Democratic Planning and Social Choice Dilemmas: Prelude to Institutional Planning Theory, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Democratic Planning and Social Choice Dilemmas

Prelude to Institutional Planning Theory, 1st Edition

By Tore Sager


340 pages

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Hardback: 9780754619529
pub: 2002-10-28
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Using the economic approach of social choice theory, this unique book examines difficulties found in democratic processes involved in the creation and implementation of planning policies. Social choice theory focuses on the hard trade-offs to be made between rationality in decision-making on the one hand, and political values such as democracy, liberalism and freedom from manipulation on the other. As an institution can be seen as a set of rules, the focus on rules and procedures of collective choice makes social choice theory well suited for analysing important political aspects of planning institutions. Special attention is given to communicative planning and the logical reasons why all the desirable properties of dialogue cannot be simultaneously attained. The analysis provides original and significant new insights into the process and the institutions involved. It highlights weak spots of present planning techniques and procedures and suggests further steps towards institutionally enriched planning theory.


’The significance of the nature of process or procedure in shaping decision patterns and outcomes has been well received by institutional theorists. Professor Sager’s Democratic Planning and Social Choice Dilemmas: Prelude to institutional planning theory is an important contribution to the emerging literature on the institutional setting for planning. With systematic and critical reference to the impossibility theorems� of Kenneth Arrow, Amartya Sen, Allan Gibbard and Mark Satterthwaite, this major work of Sager succeeds not only in presenting a case for constraining the ways in which planning decisions are made in a participatory process but also offering a perspective to reinterpret the paradigm of crisis� for the planning profession.’ Lawrence Wai-chung Lai, University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong ’Tore Sager has produced a tour de force by asking a simple question: How do groups choose? With it he shines the bright light of social choice theory on the foundations of communicative planning theory. Made visible are the voids, contradictions and undeclared assumptions. And the bar has been raised for rigour in planning theory. This book is a must for anyone with a serious interest in the field.’ Michael Poulton, Director, School of Planning, Dalhousie University, Canada ’Tore Sager provides a sturdy Nordic anchor for the Trans-Atlantic network of scholars involved in the business of planning theory. After his highy regarded Communicative Planning Theory�, his fellows will welcome this thoroughly argued advanced text with open arms.’ Dr. Andreas Faludi, Professor, University of Nijmegen, The Netherlands 'There is much to be welcomed in this book, particularly its focus on practice and its foregrounding of the need to develop an institutional, political and strategic understanding of the contexts in which planning decision-making occurs…The book is rigorous in its approach and comprehensive in its treatment of social choice theor

Table of Contents

Contents: Introduction: The social choice approach to institutional planning theory. Democracy, Rationality, and Planning: Applying Arrow’s Theorem: Paradox of dialogical decision-making: Evaluation and arguments: balancing the procedural values of priority setting techniques; Institutions of communicative-calculative synthesis: structured group processes; Decision cycles in two transport planning cases. Public Interest and Protected Spheres: Applying Sen’s Theorem: Democratic planning and the liberal paradox; Loyalty dilemmas in advocacy planning; Privacy as a planning problem: transport-related examples; Equality and planning with protected spheres. Manipulation in Planning: Applying Gibbard and Satterthwaite’s Theorem: Power concentration or manipulation in the planning process; Planning style and agency properties; Agency profiles applied to positive planning theory; Economics of dialogue: hard trade-offs in communicative planning; Epilogue: Challenge and response; Bibliography; Glossary of social choice terms; Index.

About the Author

Tore Sager, Professor, Department of Transport Engineering, Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), Trondheim, Norway.

About the Series

Urban and Regional Planning and Development Series

Urban and Regional Planning and Development Series
Based on over a decade of publishing the highest quality research, the Urban and Regional Planning and Development Series has developed a strong profile. It is internationally recognised for its high quality research monographs. The emphasis is on presenting original research findings which are informed by theoretical sophistication and methodological rigour. It is avowedly global in its outlook, with contributions welcomed from around the world. The series is open to contributions from a wide variety of disciplines, including planning, geography, sociology, political science, public administration and economics.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Public Policy / Regional Planning