A Planners’ Planner: John Friedmann’s Quest for a General Theory of Planning
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This paper honors the memory of Professor John Friedmann by reflecting on his professional contributions in two ways. First, the paper provides an overview of Friedmann’s career as a planner and planning academic, which spanned six decades and three continents, and highlights how a confluence of factors led to a paradigm shift in his thinking regarding the role of planning in social transformation. Second, the paper assesses Friedmann’s position on three issues of importance for practitioners—namely, problem formulation, the role of technical knowledge, and organizational learning. The paper concludes that the establishment of UCLA’s planning program is a testament to Friedmann’s critical view of planning practice, which posed fundamental challenges to conventional thinking. His publications were more inspirational than pragmatic, but they will continue to influence planning deliberations, as normative ideas underpin most planning efforts.
DepartmentMassachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Urban Studies and Planning
Journal of the American Planning Association
Informa UK Limited
Sanyal, Bish. "A Planners’ Planner: John Friedmann’s Quest for a General Theory of Planning." Journal of the American Planning Association 84, 2 (April 2018): 179-191
Author's final manuscript