This is all included in critical planning1 Arizona talk2

Download 63.8 Kb.
Size63.8 Kb.

****this is all included in critical planning1
Arizona talk2
In the city as of today, a city is the advanced capitalism and its global impact, and injustice is pervasive. We see it in the extreme polarization of income and wealth and power in the widespread degradation of the natural environment of the abject poverty of millions in ethnic and racial conflicts in patterns of sexism homophobia and the suppression of freedoms under the mantle of nationalism and most recently the so-called fight against terrorism. The triumph of neoliberal policies reduce the (often minimal) measures for social welfare in the immediate post-World War II period accentuates these problems. We made without much fear of contradiction speak of the city of today as an Unjust City. In such a city the vision of a Just City is a compelling one.
There is something seriously wrong that needs to be set right.
And we as planners or social scientists or students of urban affairs who hope to influence what is going on in our cities, what do we say? we are very modest in our aspirations. Sometimes I think we are with Hamlet, and say:
"The time is out of joint, O cursed spite

that ever I was born to set it right.”

-- and we decide that there is little in or nothing that we can do about it, there is no alternative, that's just the way it is, and we return to our jobs or are studies and business goes on as usual. The problems do seem overwhelming, but I want to suggest that there is an alternative to surrendering to the inevitable. “There is an Alternative,” in the words of the World Social Forum

What Is the Alternative?

Thinking about what might be an alternative to the existing state of the city has been a task of planners and architects, students, philosophers, artists, for many generations, indeed centuries. The line runs from religious visions of the City on the Hill to the early utopian thinkers such as Sir Thomas More to be early socialist utopians such as Fourier and Saint-Simon to more practical utopians such as Robert Owen and in a sense Ebenezer Howard to the utopian architects of the Situationist school and Guy deBord and to Percival and Paul Goodman in their Communitas. Today however that discussion is not very much in evidence, and in the planning profession in particular is largely ignored. It has been reawakened most recently in a set of discussions that were begun in initially by John Friedman at UCLA around the concept of "The Good Society" and more recently and separately, by Susan Fainstein around the term "The Just City" I want to suggest that the line of thinking that has got us to this point is tremendously important, but the Just City should not be in its final resting place I want to suggest that we need to go Beyond Just City

That is not in any way to suggest that the concept of the Just City is wrong; on the contrary, I think it is an extremely useful one but one with limitations.

I want to make my argument in three parts: first the pros and cons of the just city formulation and the necessity of some such vision for action; then an outline of what kind of planning is needed to get us towards the visions that we have, the kind of planning I want to call Critical Planning. Then thirdly I want to give some examples of the application of Critical Planning

To start with a positive:
In the city as of today, the city under advanced global capitalism and its global impact, and injustice is pervasive; I listed some of the problems earlier. I think we may without much fear of contradiction speak of the city of today has an Unjust City. In such a city the vision of a Just City is a compelling one.
The demand for justice is a deeply felt and historic one, with centuries of struggle, of interpretation, of political concern, behind it. It has the advantage that it is concrete; it is not a call for another world, but for changes in this world in a clear direction. The exact definition of justice may indeed be controversial but the philosophical difficulties do not lessen its appeal.. For two reasons: in comparison to the existing city, it does not take a great deal of convincing to make support a call for its improvement, in the general direction of justice. No one will argue that cities should be unjust, and no one will deny that the level of justice in today’s cities can be much improved. That moves the entire discussion forward in an important way; introducing the concept, even without resolving all its implications, is a major step forward, and immediately useful in fields such as planning and social policy.
The Just City formulation has a second advantage. It can be measured, shown, demonstrated, by a variety of indicators. the extent of income polarization, comparative housing conditions, segregation, availability of public space, voter participation, transparency of information, legal requirements for public participation. Whether or not these can be aggregated into a single judgment of the extent of justice, they can certainly be accepted as valid indicators of injustice, and progress along their lines can be measured and comparisons made.
But now to the limitations, and why we must go beyond the Just City.
the slogan of the Just City is a misleading one if it is put forward as presenting the ultimate goal of public policy or political endeavor. In everyday practice, it is often taken to be simply the absence of injustice. But that hardly suffices to define the concept or the goal; it simply rephrases the definitional question as a negative.
There are a whole variety of definitional problems, and I simply want to list some of them here. A detailed discussion would get us deep into some fascinating philosophic issues, but that is maybe meat for another discussion. Let me just list some of the problems:

  • First and foremost is of course the definition of justice. The currently most popular definition, that of John Rawls, and has been subject to severe criticism, and has been modified repeatedly I would suggest as my own definition and unjust decision is any decision made through the exercise of power. But that definition would require some defense, and other substantial definitions have been offered

  • “Social justice” and “justice” are not the same things, although they are sometimes used sometimes interchangeably. Justice is a generally taken as an individual right, while social justice refers to groups or collectivities. All injustices are not social. When lightning strikes a good person but spares a villain, when one child dies of cancer but another survives when a rich man draws a winning lottery ticket and a poor man a losing one, when a person decides which of two others will be the more loved, we can also ask whether the result is "just". In a deeply disturbing sense, there can be no justice till death is overcome. This is a source of tragedy: King Lear railing against the storm or declaiming at the end over Cordelia’s dead body. In the Just City are we concerned only with social injustices or also of the remedy of what might be considered natural injustices?

  • The just city formulation suggests that "cities" can be made just, but is it not a fact that cities are a creature of society, and what is really needed are Just Societies not just Just Cities? Our concern here is not to answer that question, but a narrower one: what should be the outcomes of social action, of societal arrangements, of public policies or private actions susceptible to social control. We are concerned with the just outcomes society can influence, recognizing that some are and will always be beyond society’s control. When we speak of the Just City, we mean in city just in what “the city” does and does not do, and “city” is here a synonym, a metaphor, for society. So let us not be distracted into seeking a definition of justice that will resolve all questions, settle all disputes, satisfy all aspirations for the good and the beautiful and the true.

  • It's is it a comparative concept so that one can have more or less just slough shins to a given problem? Can justice to one-party result in injustice to another party? Who determines the standards by which justice is determined (Rawls for instance introduces the notion of priority to the needs of the poor as an accepted standard for justice, but the derivation of that concept must lie outside the definition of justice and come from some more general understanding of ethical or moral behavior)

  • it only addresses a limited range of problems limited primarily to the sphere of distribution and not addressing the structural problems that produces the shortcomings of our cities which are only crudely and partially captured by the formulation on just.

  • Is justice and absolute, or is it a relative? If all cities are just, will they all be just in the same way and will they all look alike? Or is it justice a matter of the particular community standards of a particular community and will it vary from community to community?

  • Does justice require equality and if so equality of wide and without consideration of the differing strengths and needs of different individuals?

  • To each according to their work, is the classic definition of justice under socialism.1

From each according to their ability, to each according to their needs is justice, according to Marx, under communism.2 do we like either one?

  • Is it justice a procedural matter or a substantive one? In American law and justice is usually taken as meaning done through due process of law. But then they not laws be unjust?

Justice at least in the procedural sense calls for the just the application of laws that must be given from some source. You know the17th century jingle:
The law hangs the man and whips the woman

Who steal the goose from off the common

But lets the greater villain loose

Who steals the common from under the goose.3

  • Is there really a better definition of justice than the elimination of injustice? And if that is so is not the just city an inescapably negative concept: justice is simply the absence of injustice. A just City is a city in which there is no injustice. My own definition is subject to the same criticism: Justice is the absence of power. But that does not tell us what kind of this city that will be; it only tells us what it is not.

  • And therefore there is no affirmative vision of the future in the just city formulation. It does not adequately state-- and is not formulated to state -- the vision of the ultimate goal that is desired. It does not represent the real characteristics that we would wish to see in the ideal city of the future. Its vision is essentially a negative one.

None of these limitations suggests that the concept is not a critically important one in today's conflicts around the problems of cities tour of societal relations. They are simply to say that the concept of the just City is any beginning and not an ending to the process of searching for a better society.

What might the others be? In almost every formulation of what is desired, there is some reference to the fulfillment of human needs, the opportunity for the free exercise of human capabilities. Again, it let me just list the possible formulations that we might want to adopt here; again they are discussion leads us into fascinating directions of which could well be meat for many more discussions, but our time is limited here.

  • The caring city

  • the multidimensional city

  • the diverse city

  • the city of solidarity

  • the city of refuge

  • the beautiful city

  • the city of freedom

  • the city supporting the full development of the human potential

  • the city of heart’s desire (a phrase David Harvey found in early Chicago school discussions)

But we do not know what any of these cities would really look like, if they develop in a society free of domination, free of manipulation and control and the mandates and constraints of the “realm of necessity..”4 Visions of the future must necessarily be open, and do not allow for a utopia whose purpose is to outline what a future society must look like. The concrete details of a better city can only emerge in practice in the process of moving towards it in formed by flawed and by vision, but open and flexible and learning with experience. A statement of principles is all that can or should be sought at this relatively early stage of the game.. In this sense Martin Luther Kings dream is of an ideal city but it is a dream that establishes the principles for such a city rather than trying to describe it in any concrete detail. It raises the question of whether what is needed is a visual picture of a better city or a more general vision or simply a far-reaching statement of principles.

So let me come to the second half of my discussion: how we get from here to there assuming we have some general idea of where "there" is.

And here I want to argue that the type of vision that we put forward can indeed play a vital role, and that We cannot do without utopian plans and ideals of justice. They are indispensable for motivation and for action. 5 but that we must be clear in what that role is and how it can be developed in the context of everyday problems and the day-to-day conflicts in which we are inevitably engaged.

I called the analysis that I'm about to give you "Critical Planning", because it should begin with a hardnosed critical examination of exactly what the problems are and what they're structural and agency roots are and then go on to propose both immediate and long-range action is to deal with those problems. It needs to be both a critical and visionary. Here are the levels of planning that a critical planning approach sees as possible:
Chart 1 goes here
Conventional planning and narrowly ethical planning our descriptions of planning as it is generally done today; Justice planning which builds on the concept of the Just City, radical of visionary planning, and in which I will describe and utopian and planning are components of what I've would advocate as good critical planning. Let me go over them one at a time

The Conventional or Visionless Planning – What Susan Fainstein has called “modest planning,6” what I have called “feeble planning,7” Probably most of every-day planning work, both in the public and private sector, falls in this category, and for understandable reasons, given the reality in which it operates. It seeks the immediately attainable, seeking a maximum of consensus. Most planning falls in this category, and understandably: planners work for others, and their employers or clients expect them to present something useful. Raised to the level of comprehensive planning, a plan may be called a “Vision,”8 but it is that only in the sense that it is long-range and unfettered by immediate realities, not in the sense that it is critical r visionary or even ambitious in the sense below. It appeals to non-controversial ideals such as equity, sustainability, accessibility, prosperity, without exploring the controversial aspects that pushing any of these ideals would logically lead to. Justice will only be appealed to when it serves the particular interest involved. To a large extent communicative planning leads in this direction.

Ethical Planning looks at the immediately attainable, but highlights the ethical, social justice, distributive issues involved. I takes the Statement of Principles in the APA code of ethics seriously, and tries to pursue them within a conventionally realistic view of the possible. I call it narrowly ethical planning because I believe the APA code of ethics can be substantially expanded to include far more prescriptions as to socially just planning than are now included
Justice Planning - planning in pursuit of that goal of the Just City. The potentially realistically available: stretching the limits of the realistic, highlighting the importance of power and assuming conflict with recognition that major changes involve losers as well as winners. It will use an accepted standard of justice to legitimate its positions, and expand the possibilities beyond those that existing relations of power would accept.9 It takes the Principles seriously, as if they were mandatory, but within a politically broad and unconventional view of the possible, and highlights the conflicts of power involved and takes an advocacy position on them. Accepts structural constraints.
Critical Planning -The vision of what ought to be, imagined, based on roots in the present Such a vision will usually be in form of a statement of principles, and in effect calls for the abolition of relations of power for its realization.10 What it lacks in concreteness it makes up for in its appealing and inspirational policy, and in providing a test against which concrete proposals may be measured. Challenges structural constraints. It is necessarily critical planning because it is built on the criticism of the existing, but it does not propose a rigid blueprint for the future of four the reasons I outlined earlier: the future must be developed in practice in action and by those producing change, learning as they go along.
We might view critical planning as having three components.

  • Exposing.

  • Proposing.

  • Politicizing.

Exposing means analyzing and the roots of the particular problem, making clear what forces, what actors, are responsible for it and what structural conditions bring it about. It may involve a bit of mud muckraking, showing me political connections or interlocking corporate interests or ethically questionable lines of influence involved in producing the problem being addressed. Structurally, it will frequently involve a clear statement of the relationship between property rights and particularly forms of land ownership that underlie the problem, the relationship of an untrammeled market, often monopolistic amounts in producing it. Issues of property rights under lie virtually any issue with which the proper planners have to deal, and they need to be made explicit and those with whom planners work, and those with whom we work Need to be educated on them. Mystification of issues of property rights of the sacredness of the market in the assumed superiority of the private sector in efficiency, need to be addressed.

Proposing means developing a vision.
Politicizing means addressing squarely issues of power and showing how the resolution of the particular issue. Inevitably requires leaps to conflict, and challenges of existing power relationships
Utopian Planning - The visionary blueprint, perhaps not planning in the normal sense of the word at all, a fantasy whose purpose is not to be realized but to expose what is, to stimulate the imagination and make clear the existence of concrete alternatives at least in the mind’s eye..11 It takes training and practice to develop utopian visions, to relax the constraints that narrow conventional planning practice. And the utopian vision must include both a vision of a better future, but also a process for arriving at it, perhaps also a utopian one. The process must obviously start with where we are at the time of planning; it must be grounded in the present reality in order to develop the means to change that reality. So that it is not from the outset thus constrained, it may be well to begin with a utopia of society, and then ask, why is it not achievable, what are the roadblocks in the way, and then work backwards towards a utopia of the processes necessary to remove those roadblocks.
And then there is:
Visioning – a process of attempting to involve many people in painting a picture of the future with limited or no real world constraints and no attention to process or resolution of contradictions and no reference to relations of power. I consider such envisioning a snare and a delusion and would urge you to stay away from it unless it is handled with great care.12 That is something we may want to discuss further later if we have time.

Let me try to illustrate what I have been saying with examples that apply the concepts of critical planning, particular in a chart that assembles what you have already seen separately.

In the Bronx Terminal Market case, suggesting a public take-over of the market, acquisition of the land by condemnation, and its transference to a cooperative of users13. That proposal can be embedded in an examination of patterns of land ownership, lines of political influence, and weaknesses of a planning system that accepts the primacy of private market considerations in the allocation of land uses. And the latter in turn can be linked to a criticism of the neo-liberal ideological rationale for the current private market domination of planning decisions. How each argument is made will be subject to strategic and even tactical considerations, but in the process at least the level of the discussion and the understanding of the client should be significantly enhanced.
In the Atlantic Yards case in Brooklyn,14 developing a thorough-going alternative to the proposed mega-construction rather than settling for some proportion of affordable housing amidst the market rate expensive housing and commercial space would be the first order of work; the second would be exposing the political linkages and economic assumptions underlying the project, and the third would question the role of growth, and the kinds of growth, that the city’s leaders should be fostering in Brooklyn and the city.
[Michelle de la Uz, director of Fifth Avenue Committee, one of Brooklyn’s largest non-profit affordable housing developers, tells Brooklyn Matters how, within weeks of the announcement of the benefits agreement, the developer added more residential units to their project in a way that reduced the percentage of affordable units to about 30 pecent. Then the developer defined “affordable” so liberally that it included a huge swath of “moderate-income” households that would be making far more than the median income for Brooklyn. In fact, less than 14 percent of the apartments in the proposed development would be affordable to households making less than the median income.
In the current predatory lending scandal, Conventional planning suggests regulating sub-prime lenders as the answer;15 Justice planning might impose a duty on mainstream lenders to broaden their lending practices, a la Community Reinvestment practices,16 Critical planning would call into question the whole primacy given to home ownership in United States housing policy.17
But can we apply these forms of planning and action without first having resolved with it question of what they'd just city or the ideal city is? I think so the important thing is to maintain a vision of an alternate before our eyes to escape the idea that what is necessarily is; I do not think it necessary to have first spelled out exactly what is ultimately desired before taking action to deal with what we know should be changed in what is. Remember David Harvey’s exhortation:
Concepts of social justice and morality relate to and stem from human practice rather than [from] arguments about the eternal truths to be attached to these concepts.18
In other words ultimately we will resolve what a just or ideal city is in practice and the arguments about it should be seen only as a way of illuminating practice not setting rigid goals for what must be in some unknown future.
Let me end with a quotation from Hamlet that I'm sure is familiar to all of you -- --
he warns of what can happen when
“the native hue of resolution

Is sicklied o'er with the pale cast of thought,

And enterprises of great pith and moment

With this regard their currents turn awry,

And lose the name of action. “
The vision of a just city is intended to be an impetus to thinking through just where it is that we want to go, but it should be part of the process of going, of action, not a substitute for it. When all is said and done, thinking through and planning are only meaningful if they inform and motivate action, and contribute to organizing and political action, action to deal with those problems that I spoke of at the beginning of this lecture. We know that there is something rotten in the state, if not of Denmark, than of our own United States, and it's up to us to do our best to try to fix it. Pursuing the vision of a better city should contribute to that end.


Atlantic Yards

Basketball fans applauded the plan to build an arena for the Nets, the professional team owned by developer Bruce Ratner. And many advocates for affordable housing cheered Forest City Ratner’s pledge that half of the new housing packed into 16 giant towers would be “affordable.”

Michelle de la Uz, director of Fifth Avenue Committee, one of Brooklyn’s largest non-profit affordable housing developers, tells Brooklyn Matters how, within weeks of the announcement of the benefits agreement, the developer added more residential units to their project in a way that reduced the percentage of affordable units to about 30 pecent. Then the developer defined “affordable” so liberally that it included a huge swath of “moderate-income” households that would be making far more than the median income for Brooklyn. In fact, less than 14 percent of the apartments in the proposed development would be affordable to households making less than the median income.

On face value, the amount of open space is respectable. It constitutes almost a third of the project's 22-acre site. But because the towers would have so many residents -- with a projected 15,000 to 18,000 residents, it would become the densest census tract in the country -- the area within a half-mile radius would actually end up with a lower ratio of public space per resident that it has now, .28 acres per 1,000 residents. The percentage of active recreational space would drop to .15 acres. The already fully booked sports fields in Prospect Park and elsewhere in the area would not be able to absorb the overload.
With the Empire State Development Corporation at the head of the pack, Forest City Ratner could also avoid going through the city’s Uniform Land Use Review Process (nicknamed, ULURP), which would force it to face votes by the local community boards, borough president, City Planning Commission, and City Council. The developer needed to get the right to build over the rail yards owned by the Metropolitan Transit Authority, but since this is a state-run agency controlled by the governor, a hastily-planned Request for Proposals was put together so the developer could be guaranteed the rail yards. And $200 million in public subsidies were thrown in to sweeten the deal.

In the Manhattanville case,19 critical planning would not only seek out the best bargain that could be mad with Columbia university in the development of the 35 acres or the community benefits that can be extracted, but would examine what the most desirable use of those 35 acres might be if the welfare of the area’s and the or or or or city’s majority were the focus. That might mean questioning both the land use planning process and the relative power of participants in it (and of those excluded from it), but also examining the contribution that the University is making and the direction of its expansion, not only spatially but also substantively: why biomedical science as the target. And again the ideological assumptions about economic growth, about the role of elite institutions, about the purposes of higher education, can bear deeper and open public discussion.

1 Marx, Critique of the Gotha Program

2 See Norman Geras, New Left Review, 1995.

3 I owe reference to the words to Bertell Ollman

4 See Herbert Marcuse, Eros and civilization, and The End of Utopia.

5 Harvey, David. 2003. “The right to the city.” International Journal of Urban and Regional Research , vol 27 No. 4, pp. 939-94., at p. 940

6. Fainstein, Susan. 2006. “Planning and the Just City.” In Planning and the Just City, forthcoming.

7 Marcuse, Peter. 1983. "On the Feeble Retreat of Planning," in Journal of Planning Education and Research, Vol. 3, No. 1, Summer

8 See the just released Vision for Newark by the Regional Planning Association, which reads like the first part of a conventional Master Plan, and goes from “Goals and Principles” to “Strategies and Actions,” remainng very general even there

9 Advocacy planning is a recognized form of critical planning, international comparative work in planning opens the door to such considerations, the Just City discussion may be located here.

10 Martin Luther King Jr.’s Dream speech might be an example, but so may the Declaration of Independence.

11 I would place the work of the Situationists in this category.

12 See my draft diatribe forthcoming.

13 The case is discussed in Fainstein, forthcoming, and Connolly, forthcoming, and requires much further detailing

14 Based on

15 Ralph Nadder’s proposal, for instance, remains within this constraint.

16 See my red-lining paper

17 See my de SOTO XRITIQUE

18 Social Justice and the City, p. 15.

19 Based on

Download 63.8 Kb.

Share with your friends:

The database is protected by copyright © 2023
send message

    Main page