Town Planning Review

Centenary paper: The evolution of planning as an academic discipline

Town Planning Review (2010), 81, (6), 613–646.

Abstract

As British planning education celebrates its centenary, there remain unresolved questions about its distinct disciplinary identity. This paper argues that although planning has evolved into an academic discipline in institutional terms, its intellectual underpinning has remained ill-defined. Periodic changes to planning education have neglected the epistemic aspects of the discipline and the clarification of its distinct identity. Based on a critical review of the evolution of the discipline, structured under five distinct phases, the paper concludes that ambiguity about the nature of planning knowledge may lead to the weakening of its position as a distinct academic discipline. Three key areas are identified as the focus for future debate: space as the discipline's substantive object of enquiry, the nature of integrative knowledge, and the interface between knowledge and action.

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Davoudi, Simin

Pendlebury, John