Planning in theory, theory in planning 1

Type: Paper
Sponsor Groups:
Poster #:
Day: 4/6/2019
Start / End Time: 1:10 PM / 2:50 PM (Eastern Standard Time)
Room: Ambassador Ballroom, Omni, West
Organizers: Phil Jones, Charles Corwin, Emmanuel Frimpong Boamah
Chairs: Phil Jones


Planning is a discipline in tension. Its origins are both in the pragmatic practice of delivering material transformation and in utopian theories of how to build better cities. For some time, it has been argued that the divide between theory and practice in planning has been growing – particularly the gap between academics and practitioners. In part this is driven by the kinds of metrics of research excellence that to which planning schools in the global north are subjected, rewarding theoretical nuance above practical engagement (Frank, 2006).

Theoretical frames can seem far removed from the day-to-day realities of putting together land use plans, running engagement events in community halls and negotiating with developers. Furthermore, there are well aired questions around how planning theories from the global north continue to be taught to practitioners working in the global south, with attendant issues of colonialism (e.g. Watson, 2002). In this session we seek to explore how theory can more productively engage with the practice of planning, both in the global north and south.

We welcome conceptual and/or empirical papers that examine any of the following issues :
• Beyond the usual suspects: applying theory from other disciplines
• Northern theory in southern contexts, southern theory in the north
• Connecting theory and practice in planning education
• The scholar as practitioner
• Bringing theory to planning methodologies
• Decolonizing planning theories and methodologies
• Southern methodologies
• Planning professionalism and ethics in the south
• Critical praxis in planning pedagogy
• Insurgent planning – (de)colonization of planning theory (Miraftab, 2009)
• Knowledge co-production in practice


Frank, A I 2006 Three decades of thought on planning education. Journal of Planning Literature 21;1 15-67.

Miraftab, F 2009 Insurgent planning: Situating radical planning in the global south. Planning Theory 8;1 32-50.

Watson, V 2002 The usefulness of normative planning theories in the context of sub-Saharan Africa. Planning Theory 1;1 27-52.


Type Details Minutes Start Time
Presenter Raksha Vasudevan*, University of Texas - Austin, Theorizing through Talking and Drawing: Lessons from Ethnographic Fieldwork with Young People in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic 20 1:10 PM
Presenter Phil Jones*, University of Birmingham, Lauren Andres, University of Birmingham, Lorena Melgaco Silva Marques, University of Birmingham, Stuart Denoon-Stevens, University of the Free State, When strategies collide: de Certeau and South African planning 20 1:30 PM
Presenter Charles Corwin*, , Use of deep mapping for co-production of knowledges in community development: Lessons from cover cropping in Illinois 20 1:50 PM
Presenter Sarah Gelbard*, McGill University School of Urban Planning, No future. Punk planning, agonistics, and politics of exclusion 20 2:10 PM
Presenter Alexandra Appelbaum*, University of California, Berkeley and University of the Witwatersrand, The Pothole Pandemic: South African exceptionalism, modernity and state failure for the middle class 20 2:30 PM

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