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Self-perceptions of the role of the planner

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  • Linda Fox-Rogers
  • Enda Murphy

Abstract

The role of the planning practitioner has received considerable attention in a diverse range of theoretical and empirical debates within the broad spectrum of planning scholarship from normative debates surrounding the planner's role in society, to more empirical investigations into the skills, attributes, and evolving nature of planning practitioners. Fundamental questions surrounding the role and purpose of planners have also entered into more mainstream discussions as the democratic nature of the planning system has been consistently undermined by allegations of misconduct, corruption, and incompetence. Despite the broad range of literature and debate which centres on the role of the planner, relatively few studies have explored the views of planning practitioners themselves, making it difficult to judge whether the ideas of planning academics are actually shared by those in the field. In this paper we seek to address this particular gap and argue that such insights are critical in determining the extent to which planning practitioners serve to challenge, maintain, or reinforce existing power imbalances in the planning system. The methodology consists of a series of qualitative interviews with twenty local authority planners working throughout the Greater Dublin Area, Ireland. The results suggest that planners' self-perceptions of their role tend to reflect traditional pluralist and managerialist perspectives. More broadly, the results suggest that the role orientations of contemporary planners are being shaped by dominant discourses in current planning ideology — namely, collaborative and participatory approaches.

Suggested Citation

  • Linda Fox-Rogers & Enda Murphy, 2016. "Self-perceptions of the role of the planner," Environment and Planning B, , vol. 43(1), pages 74-92, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:sae:envirb:v:43:y:2016:i:1:p:74-92
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