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Is Urban Planning Having an Identity Crisis?

Some planners are calling for a shift away from rigid, conventional approaches toward more complex, flexible ones.
Prague, site of the AESOP conference, where the compact urbanism and emphasis on transit reflects the European planning tradition to date.
Prague, site of the AESOP conference, where the compact urbanism and emphasis on transit reflects the European planning tradition to date.Anthony Flint

PRAGUE—Call it post-planning, planning 2.0, or maybe un-planning. And the crazy thing is, this revolt against traditional approaches to planning is being conducted by planners themselves.

At the annual convening of the Association of European Schools of Planning here, there was no little soul-searching about the practice of the craft. Europe has been an undisputed leader in attempting to guide urban growth in an orderly fashion. European Union members have not only set down rules, regulations, and policies for each nation, but created what has been called “territorial cohesion” between nations, seeking to build on economic agglomerations across cities along a high-speed rail line, for example.