Who Makes out The Elephant? Disagreement among Urban Planning Theorists’ Claim on Rationality

نوع مقاله : مقاله پژوهشی


1 Associate Professor, Department of Urban and Regional Planning, University of Tehran, Iran.

2 Assistant Professor, Department of Urban and Regional Planning, University of Tehran, Iran.

عنوان مقاله [English]

Who Makes out The Elephant? Disagreement among Urban Planning Theorists’ Claim on Rationality

نویسندگان [English]

  • Farshad Nourian 1
  • Morteza Hadi Jaberi Moghaddam 2
چکیده [English]

Rational knowledge-claims, consisting of theoretical propositions expressing a judgment about complex urban problems, are not new. The audiences, i.e. the public whose lives are affected by such claims, have begun to question the claims of rationality in urban planning. In response, each urban planner, believing in a particular theory or point of reference, endeavors to challenge competing theories in order to make his or her own view legitimate. Each refers to a point of reference as being self-evident. Through this skillful manipulation, planners tacitly justify their own claims as reasonable, plausible, inevitable, etc. These efforts actively suppress all opposing views and consequently portray one particular rational narrative as the complete emergent one. In this context, the competition among urban planners reminds us of the allegory of the blind people and the elephant. Although, in this article, we do not attempt to provide yet another visionary theory, we claim that there exists no visionary position among planning theorists. The planning literature during the past two decades points to such competition between urban planners on the subject of rationality of plans. Could planners build consensus among themselves before they ask the public to do so? Here, a discourse between urban planning theorists is compared with the tale of the elephant. This article, using the above-mentioned allegory as a method of analysis, looks for the possibility of consensus building between two famous contemporary American schools of planning thought. Points of reference of these two schools of thought are categorized and discussed. It is also found that no visionary position exists among planners which explain why people have doubts over planners’ claims to rationality. 

کلیدواژه‌ها [English]

  • Knowledge-Claim
  • Point of Reference
  • rationality
  • Consensus Building
  • Planning Theory
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