Macquarie University
01front.pdf (221.3 kB)

Theoretical approaches to urban environmental planning

Download (221.3 kB)
posted on 2022-03-28, 20:11 authored by Peggy James
This thesis documents and examines seven histories of environmental and planning thought over the last century, drawing on Yiftachel's (1989) classification of planning theories. It provides evidence that environmental and planning theory over time is moving: away from the understanding of nature as an object; away from the notion of a unitary public interest in planning theory; toward an increasing recognition of uncertainty in environmental decisionmaking; away from instrumental rationality in planning decisionmaking; away from hard determinism in urban design and planning control theory; away from direct pollution controls in environmental policy theory.-- This thesis argues that these changes can be understood in the context of broader philosophical shifts around the issues of being, knowing and acting, involving a reevaluation of the relationships between: subject and object; value and fact; cause and effect.-- It suggests that the changes indicate a shift away from philosophical rationalism in policy theory over time. The thesis concludes that neither the extremes of rationalism or relativism provide a sound theoretical foundation for environmental planning. It suggests that future theoretical development is likely to come from the interaction of theoretical approaches influenced by non-Western cultures, and innovations produced by local cultures adapting existing theories to meet their specific needs.


Table of Contents

Introduction -- "Being" in environmental and planning theory -- "Knowing" in environmental and planning theory -- "Acting" in planning and environmental theory -- Philosophy in environmental and planning theory -- Conclusion.


Bibliography: leaves 102-116

Awarding Institution

Macquarie University

Degree Type

Thesis masters research


Thesis (MSc), Macquarie University, Graduate School of the Environment

Department, Centre or School

Graduate School of the Environment

Year of Award


Principal Supervisor

Richard Cardew

Additional Supervisor 1

Alistair Gilmour


Copyright disclaimer: Copyright Peggy James 1998. This thesis was digitised for the purposes of Document Delivery. Macquarie University ResearchOnline attempted to locate the author but where this has not been possible; we are making available, open access, selected parts of the thesis which may be used for the purposes of private research and study. If you have any enquiries or issues regarding this work being made available please contact Macquarie University ResearchOnline - If you wish to access the complete thesis, on receipt of a Document Supply Request, placed with Macquarie University Library by another library, we will consider supplying a copy of this thesis. For more information on Document Supply, please contact




116 leaves

Former Identifiers

mq:3010 1285208

Usage metrics

    Macquarie University Theses


    Ref. manager