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Both Process and Outcome Are Essential to Planning


The research addresses practitioners’ perspective on the theoretical debate over process versus outcome. Analysis of 119 structured interviews of exemplary planners on their roles, goals, constraints, and strategies finds support for both sides. Planners are process-oriented facilitators who use communication and networking strategies. Ninety-five percent are outcome oriented, either toward their own goals, such as equity, or their agencies’, such as affordable housing. They plan in institutionally constrained practice settings of unequal power. They tailor strategies to constraints of politics, bureaucracy, or limited resources. Thus, planners reconcile the debate, using processes to achieve valued outcomes.

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