Part of the International Perspectives on Social Policy, Administration, and Practice book series (IPSPAP)


To say that the world has changed is almost a cliché. Nonetheless, this claim is true. But remember that the world is no longer thought to be merely a geographical place or collection of traits. There is no doubt that the economy has become more unstable, and technology has altered every sphere of life. At the root of these changes, however, is something more profound that dramatically alters how social existence and planning should be viewed. Something interesting has occurred in terms of how communities come into being and are sustained. Planning, for example, should not be thought of as helping communities, or managing or spreading development. Indeed, with respect to traditional views on this subject, the new word “anti-planning” may be a more appropriate term (Steinberg, Political Geography 13(5):461–476, 1994). After all, community-based planning is not guidance or support, but an attempt to unleash communities. As Amartya Sen (Development as freedom, 1999) remarks, planning should represent “freedom.” Rather than initiated or undertaken by a particular group of professionals or experts, such planning represents communities becoming self-organized, defining themselves, and pursing their goals. For this reason, Ulrich Beck (The reinvention of politics: Rethinking modernity in the global social order, p. 157, 1997) coined the term “sub-politics” to describe this approach, since the aim is to decentralize or “disperse” decision-making and avoid conventional top-down methodologies. For this reason, community-based planning is the new moniker. This position announces a break with realism. The term that is used often nowadays is “de-linking” (Amin, De-linking: Toward a polycentric world, 1990). The basic idea is that persons do not confront the world; the world, accordingly, is not a domain where planning is enacted. Due to various theoretical breakthroughs, such dualism is considered to be passé. Therefore, planning is not an operation that merely involves communities, sometimes described as working through these groups to promote their well-being.


Anti-planning Planning and cultural diversity Communal interventions Community renewal Interventions and power Exercise of praxis 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of SociologyUniversity of MiamiCoral GablesUSA

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