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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Book Review: The Deliberative Practitioner: Encouraging Participatory Planning Processes by John Forester

  • Author(s): Pongsawat, Pitch
  • et al.

Since the 1980’s, when the ‘specter’ of state intervention was at last being exorcised from models of planning practice, planning profession- als have been caught in a malaise. In an era of ascendant neo-liberalism, ‘market-based’ approaches have robbed the profession of some of its former grandeur. Lest we despair, John Forester has spent much of this period relaying the stories of practicing planners in the hope that we may find new values in their experiences. The Deliberative PractitionerisForester’s latest take on this task.

In this book, we see contemporary planners telling themselves how significant their work is — before leaving their houses, while at their desks, or caught in a routine meeting. By focusing on the day-to-day, Forester’s work is an important example how the justification of plan- ning can take new form. Where before the ‘public good’ justified plan- ning at a macroscopic scale - which implied state intervention - here we find justification through the planner’s routine roles in the processes of participation.

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