Radical planning

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Radical planning is a stream of urban planning which seeks to manage development in an equitable and community-based manner.

The seminal text to the radical planning movement is Foundations for a Radical Concept in Planning (1973), by Stephen Grabow and Allen Heskin. Grabow and Heskin provided a critique of planning as elitist, centralising and change-resistant, and proposed a new paradigm based upon systems change, decentralization, communal society, facilitation of human development and a consideration of ecology. Grabow and Heskin were joined by Head of Department of Town Planning from the Polytechnic of the South Bank Shean McConnell, and his 1981 work Theories for Planning.

In 1987 John Friedman entered the fray with Planning in the Public Domain: From Knowledge to Action, promoting a radical planning model based on “decolonization”, “democratization”, “self-empowerment” and “reaching out”. Friedman described this model as an “agropolitan development” paradigm, emphasising the re-localisation of primary production and manufacture. In “Toward a Non-Euclidian Mode of Planning" (1993) Friedman further promoted the urgency of decentralizing planning, advocating a planning paradigm that is normative, innovative, political, transactive and based on a Social learning approach to knowledge and policy.

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