Forester Presents at Planning Thought Lecture Series

October 1, 2014

John Forester, professor of city and regional planning, was an invited speaker at the Evolution of Planning Thought lecture series in Vienna, Austria, in May.

With the approaching retirement of a generation of faculty who led planning to be recognized as an intellectual field of research, the Evolution of Planning Thought project was born in Vienna to "capture their wisdom for our collective benefit." Speakers included the late Sir Peter Hall; Patsy Healey, Klaus Kunzmann, and Louis Albrechts, cofounders of the Association of European Schools of Planning; and among the fifteen invitees, five from the U.S. including John Friedmann, Judith Innes, Peter Marcuse, Charles Hoch, and  Forester.

Forester's lecture, titled "On the Evolution of a Critical Pragmatism," linked his early studies of what planners do — particularly in his influential Planning in the Face of Power (University of California Press, 1989) — to his development of an innovative method of gathering diverse, practice-focused oral histories, which led to four book-length studies of participation and negotiation in planning. That work also spawned forthcoming books on exemplary planning practices of organizing and improvisation in New Orleans and Holland.

The Vienna lecture series investigated how planning scholars have developed theories and conceptual tools, how these shaped the development of practice, and how planners have organized themselves at an international and global scale. Each public lecture was followed by an informal reception, allowing participants an opportunity for discussions with presenters. Presentations from the symposium will appear in a book slated for release in late 2015.