Planning education and the role of theory in the new millennium: a new role for habitat theory?
In the last two decades of the twentieth century, planning pedagogy in New Zealand responded to broader intellectual and social trends, and, arguably, indirect political pressures, with a turn or return, depending upon one’s view of planning history, to matters of process. I would describe this as a retreat rather than return. For example, the widespread rhetoric around the introduction of the Resource Management Act (RMA) in 1991 was that management would now be effects-based. Rather than formulate prescriptive or proscriptive policies, planners were to concentrate instead on guaranteeing that the process of assessing, approving or rejecting applications, handling appeals and monitoring consents was conducted in an efficient, transparent and democratic manner. Consequently, in the planning practice literature of the 1980s and 1990s and the first several years of the new millennium, the main emphasis was on best practice guides or protocols. For example, in New Zealand the 2005 Urban Design Protocol, published by the Ministry for the Environment, argues that good urban design follows the “seven ‘c’s”: context, character, choice, connections, creativity, custodianship, and collaboration. While such principles have merit, they require what I would term the eighth ‘c’: content that operationalises the principles (i.e., what actually makes for durable urban design). Disappointingly, the Urban Design Protocol shies away from saying anything about what is good versus bad urban design.... [Show full abstract]