The Network Society : A New Context for Planning book cover
1st Edition

The Network Society
A New Context for Planning

ISBN 9780415701518
Published December 20, 2005 by Routledge
368 Pages

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Book Description

In a clear and rewarding style, Albrechts and Mandelbaum consider the challenges that the new paradigm of the Network Society creates for Urban and Regional Planning. Chapters grouped into five themes discuss theoretical and practical perspectives on the contemporary organization of social, economic, cultural, political and physical spaces. These sections are:

  • models of the Network Society
  • the impact of physical networks such as transport
  • challenges for Planners raised by society’s increased reliance on new technology
  • an examination of local networks including community networks and the possibilities of setting up local networks for disaster recovery
  • a comparison of spatial and policy networks and an exploration of the institutions involved.

This book is essential reading for graduate level courses in urban studies, city and regional planning, and urban design. With its clear structure – unitary sections but a diversity of perspectives – the book can be used easily in courses such as Planning Theory, Urban Infrastructure and Public Policy.

Table of Contents

List of figures

List of tables



Introduction: A New Context for Planning?

Louis Albrechts and Seymour J. Mandelbaum

1 The Network Society: A New Paradigm?

1.1 Communicative Action and the Network Society: A Pragmatic Marriage?

Niraj Verma and HaeRan Shin

1.2 Planning and the Network City: Discursive Correspondences

Robert A. Beauregard

1.3 Escaping the Prison of "the Present Place": Can We Plan the Future of Localities in the Context of a Network Society?

Dowell Myers

1.4 The Discourse Network: A Way of Understanding Policy Formation, Stability, and Change in the Networked Polity

Nicholas Low

1.5 Commentary: Networks and Planning Thought

Judith E. Innes

2 Organization of Space and Time

2.1 Impact of Physical Networks

2.1.1 Cities and Transport: Exploring the Need for New Planning Approaches

Luca Bertolini

2.1.2 Networking for Trans-National "Missing Links": Tracing the Political Success of European High-Speed Rail in the 1990s

Deike Peters

2.1.3 Strategies for Networked Cities

Stephen Graham

2.1.4 The "Network City": A New Old Way of Thinking Cities in the ICT Age

Paul Drewe


2.1.5 Commentary

Gabriel Dupuy

2.2 Organization of Space and Time: Challenges for Planning and Planners

2.2.1 Planning as Persuasive Storytelling in the Context of "the Network Society"

James A. Throgmorton

2.2.2 Network Complexity and the Imaginative Power of Strategic Spatial Planning

Patsy Healey

2.2.3 Commentary: Imagining Urban Transformation

Leonie Sandercock

3 Policy Networks and Governance

3.1 Local Networks and Capital Building

3.1.1 Why Liberal Planning Cannot Manage the Network Society: Lessons from Community Action

Howell S. Baum

3.1.2 ICT-Enforced Community Networks for Sustainable Development and Social Inclusion

Klaus Frey

3.1.3 Recovery from Disasters: Challenges for Low Income Communities in the Americas

William J. Siembieda

3.1.4 The Multicultural City in the Age of Networks

Xavier de Souza Briggs

3.1.5 Commentary

Susan S. Fainstein

3.2 Governance Capacity, Policy Networks, and Territorial Specificities

3.2.1 The Global Emergence of Private Planning and Governance

Chris Webster and Shin Lee

3.2.2 Inter-Agency Transport Planning: Cooperation in a Loose Policy Network

Tore Sager and Inger-Anne Ravlum

3.2.3 Collaborative Planning, Commitment, and Trust. Dealing with Uncertainty in Networks

Ronald G.H. van Ark and Jurian Edelenbos


3.2.4 Reconnecting Space, Place, and Institutions: Inquiring into "Local" Governance in Urban and Regional Research

Enrico Gualini

3.2.5 Commentary: Governance Capacity, Policy Networks, and Territorial Specificities

Patsy Healey



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Louis Albrechts is professor of planning in the Department of Architecture, Urban and Regional Planning, University of Leuven, Belgium. Seymour Mandelbaum is professor of City and Regional Planning at the University of Pennsylvania, USA


"Albrechts and Mandelbaum present 18 papers,along with occasional commentaries, that take different positions on the question of whether the concept of “network society” (associated with the work of Manuel Castells) should be considered a new context for planning. The papers are organized into sections broadly concerned with the impact of physical networks; challenges for planning and planners inthe organization of space and time; local networks and capital building;and governance capacity, policy networks, and territorial specificities." --Reference & Research Book News