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Planning and values. Subjective understanding in the planmaking process

Cook, Stephen Beseler; (1996) Planning and values. Subjective understanding in the planmaking process. Masters thesis (M.Phil), UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Recent critiques of planning have highlighted the limitations of objective ways of understanding contemporary society. Two bodies of theory, postmodernism and deep ecology, are introduced as potential keys to a wider, more subjective understanding in and of planning. Postmodernism is concerned with the variability of meaning and interpretation in the texts of planning, and thereby denies totalising stances. Deep ecology begins with a rejection of subject-object relationships to nature, leading to a concern with the role and expression of deeply held values in society. The research consisted of a case study of the emerging Unitary Development Plan of the London Borough of Newham. Textual analysis, in-depth semistructured interviews and a short survey were used to consider the role of values in the plan, and to see how the plan communicates with its multiple audiences. Changes in substance and communicative style are also analysed by comparison with the borough's previous local plans, written in the 1980s. The research found that deeply held values are embodied within the plan, but that they are not generally subjected to discussion either among officers or councillors, or with outside objectors. The research also found that there had been a shift in the communicative work of the plan from local residents to potential developers of the borough's extensive derelict land. While the contestability of the Newham UDP has been much greater than for previous plans, the participation of the local residents has fallen significantly. This finding supports the conclusion of other authors that the planning system operates within the discourse of the development community; it is primarily their interests which are served by the narrow remit of land use considerations in the planning system.

Type: Thesis (Masters)
Qualification: M.Phil
Title: Planning and values. Subjective understanding in the planmaking process
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: Thesis digitised by ProQuest.
Keywords: Philosophy, religion and theology; Planmaking process; Subjective understanding
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10106149
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