Planning and social control: exploring the dark side

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392 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 tht planning's well-documented progressive opotential 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 pbulic 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 potentially 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
Pages (from-to)395-406
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Planning Literature
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1 Jan 1998

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development


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