The book brings together contributions from some of the most distinguished scholars in the field of planning from Europe, America and beyond, including Louis Albrechts, Rachelle Alterman, Michael Batty, Andreas Faludi, John Forester, John Friedmann, Cliff Hague, Peter Hall, Patsy Healey, Charles Hoch, Judith Innes, Klaus Kunzmann, Peter Marcuse, Luigi Mazza, Barrie Needham and Gerhard Schimak.


Klick on the author's name below to find out why these distinguised scholars are contributing to this project:

Portrait Photo: Louis ALBRECHTS

Em.Prof. of Strategic Spatial Planning, University of Leuven, BE

There are a couple of reasons that made me accept the invitation to take part in the project ‘Evolution of Planning Thought’.  It forces me to reflect in a systematic way on my own intellectual roots and how different influences crystallize in some of my actual writings.  It urges me also to reread my own work and the work of others with a mind-set of today.  I am also sure that I can learn a lot from the stories of other participants in the project.  It may also show some relevance of earlier writings for the younger generation.

+ Rachelle ALTERMAN
Portrait Photo: Rachelle ALTERMAN

Em.Prof. of Urban Planning & Law, Technion – Israel Institute of Technology, Haifa, IL

+ Michael BATTY
Portrait Photo: Michael BATTY

Prof. of Spatial Analysis & Planning, University College London, GB

I feel that the only way you can get to really know how anybody really thinks about the world is through talking to them, one on one, and really trying to understand in a colloquial and social sense what they think.  Of course we cannot do this with all those we would like to understand and thence autobiography is the next best thing.  In our field, autobiographies are hard to publish because they would probably be a little narrow for a more general readership.  This project is the next best thing to each of us producing our autobiographies but it also enables us to talk to each other as well as our readers about our mutual understanding of the evolution of this field.  In this sense it will be unique!  I hope we will produce a book of our joint reflections on the way the field has developed and the things that have guided us so we can communicate effectively to our peers and our students, past, present and future.


+ Andreas FALUDI
Portrait Photo: Andreas FALUDI

Em.Prof. of Spatial Policy Systems in Europe, Delft University of Technology, NL

I am pleased to have been invited to this project.  It went without saying that I would support it.  The idea is derived from the desire of a new generation to understand where we all come from.  To me, personally, it means yet another highly welcome occasion for returning to one of my roots and at the same time to refresh the memory of numerous intellectual encounters worldwide.  Beyond this, I expect the outcome to have added value for the up-and-coming generation of readers. In its efforts to face entirely new and great challenges around the globe, the texts should enable its standard bearers to identify issues that have been settled and to fill the many gaps that our generation of pioneering planning academics is no doubt leaving behind.

Portrait Photo: John FORESTER

Prof. of City & Regional Planning, Cornell University, New York, US

We only learn from others, and I'm indebted to the encouragement and support of scholars in this project.  John Friedmann corresponded with me long before I completed my dissertation, as if I'd been his own student. Luigi Mazza welcomed me to Planning Theory magazine and to Torino for dialogue and debate.  Patsy Healey, Charles Hoch, and Judy Innes were comrades in arms exploring complementary challenges, pushing the envelope, providing generous comments and criticisms, always fuelling better work.  It's sobering to participate in this project, humbling as we face so much wisdom, scholarship, and expertise. We see one's roads we've not taken, cul-de-sacs we explored too intensely, earlier enthusiasms we left undeveloped, earlier writing we lost to faddish trends.  Sharing in this community of my colleagues and teachers is a gift, and I hope resulting publications might encourage younger scholars to do better work in turn.

Portrait Photo: John FRIEDMANN

Em.Prof. of Community & Regional Planning, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, CA

I began my planning studies in 1947, soon after the end of World War II.  At the time, planning appealed to me as a field of studies because it promised to help rebuild a devastated world.  Although my ideas about what planners can do to bring about such an idealized agenda have undergone a sea change over the decades, I believe that the specific experiences, which have reshaped my thinking, will be of interest to the young people of today.  In the second decade of the 21st century, we have perhaps more realistic expectations, but today’s planners continue to be faced with the challenges of a globalized, still violent and increasingly urban world.  What we have collectively learned over the last half century would seem to me to be relevant for the younger generation, as planners continue to grapple with these formidable challenges.

+ Cliff HAGUE
Portrait Photo: Cliff HAGUE

Em.Prof. of Planning & Spatial Development, Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh, GB

I am excited by The Evolution of Planning Thought project.  Life is short and careers pass you by: key influences and turning points fade.  The challenge of The Evolution of Planning Thought is to reflect in an objective way, but with an insider’s insights, on concepts that have shaped planning internationally over the past half century.  I am thrilled and honoured to be part of the cast list.  Without doubt, my colleagues and co-authors in this venture have been leading thinkers about planning, people with global reputations.  Bringing these people together in one place – and one book – is a unique, unrepeatable opportunity for debate and reflection.

+ Peter HALL
Portrait Photo: Peter HALL

Prof. of Planning & Regeneration, University College London, GB

I strongly feel that there is value in planning history: our collective “institutional memories” are too short, and we forget that others have thought about similar issues before.  Readers will not find any of this in the official histories, or even in the archives.  To this extent, this book is an invaluable piece of “oral history”, but this time written down by authors who are good at writing!  Readers will certainly not find anything like it anywhere else on the shelves.  These stories, by the top figures in academic planning of the last half-century, will together tell an extraordinary tale.  Personally, this book project is an opportunity for me to reflect on the forces that have shaped my professional life and even on some of the mistakes that I have made!  I have made some major shifts in attitude to policy and politics over a 50-year planning career, and it’s time to explain them and, if possible, to justify them.

+ Patsy HEALEY
Portrait Photo: Patsy HEALEY

Em.Prof. of Town & Country Planning, Newcastle University, GB

I appreciate very much the interest younger generations of planning scholars now show in the history of planning ideas, as I have myself always been interested in the way planning thought has evolved, and the way in which ideas develop in particular times and places and then move around among intellectual and practice-based communities.  For me, being involved in this project has made me reflect on what has shaped the way I think about what I have come to call ‘the planning project’, and my own ‘situatedness’ – as a British person, as a European, and as someone having the privilege of engaging with many other very stimulating planning scholars and practitioners over the years.  One of the most striking things I am finding in these reflections is the complex way a generation of scholars have interacted in the development of our thinking.

+ Charles HOCH
Portrait Photo: Charles HOCH

Prof. of Urban Planning & Policy, University of Illinois, Chicago, US

The planning field has a history as long as the evolution of Homo Sapiens; the planning movement perhaps a century and the discipline half as much.  Those invited to participate in this book include what I would describe as first and second generation planning discipline theorists.  Their diversity of ideas and methods share this disciplined attention to spatial planning.  I am a second generation planning theorist honoured to be included in the conversation with my intellectual teachers and mentors.  I hope readers will recognize as they read the contribution and commentary the emergence of the theoretical contours shaping intellectual debate about the form and meaning of the spatial planning discipline.  I would not expect convergence or agreement, but rather the recapitulation and distillation of longstanding conceptual differences about rationality, power, justice, practice and more.  Ever the pragmatist I think attention to historical context, differences in vocabulary and the eclectic varieties of argument can edify and improve practical judgments for those who take time to learn and use different ideas.  Planning theory works more like a flashlight than the sun.

+ Judith INNES
Portrait Photo: Judith INNES

Em.Prof. of City & Regional Planning, University of California, Berkeley, US

For me this project has been an opportunity to make sense of my intellectual and professional journey and to frame the story so others can understand it.  It has revealed connections and threads in my thinking that I had not previously recognised and helped me see how changing times influenced my choices, closing some doors and opening others.  I anticipate that the book will be a fascinating, readable history of planning as the world has changed over the last 60 years or so.  The reader will be able to see how and why ideas have developed, evolved and shifted.  The authors all have differing life stories, intellectual projects, and career paths, and each has made unique contributions.  Most of us have crossed paths along the way and learned from one another.  I hope that our stories will inspire younger scholars to both build on and move past our work

Portrait Photo: Klaus KUNZMANN

Em.Prof. of European Spatial Planning, University of Dortmund, DE

This ambitious project caused me to reconstruct my long journey from architecture to spatial planning, to reflect my efforts to bridge theory and practice in urban and regional development, and to re-imagine the many places around the world, which have inspired and motivated me, gradually building-up my passion for the discipline.  I hope the readers, when reading the different biographical journeys, will understand and promote spatial planning as an independent discipline in their respective institutional, professional and academic milieus.  Moreover, I hope they will be encouraged to find their own ways in supporting the social, cultural, ecological and economic dimensions of spatial development.

Portrait Photo: Peter MARCUSE

Em.Prof. of Urban Planning, Columbia University, New York, US

The field of urban planning attracts many young people to it as a way of improving the world, and particularly urban life, through focused thought and professional competence.  Urban planning combines theory with practice, keeping social justice as a leading value.  I certainly came to the field with that expectation.  Has that expectation been borne out?  Now that I am retired, I have more time to reflect on these matters and review what I have contributed to the field.  In doing so, I am struck by how difficult achieving that early objective was, what the limits of my years of activity have actually produced, and whether other choices of fields or types of activity (writing, teaching, conference attendance, professional planning consulting, grass-roots participation) might have accomplished more.  I know many others who have had similar questions, and I am anxious to learn of their assessments, and to think through the lessons learned.  I think a collective evaluation, which this book provides, may also be of significant value to others beginning to grapple with the same questions about the choices before them.

+ Luigi MAZZA
Portrait Photo: Luigi MAZZA

Em.Prof. of Planning, Politecnico di Milano, IT

Understanding the roots of planning through autobiographical accounts is an interesting and innovative approach.  Despite my extensive work in the field of planning and my contributions to many projects related to planning, I do not know of any comparable projects that build on this methodology, so it is a root worth exploring.  The novelty of this book is in the incorporation of several oral histories from a group of people who, early in their careers, entered the field of planning and appreciated the immense challenges in building up the intellectual substance of planning.  Over the course of their careers, these contributors were aware of each others’ work and, as trailblazers in the field of planning, they can provide important insights for contemporary and, consequently, future generations of planners.

+ Barrie NEEDHAM
Portrait Photo: Barrie NEEDHAM

Em.Prof. of Spatial Planning, Radboud University Nijmegen, NL

A profession which is not interested in its own history doesn’t take itself seriously, it is said.  The same goes for an academic discipline.  For me, the activity of spatial planning is socially important and should be carried out professionally.  And that activity can, and should, be subjected to critical academic study.  I take the practice and the discipline seriously.  So I am interested in the history of spatial planning.  Taking part in this project is my contribution to that, 50 years of history as experienced by me.  I hope that it will help others to place their daily occupation with spatial planning – with its sometimes frantic fashion changes – in a more stately perspective.

+ Gerhard SCHIMAK
Portrait Photo: Gerhard SCHIMAK

Hon.Prof. of Regional Planning & Development, Vienna University of Technology, AT

Due to the value of understanding the development of planning through oral histories, this book should have been written thirty years ago and again at the current time.  Since the book is composed of written accounts from key witnesses, especially those who have developed their fields of work into new dimensions, it’s a tribute to the fact that – especially in planning – the development of scientific knowledge and its application to reality does not happen accidentally.  It is a result of the work of people who are very often closely connected to their personal experiences, thoughts and challenges.  In this aspect, the book helps to understand the present state of knowledge by preserving the developments of the past, described very personal by people, who in one or another way shaped the present and the future of planning with their publications, teaching and acting.