Assembling The Future: The Role Of Transactive Planning Theory In Generating Alternative Urban Strategies

Pascolo, Elena (2002). Assembling The Future: The Role Of Transactive Planning Theory In Generating Alternative Urban Strategies. MPhil thesis The Open University.



Conditions of uncertainty, rapid change and heightened social, economic and spatial inequalities are symptomatic of an Increasingly Internationalised and urbanised world system. These issues correspond to the emergence of an urban problematic that requires the requalification of planning’s tools and techniques. Within this context: How does planning go about assembling the future?

The Mont Fleur civic scenarios undertaken in South Africa (1991-1992), the Toekomstverkenningen Amsterdam (1998-1999), and the Bishopsgate Methodology Statement proposed for an inner-city development site in London (2002), are presented as illustrative examples of how, planning connects knowledge to action in the public domain, translates complexity, deals with the future; Do the tools and processes used in the examples, extend or limit the possibility of alternative urban strategies?

These questions, are a starting point from which to explore John Friedmann’s theory on Transactive Planning (1973). This theory is defined as a normative response to improving the practice of plannirig through a dialogical process that combines various forms of technical and experiential knowledge, through which a deeper understanding of issues surrounding a particular problem, is achieved. Within the present research framework. Transactive Planning is used to formulate the principles, tools and techniques of an approach corresponding to the conditions of an urban problematic.

The final question: ‘What kind of future do we want to assemble?” opens the discussion towards considering the role, not only of Transactive Planning, but of an urban imaginary as a way of rephrasing the urban problematic. The endgame is to refunction the notion of the future, not as “uncertainty” that has to be resolved, but as a creative process that generates innovative urban strategies.

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