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Thomas Hartmann and Stan Geertman

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.