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A SEARCH FOR AN ALTERNATIVE PLANNING THEORY: USE OF PHENOMENOLOGY

Gill-Chin Lim and Johann Albrecht
Journal of Architectural and Planning Research
Vol. 4, No. 1 (March 1987), pp. 14-30
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/43028829
Page Count: 17
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
A SEARCH FOR AN ALTERNATIVE PLANNING THEORY: USE OF PHENOMENOLOGY
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Abstract

There has been an increasing division between the two main approaches to planning: the scientific approach, which favors the use of positivism, and its opposition, which denies the efficacy of the scientific tradition. This situation has consequential implications for planning theory as well as for planning practice. The unresolved conflict has led to a lack of professional identity on the part of planners and a distorted understanding of planning by the public. Nevertheless, the planning literature has paid little attention to essential epistemological and methodological aspects of planning theory. There exists a critical need to search for an alternative planning theory based on broad theoretical perspectives and rigorous definitions. Three different bodies of thought can be examined in an effort to rectify the current predicament of the planning profession: critical theory, phenomenology, and analytic linguistics; the present article deals with phenomenology. The main tenets of logical positivism are investigated and major arguments against this position, which has provided the epistemological base for scientific planning, are discussed. The applicability of phenomenology to planning is explored in detail. Emphasis is given to a discussion of phenomenology of action and environment and the development of research methodology for planning. The analysis indicates that phenomenology has, in general, limited use for planning, but possesses great potential to improve the spatial environmental analysis used for planning.

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