Tag Archives: Rational Planning

Crispness of Planning Process and Occasionallity of Intelligence

The major critique of Rational Planning model, developed by Faludi and supporters the idea of rationality namely the decision-centered view of planning, made by Friedmann considers the issue of the crispness of planning process. However, This seems a little old to discuss but the issue is so imporant and the alternatives in order to tackle the problem is so raw that bringing up the issue, whenever it can be, is severly needed, because still there are a lot of vagueness in alternative approached to be ditected. Therefore there is no argument that rational planning model (based on modern thoughts) has many problems itself, but the other approches have not been convincing enough for planners to be applied by.

Friedmann suggests a new (was new at the time) approach (his famous knowledge and action model) to tackle the aforementioned problems;


By contrast, the new approach which may be called the action planning model fused action and planning into a single operation so that the concep­tual distinctions of planning-decision-implementation-recycling are washed out. This model is close to observable reality. In most situations, it is ex­tremely difficult empirically to isolate the four phases of the classical model, particularly the critical step of decision-making. An action will include delib­eration and choice as pervasive, but these are not to be identified as distinc­tive phases prior to action; they are – inseparably – a part of it (Friedmann, 1969).

This mentioning the issue of crispness which has been pursued in rational planning reminds me of the same problem we face in architecture. Some, perhaps, critisize me due to the structual differnecitation between architecture and planning. But it is not worthless to be mentioed that the recent attempts in architectural design to make a rational decision making pattern (in order to generate a rational decision-making algurithem to use by computer to design the buildings, see John Frazer’s works (School of Design, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University)) and evan in traditional pedagogy of architecture in which students are encouraged to make a separation between different stages of design is very similar to what is being pursued in planning from structural point of view. This mechanical method (machinary thought), instead of reality which seemed very useful for planning as an activity engaged with technical issues vs. architecture as the art of handling the space, can be held by supporters of systems theory.  It was (and is) not successful in both;

In architecture, students and practitioners have been taught to make a separation between the feasibility study stage and design (and implementation) and then between  different elements of design such as Plans, elevations, Sections and Volumes and in some school of thought considering the psychological factors as well.This is exhibited in planning as well in the same sense but with different form, objective, goal and function.

This traditional crispness, beyond the nature of activity seems to be rooted in the nature of human mind trained to analyze the issues in this way. Either it is because of the human mind restrictions of analyzing multiple values and factors, at the same time, or it is pursed to save the time and resources or even for tackling the issue of uncertainty in work, can cause the danger of oversimplification of process by using artificial boundaries between stages and integral variables and their relationships. This is why there are a few examples of work (shaped based on the experience of smart people who can process lots of different factors and see their relationships) which can be considered and named successful work either in Planning or in Design. This is what I would like to call the ‘occasionallity of intelligence’, where there is no rule-based approach.