Urban Planning Theory and Praxis: Comparative-Historical Origins and Applications

This course takes as its point of departure the historical and national origins of planning as a discipline, assesses its evolution over time and across developmental contexts, and situates our understanding of what has come to constitute “planning theory” in a deeper understanding of the political, economic, and social specificities and constraints on planning action. In understanding what might be referred to as planning praxis, we not only examine those social structures and economic as well as political power relations that enable or constrain preference for certain policies and processes of decision-making. We also examine the history of ideas about cities, debates over how the built environment should be designed and/or governed, and address longstanding conflicts over who should have the legitimacy or authority to undertake such decisions. The time span that we examine during this course begins in the late-19th and early 20th century and ends in the contemporary era.