Why Do We Plan
There are myriad range of reasons why planning should be exercised in the society. The reasons can range from protection of public interest, regulation of private development to facilitation of public and private development in the society.
There is a general agreement that planning is the best tool that a society can use to eliminate problems that stem from social inequalities and problems in the physical environment (Hammond & Raiffa1999).The purpose of planning also depends on the planning contexts.
Planning should promote social unity, economic growth, and ensure development of the infrastructure. Moreover, planning should enable the government and the citizens to ensure effective utilization of resources and proper design of buildings and locations. Planning should also aim at protecting the public interest and promote private development through effective control measures (Taylor 1998).
The interplay between planning and politics indicates that planning requires some element of power to ensure control and promotion of individual and group interests (Hooghe & Gary 2000). The relationship also promotes sustainable development which is the main purpose of the current government.
However, this position is not fully in tandem with the view held by different planning theories. For instance, the scientific planning approach views planning as an enterprise where emphasis should be placed on issues such as environmental modeling, assessment of the impacts of the transportation system, and cost benefit analysis of different planning operations.
The theory embraces the fact that in order for one to achieve a given objective, data collection is very vital. According to the theory planners may find it difficult to bridge the gap between collective and individual rationalities (Fainstein, 2010).
What Planners Should Do
The duties of planners in ensuring the success of planning should include establishment of effective planning policies and creating the linkage between the various levels of governance. Planners also have the duty of ensuring that there consistency between the national policy planning framework and local plans.
In this case, advocacy planning theory is the chosen justification for this that relates to planning system adopted by the coalition government. Advocacy planning promotes the view that planners should include interests of low income earners in the community (Allmendiger 2009).
The planners should also work with the members of the community to promote the interests of the groups. According to the theory, planners should establish different plans that meet the needs of different people in the community. The planners should ensure that different plans are developed according to the expectations of the people in a given location (Healey 2006).
The members of the community have immediate experience of various issues that affect their lives in different ways. The community members are therefore placed in a better position to provide the planners with vital information that can be used in solving their problems (Communities and Local Government 2011).
To achieve successful results, the engagement and input from the community members are imperative in the planning processes. In this case, advocacy theory ensures that community members establish their local plans based on elements such as customs, values, and culture.
This requires the planning system to embrace the neighborhood initiatives which should be included in the local plans made by the local authorities or the Parish council. The role of referendum is also very important in determining the adoption of local plans (Taylor 1998).
Advocacy theory promotes sustainable development by enhancing participation of the people at the national and grass root levels. Planners should ensure that the input of the community members is encouraged to enable them participate in their own development (Clifford & Warren 2005).
Purpose of Planning
The main purpose of planning according to the current government is to ensure sustainable development. The approach is in tandem with the requirements of collaborative approach. The theory promotes the view that planners have a great role in reducing the disparities in power distribution in the society.
The planners should enable all members of the society to access information and participate effectively in the planning process. Collaborative theory emphasizes the need for unity among the planners to foster trust and understanding.
The main aim of the theory is to promote consensus for collaboration and good communication between the people and the planners (Healey 2006). However, the theory lacks proper ways of ensuring access to resources and effective strategies for implementation of the plan (Allmendiger 2009).
The current English planning system requires a planning theory that embraces the element of decentralization. This is manifested by the approach taken by the coalition government where participation in planning must include community members at the local level.
There is also an increasing trend among the people to participate in decision making at the level. For example, in the year 2010, 27% participated in local planning. In the year 2011, 39% of the people were included in local planning (Communities and Local Government 2011).
However, participation in local planning has been very difficult to attain due to the fact that most people lack the appropriate network access. The issues involved are also very complex for the local people to understand. Moreover, the issues of wealth and economic status deny many locals the opportunity to participate in local planning.
In addition to sustainable development, it is also important to eliminate the element of unequal representation by embracing the concept of pluralism.
Elements of identity such as gender, social class, and race tend to promote unequal participation among the community members. Disparities in treatment can be effectively solved by advocating pluralism where planners should provide opportunities that foster competition between the various groups (Allmendiger 2009).
It is therefore important to ensure that the planning goals embrace the element of diversity in the society. The goals should reflect the disparities in interest between the different groups. The planners should also decentralize power to ensure that different groups in the society have the opportunity to participate in development affairs.
This also calls for elimination of complexities in the planning system in order to increase the level of local participation. The system should not only embrace the values and culture of the people, but also help them to clarify the goals, ideas, planning tools and different approaches that can be used to achieve development (Communities and Local Government 2011).
To evaluate the success of the plans adopted by the planners, it is important to ensure that the planning goals in the society meet the needs of the people. For planners to achieve sustainable development they must ensure that all the requirements of the people in the society are fulfilled. Planning goals should be assessed on their effectiveness to embrace diversity and protect the interest of most vulnerable groups.
The justification approach exhibited in this study tends to agree with the current planning approach adopted by the government. However, there are certain areas that need improvement for the government to ensure full participation of the people in the planning system.
The planners should not only communicate planning goals, but also participate in the decision making and establish effective strategies of increasing participation and reducing the issue of rationality in planning
Allmendiger, P 2009, Planning theory, Palgrave Macmillan, New York.
Clifford, B & Warren, C 2005, ‘Development and the environment: perception and opinion in St Andrews, Scotland’, Scottish Geographical Journal, vol. 121. no. 4, pp. 355-384.
Communities and Local Government, 2011, The Five Key Measures in the Localism Act. Web.
Fainstein, S 2010, The just city, Cornell University Press, Ithaca.
Hammond, J, & Raiffa, H 1999, Smart Choices: A guide to making better life decisions, Broadway, New York.
Healey, P 2006, Collaborative planning, Palgrave Macmillan, New York.
Hooghe, L & Gary, M 2000, Multi-level governance and European integration: Governance in Europe series, Rowman and Littlefield Publishers, Lanham.
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