmly bounded by reality, constantly adjusting the objectives of the planning process and using multiple analyses and evaluations.[38] Lane (2005) explains the public involvement implications of this philosophy. Though this perspective of planning could be considered a large step forward in that it recognizes that there are number of public interests and because it provides room for the planning process to de less centralized and incorporate the voices other than those of planners, it in practice would only allow for the public to involved in a minimal, more reactive rather than proactive way.[36]