Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Interdisciplinary Readings on Land Use: Planning

I’m excited to be back to regular posting on the Land Use Law Profs’ Blog, after a couple of different stints in administration at the University of Louisville Brandeis School of Law (two associate dean roles) and a couple of years of ramping up the interdisciplinary research of the Center for Land Use and Environmental Responsibility, which I direct. 

In fact, my interests in interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary perspectives on land use will be the focus my postings on this blog.  (A few more facts about these interests: I have dual appointments in law and urban and public affairs, affiliations with interdisciplinary research centers at several major universities, such as the Ostrom Workshop in Political Theory and Policy Analysis at Indiana University, Bloomington, and participation in a number of multidisciplinary research collaborations.  My Land Use and Planning Law is cross-listed in 4 units: law, planning, urban & public affairs, and social work, and requires that the students work in interdisciplinary teams on service learning projects and simulations.  While I’ve been on a number of dissertation committees, I began serving as the primary advisor to PhD students on their dissertations this past year.) 

I’m starting my new postings on this blog with a series of recommended readings from other disciplines, mostly key books that land use law professors might find valuable.  I suspect that many of you will know these works already, but I’m hoping that everyone will find something intriguing in this series of posts. 

The series begins today with books about planning.  We all cover planning to some degree; if nothing else, the law requires that a locality’s zoning and land use decisions be consistent with a comprehensive plan.  But what is planning? 

The best introductory reading for a non-expert is Eric Damian Kelly, Community Planning: An Introduction to the Comprehensive Plan, 2nd Edition (Island Press 2010).  It strikes the right balance between comprehensiveness and readability.  It should be on every land professor’s shelf.  Two other good overview books are John Randolph, Environmental Land Use Planning and Management, 2nd Edition (Island Press 2011), which focuses on environmental planning, and John M. Levy, Contemporary Urban Planning, 10th Edition (Routledge 2012), which provides a good overview of planning history, structure, practice, tools, subfields, and cutting-edge issues. 

Two classic works that have strongly shaped current thinking about planning are: Jane Jacobs, The Death and Life of Great American Cities (Vintage Books 1961) and Lewis Mumford, The City in History: Its Origins, Its Transformations, and Its Prospects (Harvest/Harcourt Brace Javanovich 1961).  Apparently 1961 was a significant year for thinking deeply and critically about the nature of planning. 

Three anthologies collect a variety of classic writings on planning theory and practice: 1) Jay M. Stein, Classic Readings in Urban Planning, 2nd Edition (American Planning Association 2004); 2) Jennifer Evans-Cowley, Essential Readings in Urban Planning (Planetizen 2014); and 3) Scott Campbell and Susan S. Fainstein, Readings in Planning Theory, 2nd Edition (Blackwell Publishing 2003). 

While many of these books contain basic critiques of conventional planning’s rational, comprehensive, up-front development of a static plan through a linear planning process (with the classic critique being Charles Lindblom, "The Science of Muddling Through," 19 Public Administration Review 79-88 (1959)), they don’t give much attention to an alternative type of planning: adaptive planning.  Adaptive planning is a planning process that is flexible, continuous, and iterative.  An adaptive plan’s goals, strategies, and/or implementation actions are subject to frequent changes, as lessons are learned from plan implementation and those lessons are applied to the planning process (known as “feedback loops”).  It is particularly appropriate under conditions of uncertainty, instability, or abrupt disturbances, such as climate change.  An article discussing the key characteristics of adaptive planning is: Arnold, "Adaptive Watershed Planning and Climate Change," 5 Environmental and Energy Law and Policy Journal 417 (2010), available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1712027

Coming next: Place-based perspectives on land use.


Planning | Permalink


Great choices! I would add, for growth management, the best book out there is Managing Community Growth (2nd Ed. 2004) by Eric Damian Kelly. In all fairness, Eric is an attorney and an urban planner, so is interdisciplinary himself.

I was in the urban affairs and planning program at Virginia Tech (with John Randolph and John Levy, both now retired) for 15 years, and when I taught Urban Growth Management, I had a difficult time finding an appropriate textbook or appropriate readings. Then I found Managing Community Growth. He's a great writer.

Posted by: Jesse Richardson | Aug 12, 2015 5:37:54 AM