PROGRESS IN GEOGRAPHY ›› 2013, Vol. 32 ›› Issue (10): 1490-1500.doi: 10.11820/dlkxjz.2013.10.007

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Theoretical evolution of modern land use planning

WANG Xiangdong1, LIU Weidong2   

  1. 1. College of Management, Lanzhou University, Lanzhou 730000, China;
    2. College of Public Administration, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou 310029, China
  • Received:2013-05-01 Revised:2013-08-01 Online:2013-10-25 Published:2013-10-24

Abstract: Since the birth of modern planning in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, numerous planning theories have emerged. Despite that they have fundamental and guiding significance for planning research and practice, it is very difficult to understand and master these planning theories perfectly, due to the diversity and complexity of related theories in the literature. Though related papers already exit, there are serious shortcomings and deficiencies in the studies on this issue. For example, few researches have given comprehensive review of modern planning theories both domestically and internationally. This paper is an effective effort to overcome the obstacles and shortfalls, to help understand and master modern planning theories. In order to do this, by thoroughly combing through both domestic and foreign literature, modern planning theories are explored and analyzed precisely and sequentially. The history of modern planning theories can be divided into four periods, as discussed in four parts of this paper, involving many theoretical factions. The background, ideas, and influences of each theoretical faction are inspected carefully. Physical planning theory and Marxist planning theory before 1950s are discussed at first. Then, in the second part, the 1960s' comprehensive rational planning theory, incremental planning theory, humanist planning theory, and neoliberalism planning theory are reviewed. After that, Neo-Marxist planning theory and neoliberalism planning theory between 1970s and 1980s are commented briefly. At last, in the fourth part, the new emerging theories after 1990s, including communicational planning theory, sustainable planning theory, neo-institutional planning theory, and public policy planning theory are analyzed. Thus, basically all major theoretical factions of modern planning are covered. In addition, some low-impact theories are also discussed, such as mixed scanning methods, action planning theory, and negative planning theory, et al. As the theories emerged one after another, at the same time a wealth of literature has been published. Through the above review of modern planning theories, we can see that these emerging theoretical factions have different perspectives and concerns, such as substantive, procedural, or essential. There are also complex relations between them. For example, Marxist or neo-institutional planning theory is innovational, communicational planning theory is the inheritance of humanist planning theory, incremental planning theory is rebellious against comprehensive rational planning theory, and humanist planning theory is supplemental to comprehensive rational planning theory. We know that modern planning theories have absorbed multi-disciplinary knowledge, involving architectonics, politics, economics, geography, systematics, environmental science, urban studies, and so on. Above that, modern planning theories are impacted greatly by their own practice and the time, showing significant stage-specific characteristics. We also see that, compared to the U.S. and Europe, the Chinese scholars are lagged behind in terms of the contributions to modern planning theories. Greater efforts should be made by Chinese scholars to catch up in the future.

Key words: land use planning, review, theoretical evolution