chapter  9
12 Pages

Keeping counterpublics alive in planning

ByLaura Wolf-Powers

The editors of this volume assert that a Just City-the “path between the universal and the particular” that Susan Fainstein discusses in Chapter 1can only be developed by participants in practice (see Introduction). More than any ideological stance or unifying theoretical rubric, the goal of justice in practice defines what I will call here the activist or progressive wing of the city planning profession. A sense of the latent possibility that state institutions, responsive to the disadvantaged and vulnerable in addition to the powerful and well-resourced, might achieve something that resembles a fair distribution of opportunities and pleasures within urban places2 draws idealistic young people into planning in the United States today as it did in the Progressive Era and in the turbulent 1960s and 1970s. Some proportion of planning school graduates-perhaps not a majority, but some-will enter professional life with the aim of justice in mind.