Planning and Social Control: Exploring the Dark Side

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

8 Scopus citations


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
EditorsPatsy Healey, Jean Hillier
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Number of pages12
ISBN (Electronic)9781315246543
ISBN (Print)9780754627227
StatePublished - 2008

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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