Overcrowding, pollution, congestion and traffic are some of the reasons why most governments need to focus on the planning of cities and the adjacent neighborhood. For example, in United States, Chicago is one of the cities that exhibit most of these factors thus necessitating planning. Traditional planning methods focused on bringing down old buildings and building new low-income buildings. However, this did not stop the formation of slum-like dwellings. Modern city planning was thus necessary. It focuses on improving city economic as well as social aspects of city living. Contemporary urban planning is one of the planning processes that helps achieve this goal. This paper will focus on rational, disjointed incremental, middle-range and collaborative rationality models of contemporary urban planning . Examples within Chicago will also be provided.
Contemporary urban planning is mainly focused on climatic and environmental change. There is growing need for cities and nations to plan their cities in such a way that they shall not be affected by the changing climatic and environmental changes. The main concern is global warming, which makes cities vulnerable to flooding as well as pollution. As a result, city planners emphasize the need for orderly planning of the city in connection to avoiding distractions foretold to result as a result of global warming. Some of the planning processes or the theories Chicago city has used include rational model, disjointed instrumentalism, middle-range model and collaborative rationality.
Rational model is the most dominant planning theory applied in contemporary urban planning. It is also used in the planning of transportation structures. It is a multiple step planning process (Levy, 2013). The steps include defining and detailing a problem which entails identifying the problem to be solved. The next step is generating all the possible solutions to the problem. From there, the possible solutions are assessed, and the best alternative is identified. The alternative is then implemented, monitored and evaluated. The model has one major disadvantage which is that it fails to address political interference in the planning process .
In Chicago, the rational planning process is one theory that has been used widely in city planning. The Chicago area transportation (CAT) is one of the city plans which used this planning model. First the problem was identified which was to reduce traffic as well as include modern transportation structure throughout Chicago. Next surveys were conducted to define clearly this problem, obtain ideas from the public on their view of the construction of CAT as well as solutions for the congestion and traffic problem. The surveys were successful in the planning committee sat down to identify the best alternative. Next plans were laid down and the CAT plan idealized .
Disjointed instrumentalism model is the other planning model used by Chicago metropolitan. The model entails risk-taking as goals are made, and planners do not keep evaluating the decisions made. It is used where little past experience exists to rely on. It is also used when time and a lot of resources are not available to the planners. All possible solutions are thus not considered in this planning model. Only a short list is composed and the best, though not optimum, the solution chosen and implemented. The main aim is to reduce the cost of data collection and its computation (Levy, 2013). An example, within the Chicago Metropolitan where this planning model has been used is sustainable urban infrastructure project.
The middle-range is another planning model that has been implemented by the Chicago Metropolitan. The model employs a combination of both rational and disjointed incremental models. Depending on resources and time available, planners choose whether to conduct surveys and how detailed the information they need. They thus decide whether to use the incremental or rational model to determine the problem and identify solutions. Next, they implement and evaluate findings mainly by use of the rational model as it gives a more outcome (Levy, 2013). An example of a project in Chicago that has used this planning model is the 2014-2018 housing plan.
Collaborative Rationality is the most recent theory of planning to be developed. It focusses on the participation of people with different interests and educational background who come together and contribute to the planning process regarding their line of work (Levy, 2013). The Collaborative nature of the model ensures that project undertaken will be mutually beneficial to as many people as possible as the diverse interests of the public are represented in the planning. This model is the commonly used nowadays. An instance within Chicago, where it has been used is Go To 2040 plan.
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