Rethinking Scholarship on Planning Ethics

Authored by: Tanja Winkler

The Routledge Handbook of Planning Theory

Print publication date:  August  2017
Online publication date:  August  2017

Print ISBN: 9781138905016
eBook ISBN: 9781315696072
Adobe ISBN:


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Many scholars accept that planners operate at the interface of knowledge and action (Friedmann, 1987; cf. also Campbell, 2012a; Fainstein, 2010; Flyvbjerg, 2001; Healey, 1997; Porter, 2010; Sandercock, 2003; Yiftachel, 2006). Many equally accept that operating at this interface necessitates not only an awareness of how we know (epistemology), but also an awareness of our value-based judgements (or ethical principles), since ethical principles guide discursive and material actions, and vice-versa. Stated differently, epistemological standpoints and accompanying actions shape—and are shaped by—ethical principles. This suggests articulating knowledge, actions and ethical principles as recursively interlinked conditions, rather than as separate preconditions that occur before each other in some linear, causal chain of events (Davoudi, 2015). Planning might, therefore, be conceptualised as an epistemology of ethical actions.

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