An Elaboration on the Process of Urbanization and the Procedure of Strategic Urban Planning with regard to the Appertaining Globalized Policies

Mohammad Reza Nematinasab


Urban planning, by its nature, is essentially concerned with shaping the future. This does not mean, however, that town planners are able to ignore the past. In an older urbanized country such as Britain they have, fairly obviously, to work with physical structures and urban arrangements inherited from the past. What is less obvious though is that the concerns and ideologies of the town planners themselves are also products of the past. Planners carry with them professional assumptions about the need to regulate and order urban space and about the ways in which they should do this. They also work within a planning system that embodies past political assumptions about the institutional location, purpose and instruments of planning policy. And, not least, they have to live with the consequences of past planning decisions, expressed within the fabric of towns and cities. All this is by way of arguing that to understand town planning properly, it is essential to understand how it has developed. This is not to say that planners or indeed society should drive into the future with eyes fixed exclusively on the rear-view mirror. Quite obviously this would be a recipe for disaster, although the analogy aptly reminds us that failing to look behind can also produce disaster, however exhilarating it may be in the short term. Nor is it to say what many planners certainly thought in more pessimistic moments during Thatcherite assaults on their activities, that the past was the only thing they had to look forward to. Clearly, it is always important to appreciate that town planning as a tradition of thought, policy and action has a breadth, depth and diversity that may not be immediately apparent in the way it is practiced today. But however much we might yearn for the Utopian socialism of the early days or the political backing for the strong and socially concerned planning system created in the 1940s, we must also understand the reasons why they were superseded. The present paper constitutes an elaboration on the procedure of strategic urban planning in the light of the emergent innovations in the field.

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