The communicative ideology in spatial planning: some critical reflections based on the Dutch experience

H. Voogd, J. Woltjer

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    Communicative, or collaborative, planning has received a lot of attention recently. Many planners today agree that planning should be a process of facilitating community collaboration for consensus-building. As a consequence, it seems that communicative rationality is becoming more important in modern planning than the conventional instrumental rationality, whose professional approaches are often criticised as being technocratic. In this paper we address the question whether communicative planning is a better framework for protecting values and reaching objectives that have justified planning interventions to this point in society. By using notions of quality and ethics as a framework, we evaluate critically the communicative features of Dutch infrastructure planning. A distinction is made between comments about planning outcomes and comments about consensus-building processes. It is argued that communicative planning could conflict with basic ethical principles of conventional planning. It is concluded that the communicative ideology alone does not meet conventional ethical planning principles any better. This is in line with the ideas of Kaiser et al and other authors that communicative planning must go together with `adaptive' rational planning. Planning discourse should be based on planning intelligence, which consists of gathering, organising, analysing, and disseminating information to stakeholders in the use and development of land.
    Original languageUndefined
    Pages (from-to)835-854
    Number of pages12
    JournalEnvironment and planning. Part B: Planning and design
    Issue number6
    Publication statusPublished - 1999


    • METIS-100230
    • IR-1705

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