The University of Texas at Austin School of Architecture

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fall 2008

CRP 980X:
Planning History and Theory

Elizabeth Mueller

Course Description

This course is required for all students enrolled in the Master's degree program in Community and Regional Planning. It is the first part of a three-semester sequence that will introduce you to planning principles and practice (the second semester focuses on planning methods, and the third semester is an integrative planning workshop). The goal of this first course is to help you understand the evolution of urban and regional planning and the changing concepts that have guided this evolution.

In Western democratic societies, planners often find themselves in an ambivalent role amongst many other players in the sphere of urban development and governance. Planners are duty bound to serve the "public interest", be concerned with long-range consequences of current actions, and understand the complex interconnections between economics, transportation, environment, land use, social equity, infrastructure, etc. At the same time, other powerful political and market processes are at work that often confound these duties for good or ill. Planners have been often criticized throughout the history of their profession and less often praised, and yet the need for planning has consistently been recognized. In studying the history of planning, students will understand the development of the dynamic tension between planning and democracy, the various responses that have been proposed, and planning failures and successes. Within this historical context, we will explore the development of and debates surrounding planning theory, by which we mean those concepts that guide how planners work and what we think constitutes "good" planning. Those ideas have changed markedly in some ways over time but in other ways have been surprisingly consistent. Our job will be to examine them and bring them out into the open for discussion and critique.

We will focus primarily on American planning history, but will pay some attention to planning in other countries.

For more details about course content and requirements visit the course website: https://webspace.utexas.edu/ejm1209/CRP980x/