Professional fields such as urban planning draw upon diverse philosophical and social science theories to frame and organize their scholarship and practice. Scholars of urban processes and problems must be conversant in the theoretical discourses that form the foundation for research, practice and action in the planning field. What constitutes valid knowledge? On what terms are theory and knowledge used to inform planning practice and actions? Should planning theorists focus their attention on improving the planning ‘process? Or should they instead develop normative visions for the ‘good city?’
The purpose of this course is to give doctoral students in planning a deeper understanding of the intellectual history, paradigmatic structure and contemporary debates in the field of planning theory. Students will develop the critical knowledge and skills to rigorously apply theory in their own research and pedagogy. Most importantly, the class will test the proposition that theory is useful, interesting, and fun!
This is a reading seminar. Assignments will emphasize original analyses and synthesis of the readings and related theoretical propositions. Students will be responsible for presentations of key concepts in class and for facilitating discussion and debate of theoretical propositions and frameworks with fellow students.