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Crisis of legitimation

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2
Points
0
I am currently undertaking research for my MPhil in Town and Country Planning, a the Barlett School of Planning at University College London (England). The title of my thesis is, "A crisis of legitimation in the planning profession: rhetoric, reality and response". I would be extremely interested in any comments/views on what should be done, if anything, to boost the image of the profession and the planner.
 

mike gurnee

Cyburbian
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3,066
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30
In graduate school a generation ago we phrased the issue as "Is planning an art or a science?" It is both, or sometimes either. Can you wear two hats simultaneously, or just one at a time? It is an art when obtaining consensus on issues, goals and objectives. It is a science when applying the learned skills to the project. It is combined when we focus the issues, articulate the public desires, and provide alternative solutions. Some people are comfortable wearing both hats, some are not. We have to find our own niche and comfort level. And as Lee mentioned, somtimes it depends on what kind of day it is.
 

Lee Nellis

Cyburbian
Messages
1,371
Points
28
I have two quite different answers to your query, depending on which day you ask. On certain days, I am not sure planning is a profession. It is a function that has to be filled in different organizations, and a function I am happy to help with. But it seems to me that in the most successful efforts, planners function as an organizers and, perhaps, catalysts, and that many people, from many backgrounds, can and do play that role just as well as most people trained in planning. I also think that planner who successfully function in this role have few image problems, regardless of broader problems planning and planners may face in presenting themselves.
On other days, I think that planning is a unique body of knowledge, and that it should be recognized as a profession. These are generally days when I am about to scream over a lack of foresight or comprehensiveness in some decision. If they had just listened ...

Overall, I suspect that planners should make peace with a role of organizing and educating, rather prescribing things based on our professional expertise. I also suspect (in my own mind, I KNOW) that we are far better promoting causes to which we as planners contribute -- conservation or social equity -- rather than our own image.
 
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