Open Access Journal

ISSN: 2183-7635

Commentary | Open Access

The Death and Life of Collaborative Planning Theory

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Abstract:  It has been over 20 years since Judith Innes proclaimed communicative action to be the “emerging paradigm” for planning theory, a theoretical perspective which has been developed into what is known as collaborative planning theory (CPT). With planning theory shifting to a new generation of scholars, this commentary considers the fate of this intellectual movement within planning. CPT never achieved the paradigmatic status its advocates desired because of its internal diversity and limited scope. However, its useful combination of analytical and normative insights is attracting the interest of a new generation of researchers, who are subjecting it to rigorous empirical testing and addressing longstanding theoretical weaknesses. Like Jane Jacob’s classic book the Death and Life of Great American Cities, CPT has made an enduring impact on planning theory, even as it has failed to achieve a total revolution in thinking.

Keywords:  collaborative planning theory; communicative action; Jürgen Habermas; planning theory



© Robert Goodspeed. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license (, which permits any use, distribution, and reproduction of the work without further permission provided the original author(s) and source are credited.