Making Planning Popular – A Manifesto

1. Planning is ‘the art and science of ordering the use of land and the

character and siting of buildings and communication routes so as to secure

the maximum practicable degree of economy, convenience and beauty.’*

2. Planning is the process through which society produces change in our

built environment. It has a history and a culture, and is never neutral. It can

ensure or prevent spatial justice.

3. Different kinds of planning result in different kinds of space.

4. Though we no longer build doctrinaire modern architecture, we still plan

with doctrinaire modern planning systems. As such, we search in vain for a

social consensus which does not exist.

5. By reducing planning to a system practised by experts alone and wedded

to party politics, we limit society’s potential to produce change on its own


6. We also restrict knowledge of planning only to public servants, private

consultants and those who can pay for it.

7. Knowledge is power.

8. Planning knowledge is a social product and as such should be shared by

the whole of society. The rhetoric of localism, and its public reaction, has

created an unusual opportunity for the redistribution of this knowledge,

and for the recovery of models outside the current system.

9. Planning must be made popular: something that people understand, like,

and do.

10. Planning needs to be built on knowledgeable dissent rather than false

notions of consensus. Agency must be given to marginal practices,

extreme positions, and particularity.

11. To be understood, planning must first be seen. We must make visible the

shape and effect of both the current system and alternatives borrowed

from other times and places.

12. To this end, a bestselling illustrated history of our built environment will be

written: a popular history of popular planning.

*Lewis Keeble (1952) Principles and Practice of Town and Country Planning


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