Table of Contents

Handbook on Theories of Governance

Handbook on Theories of Governance

Edited by Christopher Ansell and Jacob Torfing

In the past two decades, governance theories have arisen semi-independently across multiple disciplines. In law and regulation, planning, democratic theory, economics, public management, and international relations, among other disciplines, scholars have sought to describe new strategies of governing. As a result, the notion of governance is now one of the most frequently used social science concepts in the world. No single theory encompasses this diverse body of work, but rather multiple theories with different aims and perspectives. The Handbook on Theories of Governance collects these theories of governance together as an analytical resource for governing in an increasingly complex, fragmented and dynamic society.

Chapter 4: Planning theory

Thomas Hartmann and Stan Geertman

Subjects: politics and public policy, public policy, regulation and governance


Planning theory has developed and changed dramatically during the short history of its existence. In this chapter, the relation between planning and (planning) theories is explored by using three perspectives – theories in, for and of planning. These three are linked to phases in the history of spatial planning: Prior to the 1970s, planning theories were analytical and conceptual tools to understand the object of planning (theories in planning). In the 1970s, a big paradigm shift changed this perspective in favor of a strong orientation towards the process of planning, that is, communicative, collaborative or participatory planning (theories for planning). Recent planning theory tends to question this strong process orientation to planning theory, and theorists search for a more general theory of planning (theories of planning). These three perspectives are presented and discussed in the light of creating a general theory of governance.

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