Introduction to RPD*6240

RPD*6240 Planning and Development Theory is intended to introduce students to some of the main streams of planning theory; to invite them to reflect upon the relationship between planning theory,planning practice, and planning research; and to help them formulate a research project in planning that has a firm theoretical foundation.
Planning theory includes dense and difficult literature. There can be a significant gap between what planning theorists consider important and what planning practitioners consider important for planning practice. The course will introduce you to a variety of theoretical “lenses” through which planning is viewed. The lens is an instrument which both clarifies and distorts aspects of a situation. Whether a lens is made for use in a microscope - to make the minute more visible - or in a telescope - to make the large and distant more visible – the lens helps bring into focus aspects of a situation that it would otherwise be difficult or impossible to see. Image But no lens brings all aspects of a situation into focus at the same time. Lenses have the capacity to distort as well as clarify, to hide as well as expose. It is thus not really appropriate to ask whether a theory is “true” or “false”. It is more appropriate to ask whether and how a theory illuminates a specific situation and allows you to see it more clearly. Do the concepts, propositions, models, frameworks, and paradigms that constitute a planning theory provide a useful set of tools for the problem under consideration? What do they bring into focus? What do they leave out of view? This course provides important conceptual foundations for Student's overall program in rural planning and development.