chapter  1
Planning Practice and Political Power
WithMichael P. Brooks
Pages 12

Numerous efforts have been made, through the years, to define the central purposes and themes of the planning profession. While the political nature of planning is indeed widely recognized today, many planners continue to display ambivalence on this matter. Public sector planning practice might be less daunting, however, if students were given more instruction and hands-on experience designed to familiarize them with the nature of such practice. To be sure, if one defines a profession in terms of required training, tightly controlled membership criteria, and the restriction of practice to those who have earned that membership, then planning hardly qualifies. he locality's power configuration matters a great deal; Francine Rabinovitz's classic study of planning in several New Jersey cities illuminated the different planning styles most likely to succeed in communities with identifiable "power elites" versus those with more diffuse systems of political power. This chapter presents an overview of the key concepts presents in this book.