ABSTRACT

Some thirty years ago a paper entitled ‘If planning is everything, maybe it’s nothing’ appeared in the journal Policy Sciences. The paper, by Aaron Wildavsky (Wildavsky 1973), was provocative readings for planners of that period. Wildavsky argued that the planner had become the victim of planning; his own creation had overwhelmed him because planning had become so large and complex that planners couldn’t any longer control its dimensions. Moreover, planning extended in so many directions that the planner couldn’t any longer shape it: ‘He [the planner] may be economist, political scientist, sociologist, architect or scientist. Yet the essence of his calling – planning – escapes him. He finds it everywhere in general and nowhere in particular. Why is planning so elusive?’ (ibid., 127).