URSP 605 Planning History and Theory



Faculty Assigned
Tu 4:00pm - 6:40pm (ARC 1105)


Catalog Description

This course is structured as an intellectual history of the planning field. We focus on key historical conjunctures in U.S. history and Anglo-American planning traditions. By studying planning thought in its historical context, we cultivate an appreciation for the ways in which planning is a reflection of societal values, our collective definitions of problems of place, and normative visions of the future. Theory is useful because it provides frameworks to make visible the otherwise-invisible expectations, assumptions, and judgments that shape our professional norms, decisions, and actions. In this way, the course aims to cultivate your skills as to be a “reflective practitioner,” who is attentive to these tacit theories that you and others carry. Understanding planning practice and theory as culturally- and collectively-constructed challenges us to consider the ways that historic and current inequities in the distribution of power shape our places. What are the appropriate roles of government, non-governmental organizations, market actors, and individuals? How is planning expertise a reflection of or a force against the inequitable distribution of power? How does planning incorporate ideas of racial and social justice? We will examine these and other questions by reading seminal texts and learning about critical moments in the development of the field of planning. The goal is to place our current practice in its historical and intellectual context. To that end, each week we will identify the ways that the traces of historical thought are evident in contemporary practice.