New Commentary: ‘The Death and Life of Collaborative Planning Theory’

I recently published a commentary in the open access journal Urban Planning, which will appear in a forthcoming special issue on “Paradigm Shifts in Urban Planning.” The commentary’s title is a reference to Jane Jacobs’s famous book, and while several articles have used a similar formulation, I realized only after the article went to press that I was probably inspired by my colleague Robert Fishman’s excellent book chapter, “The Death and Life of American Regional Planning,” which appeared in the 2000 Brookings Institution Press book Reflections on Regionalism.

This is not the first time I have published in an open access journal — my first peer reviewed article appeared in the URISA Journal — and Urban Planning seems to be off to a good start providing a high quality, open scholarly forum for our field.

Here’s the abstract:

It has been over 20 years since Judith Innes proclaimed communicative action to be the “emerging paradigm” for planning theory, a theoretical perspective which has been developed into what is known as collaborative planning theory (CPT). With planning theory shifting to a new generation of scholars, this commentary considers the fate of this intellectual movement within planning. CPT never achieved the paradigmatic status its advocates desired because of its internal diversity and limited scope. However, its useful combination of analytical and normative insights is attracting the interest of a new generation of researchers, who are subjecting it to rigorous empirical testing and addressing longstanding theoretical weaknesses. Like Jane Jacob’s classic book the Death and Life of Great American Cities, CPT has made an enduring impact on planning theory, even as has failed to achieve a total revolution in thinking.

Read the commentary: The Death and Life of Collaborative Planning Theory (open access)

Author: Rob Goodspeed