Dialogical Planning in a Fragmented Society: Critically Liberal, Pragmatic, Incremental

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Center For Urban Policy Research, 2006 - Political Science - 350 pages
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The culmination of a critical study of neo-pragmatism philosophy and its application to planning, Dialogical Planning in a Fragmented Society begins with philosopher Stanley M. Stein's examination of neo-pragmatism and his thoughts on how it can be useful in the field of environmental design—specifically, how it can be applied to planning procedures and problems.

Neo-pragmatism is an approach that has been, in the past, best expressed or implied in the writing of Hilary Putnam, Richard Rorty, and, in particular, Donald Davidson, John Rawls, and Ludwig Wittgenstein. Thomas L. Harper furthers this tradition by providing the context for this theoretical application from his academic background in economics and management as well as his practical experience with political decision-making processes, community planning, and economic development.

The result is a fresh synthesis of ideas—a new approach to thinking about planning theory and its implications for, and relationship with, practice. Philosopher Michael Walzer has asserted that "philosophy reflects and articulates the political culture of its time, and politics presents and enacts the arguments of philosophy." Similarly, the authors view planning theory as planning reflected upon in tranquility, away from the tumult of battle, and planning practice as planning theory acted out in the confusion of the trenches. Each changes the other in a dynamic way, and the authors demonstrate the intimate and inextricable link between them.

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About the author (2006)

Thomas L. Harper is a professor in the planning program of the Faculty of Environmental Design, University of Calgary. He served on the editorial boards of the Journal of Planning Education and Research, the biennial Dialogues in Urban and Regional Planning, and the annual Canadian Policy and Planning. A member of the Canadian Institute of Planners, he has consulted for government, community, and private-sector clients and has served on boards and committees for numerous community, social service, educational, and church organiations.

Stanley M. Stein is professor emeritus in environmental design, University of Calgary. In collaboration with Thomas Harper, he has published widely on the practical implications of philosophical and ethical aspects of planning theory, the ethical and economic justifications of government intervention, environmental ethics, and social institutions. In collaboration with other colleagues, he has published work on theories of aesthetics and design as well as architecture theory. Stein served on the editorial board of the Journal of Planning Education and Research. 

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