chapter  3
30 Pages

She told ya fun names!

It is much more difficult to explain land uses than monorational theories assume. Isolated land uses as well as urban and regional patterns often appear unambiguous when, in fact, they pose riddles. Like the title of this chapter, land uses have to be decoded carefully. Policymakers base their land policy proposals on their conviction-or, at least, hope-that the implementation of their proposal will improve the use of land. Their conviction implies a causality statement (C→E) saying that land policy causes better land uses. How can planners and other policymakers, torn between multitude and monorationality, make such a statement? Planning and land policy surely cannot rely on just one strategy of perceiving and solving land use problems (Figure 8, p. 53). Rather, planners and other policymakers have to understand the multitude of causes of diverse land uses, and they have to know how policy interventions, in the face of plural rationalities, improve the use of land. Land uses do not follow a uniform rationality. Landowners and tenants, businesses and households, buyers and sellers of land, pedestrians and bystanders, the wealthy and the poor, and all other land users pursue plural strategies. Their land uses are social practices that make the best use of the land, but policymakers must not believe that one best use actually exists. Policymakers can learn a lot from cities. As accumulations of plural opportunities, cities are places that constantly mediate plural rationalities. Hardly ever do cities leave us with the impression that everybody recognizes one best use. On the contrary, cities are places that make possible and even encourage polyrationality.