This book explores the eventful but largely forgotten history of national planning efforts in the United States, first identifying and comparing five alternative approaches to contemporary national planning, then using these approaches to assess the events of 1973-1976, a period when crisis pressures brought a vigorous resurgence of national planning activity and debate. Dr. Wilson concludes that two new approaches to planning— "learning-adaptive" and general systems—are increasingly being used in lieu of the long-established, and less flexible, rational and incremental approaches, and that these might eventually achieve a beneficial new synthesis in both federal policy practice and social science theory. He argues that the twin questions of a planned versus a planning society and of who will plan for whom are inexorably emerging as key issues in U.S. public policy. Along with its companion volume—National Planning in the United States: An Annotated Bibliography, also published by Westview—this book provides extensive new interdisciplinary research material and integrative perspectives on current planning challenges.
Preface -- "National Planning?" -- Analytical Approach -- Prologue: Past American National Planning Efforts and Ideas -- American National Planning Efforts and Ideas in Retrospect, 1900-1972 -- Related Planning Trends in the 1970s -- Analytical Framework: Five Approaches to National Planning -- The Framework Applied: The Growth and Resource National Planning Debates, 1973-1976 -- The Infirmities of Age: The Incremental and Rational Approaches -- The Challenges of Youth: The General Systems and Learning-Adaptive Approaches -- American National Planning: The Future