Planning Theory for Environmentally Sustainable Planning
AbstractAttitudes to land use planning have been changing significantly over the past decade, reflecting a widening concern regarding environmental sustainability. Planning theory is still struggling to respond to these claims and to incorporate environmental concerns. The traditional technocratic rational planning approach (notwithstanding its claims to comprehensiveness) is not only clearly inadequate, but exacerbates the problem. However, we argue that planning theory does not need what deep ecology and bio-egalitarian approaches recommend: a Kuhnian radical paradigm shift and a new ultimate moral principle. We critique this radical position on the grounds that it cannot claim to be ethical, it can not be socially legitimated, and thus, it will not achieve the desired end of an environmentally sustainable world. We argue that what planning theory does need to deal with the challenge of sustainability is a more moderate neo-pragmatic/incremental approach, reflectively chosen principles, a normative ethical basis for justification, and an authentic moral vision. These desiderata can be readily incorporated into the emerging 'communicative action' paradigm, making it the most promising response to the environmental challenge.
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