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Planning in Postmodern Times

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Philip Allmendinger, RTPI Library Press/Routledge,2000

What can I say? Post Modernism can be so infuriating. What is intended to be a critique always ends up in relativistic circles.

Allmendinger ends one chapter with the classic, 'within such a framework which conforms to the broad thrust of post modernism as I defined it, a community may wish to follow a more diverse and inclusive approach. But equally, they may not'.

The gist of the book is that at the end of a proscriptive period in planning, new opportunities for participation give people a choice - a diversity of equally valid options.This vacuous formulation, posed as an alternative to authoritarianism, is in fact a restatement of proscriptive intolerance in another guise. To his credit, Allmendinger also recognises that consensus is often the antithesis of decisiveness. With too much diversity, he argues, 'comes the dangers of delay, inflexibility and NIMBY thinking'. This book is an interesting attempt to reconcile the irreconcilable.

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