Planning and social control: Exploring the dark side

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Theories of urban and regional planning have been deficient, neglecting to account sufficiently for its use as a tool of social control and oppression. The article argues that planning’s well-documented progressive potential should be understood as being structurally accompanied by a more sinister dark side. It develops a conceptual framework within which the ‘planning as control’ can be theorized and studied, and by linking the public production of space to recent social science and Foucauldian debates on state- and nation-building. The framework delineates four principal dimensions: territorial, procedural, socioeconomic, and cultural, each with a capacity to influence intergroup relations. These dimensions should be understood as double-edged, with the influence of each poten¬tially stretching between emancipatory reform and oppressive control. This article concludes by offering some explanations for the neglect of the dark side by most theorists, and by sketching a future agenda for a revised critical theory of planning.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationPolitical Economy, Diversity and Pragmatism
Subtitle of host publicationCritical Essays in Planning Theory: Volume 2
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Number of pages12
ISBN (Electronic)9781351910378
ISBN (Print)9780754627227
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Economics, Econometrics and Finance (all)
  • General Business, Management and Accounting


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