Summer 2007


Note from the Editors:

Upon picking up this issue, our faithful readers may note a difference or two from previous editions. While the outward look of this edition is much the same, the offerings are longer, and there are fewer of them. One outcome of a smaller number of long scholarly pieces is the difficulty of imposing a thematic structure upon the issue. So, while we see the six papers that comprise the heart of this year's Journal as spanning a continuum, we ask our readers to impose their own order. To make a long story short, we are rather pleased with the wide-ranging submissions gathered under the umbrella of Volume 7, and hope that our readers find the collection a diverse and interesting one.

In the first piece, "Leaping Into the Abyss—Planning and Postmodernism", Marco Cenzatti argues that over the last decade planning has entered a two-fold material and intellectual crisis. In his account, these are linked respectively to the post-Fordist economic restructuring and attendant weakening of regulatory structures, and a postmodernist reaction to the rationalist planning tradition. As a solution, Cenzatti suggests a wholehearted embrace of postmodernism and a movement away from a search for an overarching paradigm of planning theory and towards different kinds of planning which use many bases of knowledge.

"In Can Complexity Theory Enter the World of Planning?", Seema D. Iyer provides an overview of theories about the formation of and interactions between urban systems. While Cenzatti sees hope for planning in post-modernism, Iyer suggests that complexity theory may fill a different gap. She notes that the predominant urban theories attribute relative positions, prominence, or centrality to cities within an urban system based on interactions between cities, while a potential strength of complexity theory is its attention to interactions within cities.

Amy Shimson-Santo's work, "Home, Memory, and Beyond", is a critical analysis of feminist planning practice and theory. She discusses conceptions of the public and private sphere with respect to women's roles in society; metaphoric representations of gender in the idealized "woman's space" called home; the presentation of women's history, particularly in the shaping and location of public art; and women's identity as expressed through social movements. Throughout the discussion, Shimson-Santo explores her claim that "new feminist debates remain at the periphery of planning," and gives examples of how better connections between thought and action might be constructed.

Liang-yi Yen's work, "M. Christine Boyer and Debates over Virtual Public Space", discusses the idea of public space in a world where technological innovation has dramatically reshaped how we think and act. Through the lens of M.Christine Boyer's works, Yen looks at the intersection between real and virtual spaces and provides food for thought to planners devising policies that impact real public spaces.

"Spatial mismatch" was a phrase coined by John Kain in 1968 to describe the fact that African Americans in urban areas appeared to face barriers to employment due to the increasing distance between the neighborhoods in which they lived and the jobs that matched their particular skills. In "Why Spatial Mismatch Still Matters", James Spencer reviews the various permutations the hypothesis has undergone over the years and the critiques associated with each form. By placing the hypothesis within the context of economic restructuring and the current poverty policy environment, Spencer makes it newly relevant.

Finally, Peter V. Hall takes us to Richards Bay, a port in South Africa, to examine the interaction between national industrial policy and regional institutional structure. In "Regional Development and Institutional Lock-In", he shows that when development policy fails to take into account the particular historical institutional factors of a targeted region, it cannot be expected to make a significant difference in the course of development. Hall's work also offers some general insights into how to approach the entrenched institutional structures in which planning policies are usually implemented.

In the second section, we draw on two UCLA conferences from the past year. Kathleen Lee interviews Allen J. Scott, the main organizer of the Global City-Regions Conference. Their conversation ranges from the IMF and the World Bank's role in globalization to the implications of the development of global city-regions on the field of planning. Following a brief overview of a conference entitled "Cities and Cultural Diversity in France and the Francophone World", Babak Hedjazi and Liette Gilbert provide a translated and edited version of a paper by Rémi Baudouï, "Building the Third Millenium City". Baudouï's essay describes the historical development of urban policy in France in the context of immigration trends and traditional French republicanism.

In the final section, Kathy A. Kolnick reviews Eden by Design, a new book by Greg Hise and William Deverell in which the 1930 Olmsted/Bartholomew report "Parks, Playgrounds and Beaches in Los Angeles" has been reprinted. The book examines the politics and circumstances surrounding the commission of the plan and discusses the plan's relevance. The final section also includes a feature we hope to continue in future editions of Critical Planning—a space for contributions by undergraduate students of planning. To paraphrase Cenzatti, planning must begin to recognize multiple knowledges. In that spirit we present here short works by Flor Barajas and Alexandra Howard, students at the University of California, Los Angeles, and Thomas Townsend, a recent graduate of California State Polytechnic University, Pomona.

We end by bidding farewell to Marco Cenzatti. He has been a great teacher and friend. We wish him the best in his new position and are sure that a new generation of planners will benefit not only from his expertise as a scholar of planning theory, but also from his passion and commitment.

The Editorial Collective


Table of Contents:

Leaping into the Abyss-Planning and Postmodernism (pdf)
Marco Cenzatti

Can Complexity Theory Enter the World of Planning? (pdf)
Seema D. Iyer

Home, Memory, and Beyond (pdf)
Amy Shimson-Santo

M. Christine Boyer and Recent Debates over Virtual Public Space (pdf)
Liang-yi Yen

Why Spatial Mismatch Still Matters (pdf)
James Spencer

Regional Development and Institutional Lock-In: Richards Bay, South Africa (pdf)
Peter V. Hall

Global City-Regions: A Conversation with Allen Scott (pdf)
Katheleen Lee

Building the Third Millennium City (pdf)
Rémi Baudouï

Policy/History Briefs
Alexandra Howard, Flor Barajas, Thomas Townsend

Book Review: Eden by Design: The 1930 Olmsted-Bartholemew Plan for the Los Angeles Region (pdf)
Kathy A. Kolnick