Mark H. Purcell
Researchable issues and research methodology. Discussion and critique of selected pieces of recent research work. Presentation and critique of research proposed by members of the seminar. Prerequisite: master's degree or equivalent in a planning discipline.
"The ideas of economists and political philosophers, both when they are right and when they are wrong, are more powerful than is commonly understood. Indeed the world is ruled by little else. Practical men, who believe themselves to be quite exempt from any intellectual influence, are usually the slaves of some defunct economist. Madmen in authority who hear voices in the air, are distilling their frenzy from some academic scribbler of a few years back. I am sure that the power of vested interests is vastly exaggerated compared with the gradual encroachment of ideas." --John Maynard Keynes, 1936
"Society's course will be changed only by a change in ideas. First you must reach the intellectuals, the teachers and writers, with reasoned argument. It will be their influence on society which will prevail, and the politicians will follow." --Friedrich Hayek, 1954
Planning theory concerns itself with the ideas of planning. If, as Keynes and Hayek argue, ideas are indispensible to action, if every plan or project is underlain--and even driven by--ideas, then it is essential for all planners to be critically literate in planning theory. Being literate involves seriously examining and truly understanding the ideas and arguments of important theorists. Being critical means subjecting those ideas and arguments to sustained scrutiny, both from your own perspective, and from the perspectives of other planning theorists. The principal goal of this course is to develop your critical literacy in planning theory.
Student learning goals
General method of instruction
Graduate seminar discussion.
Class assignments and grading
Readings Short writing on the reading Substantial paper