Planning in theory, theory in planning 2

Type: Paper
Sponsor Groups:
Poster #:
Day: 4/6/2019
Start / End Time: 3:05 PM / 4:45 PM (MDT)
Room: Ambassador Ballroom, Omni, West
Organizers: Phil Jones, Charles Corwin, Emmanuel Frimpong Boamah
Chairs: Charles Corwin


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 Emmanuel Frimpong Boamah*, SUNY - Buffalo, Planning the Postcolony: Deconstructing the Institutions of Planning in Ghana 20 3:05 PM
Presenter Claire Tollis*, Transport, Mobility & City Research Unit, Alain L'HOSTIS, Transport, Mobility & City Research Unit, Can a “scholar-mobilizer” approach significantly contribute to implementing the mobility transition? An experiment with Loos-en-Gohelle inhabitants (Northern France). 20 3:25 PM
Presenter Neville Mars*, Dynamic City Foundation, Shanghai, Fostering Divergent Urban Evolution in China 20 3:45 PM
Presenter Jouni Hakli*, Tampere University, Kirsi P Kallio, Tampere University, Olli Ruokolainen, Tampere University, A missing citizen? Issue-based citizenship in city-regional planning 20 4:05 PM

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