chapter  2
Spatial Planning
The Promised Land or Rolled-Out Neoliberalism?
BySimin Davoudi
Pages 13

This chapter explains the revival of spatial planning in the 2000s which was a belated response to the growing realisation that place matters. It deals with and was informed by two sets of theoretical developments. One is relational space and deals with the object of spatial planning and its substantive focus. The other is communicative action and deals with the normative aspects of spatial planning processes. The chapter also explains certain interpretations of spatial planning and its theoretical underpinnings that have led to its alignment with neoliberal policies and practices. Procedural planning theories have a long history dating back to the introduction of systems theory into planning in the 1970s and its subsequent criticisms. Systems theory introduced scientism to the understanding of not only space and place, but also policy making itself. It conceives of planning as a rational process of decision making in which technical experts follow a cycle of logical steps to reach an optimal rational decision.