22 Myers, Kitsuse 2000 Constracting the Future in Planning
Planning’s broad relevance and its interdisciplinary inclusiveness have served as both a strength and
One emphasis that has been identified as central to the intellectual and professional
identity or mission of planning is “foresight” (Markusen 1998), “a focus on the future and
pathways of change over time” (Strategic Marketing Committee of ACSP 1997), or “persuasive
storytelling about the future”
A Surprising Neglect (hüljatud). “....planning has lost sight of the future....Planning voluntarily is
sacrificing its role as visionary and idealist and is abandoning its responsibility to be a source of
inspiration and ideas about what might be and what ought to be”.
In planning practice, the recent surge of interest in visioning exercises has raised awareness of
planners’ role in shaping the future, in some cases 3 bringing the future to the forefront of high-
profile community participation campaigns.
incorporated into long-range plans. Also absent from planners’ approach to the future is a systemic
understanding of how multiple trends will extend forward and interact with one another, shaping
new possibilities and patterns of behavior in the process. This unidimensional approach is most
evident in planners’ treatment of population growth, which tends to be conceived as simply today’s
population grown bigger.
At the same time, the planning profession’s effort to become more relevant within the local political
scene has strengthened planners’ emphasis on shortrange planning driven by two-year budget cycles
and the short-term horizons of the electoral process.
This deficiency is unfortunate because academics have the potential to offer practitioners the solid
theoretical background that might inform richer, better developed statements about the future. The
relative absence of academic attention to the future may stem from several causes.
Neglect of the future may also arise as a byproduct of a newly strengthened focus on spatial analysis.
Space and time are two essential dimensions for describing the world, but it is difficult to focus on
both at once.
As opposed to the needed focus on time, recent developments in urban theory have emphasized
spatiality, contributing significant new discoveries