There is an emerging sense, especially among young practitioners and scholars, that the planning field has lost its agency to incite positive change in our cities and regions.
The perceived trivialization of the planning profession originates in large part from a loss of professional identity, authority, and vision beginning with democratic reform movements in the 1960s and 1970s. Many argue that rather than formulators and implementers of forward-thinking plans, the profession is now reduced to administering code and facilitating process. Others contend that the field’s redefined role gives it new legitimacy to tackle to pressing challenges of the 21st century. This issue of Carolina Planning explores the relevancy and role of the planning profession through a rich array of analyses, case studies, and commentary.
The theme for this issue was inspired by UNC-Chapel Hill planning Professor Thomas J. Campanella, who captured the aforementioned zeitgeist of the field last summer in his powerful essay entitled: “Jane Jacobs and the Death and Life of American Planning”. No longer capable of “bringing about more just, sustainable, healthful, efficient and beautiful cities”, he argues that the blame for the current state of the planning field rests squarely at the feet of Jane Jacobs and her contemporaries. Campanella identifies three products of this adverse legacy: a) the abandonment of physical design as the disciplinary center of the planning field, b) the prioritization of public participation over professional judgment, and c) the loss of professional courage and vision.
To learn more about this issue: Carolina Planning Journal