New Lecture: Planning and design cultures and roles

Planning and design cultures and roles

There is no such thing as planning or design that is fixed and the same everywhere and the existence of The Landscape Architect or The Planner can easily revealed to be a myth, once we become more reflexive. Planning and designing does not necessarily need actors that are labelled planners or designers and it does not necessarily rely on plans. This might sound like a depressing statement for planning and design students, but don’t worry. Roles and identities of actors in society, in governance, in planning are always constituted within that society and never universal, never everywhere the same, and they are constantly evolving. This opens the door for other ways of understanding and analysing the roles of planners and designers and their plans and designs in society. We will argue that the roles of planners, designers depend on the particular context, time, place and planning culture in which these roles are constructed. Planners or designers in the USA are likely to be different from planners and designers in many European welfare states or the communist-capitalist societies of the ‘Far East’. Sometimes the role and identities of subjects labelled planners or urbanists or designers differ, sometimes roles and identities overlap but the labels differ too: ‘I am not a planner, I am a landscape architect!’ ‘Ok fine, good for you, but we will only hire urbanists’. The roles of plans and designs are just as contingent in time and place as the roles of the planners and designer producing them. Sometimes, in some places, piles of plans and designs are made by many, but they are never ‘realised’ or ‘implemented’. Elsewhere planners hardly make any plans but mainly try to change and adapt the legal system, as a form of planning. To understand the roles of planners, plans, designs, designers it is helps you to become a context sensitive observer that constantly reflects on the changing roles, including your own, without taking them for granted a priori.

Key words: roles of designers (like landscape architects) and planners | subject formation | planning cultures |

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