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Urban Planning Theory

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Since urban planning’s origin, the definition of the profession’s specific role has been subject of an enduring theoretical debate. Academics like Charles Haar, Melvin Webber, David Lindblom and Paul Davidoff have exposed valuable approaches. Unfortunately, all may be challenged as they face diverse complications placed on real-world settings. Although the lack of consensus around planner’s role could be considered a negative feature for the discipline’s credibility and recognition, I consider that this absence is a valuable peculiarity that reveals one of its most powerful qualities: versatility. As I will discuss on the following paragraphs, Haar, Webber, Lindblom and Davidoff’s theories display planner’s ability to transform its identity…show more content…
In this perspective, planners would serve as neutral guardians of the set of rules that would guide public interest to urban reality, supported by the collected data that framed a city’s resources, possibilities, and needs. Opposition to this approach criticized practice evidenced equally impossible to accomplish a plan’s final goals as to guarantee planners’ lack of interests and proclivities. However, I would encourage this approach’s value must be examined as an answer to a context of urban legal ambiguity in which city planning is just setting its foundations. Since municipalities lacked instruments to guide its city’s general development, “Haar made the case for the master plan, showing how it ought to serve as an impermanent constitution, guiding all land use regulation” . We must recognize planner’s role is shaped to validate this comprehensive vision’s suitability, considering their knowledge and objective analysis of the information would allow them to protect the city, and its people, against arbitrariness by guaranteeing clear rules and equal protection under the law. This ideal would serve as the basis for…show more content…
Although Webber and Haar share their support for a holistic approach to city’s problems and opportunities, this vision positions planners as a societal leader. As the author expresses, “The city planner’s realistic idealism, his orientation to the whole city, and his focus upon future conditions have placed him in a position of intellectual leadership” . Moreover, his technical competence would prepare them to hold responsibility not only on the physical environment, but also as an agent of human welfare. Nevertheless, criticisms quickly appeared questioning the reliability of an independent and egalitarian leadership considering it could be limited by its context’s power structures or influenced by his own system of values. Regardless of this refutation, I consider Webber’s approach is equally valuable as it provides a vision that answers to the discipline’s evolution. Following cities development, planners’ intellectual capacities and techniques gained greater relevance and recognition, allowing to overcome the concerns for professionalization and recognize the city’s interrelated spatial, social, economic and political dimensions. This vision’s role evidence’s the discipline’s capacity to adjust according to new reality demands and requirements, taking advantage of its multidisciplinary
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