Postmodernism and Planning

M. Dear, “Postmodernism and Planning”, Society and Space, 4, 1986, 367‑384


Postmodernism seems able to embrace any discourse on style, architecture, literature, with equal facility. Yet its erratic and chameleon-like form renders it susceptible to quick dismissal. In this essay, I attempt a tolerant assessment of the meaning of postmodernism as it applies to planning. The notions of postmodernism as style, as method, and as epoch are examined. The history of planning from 1945 to 1985 is deconstructed, and reveals the pastiche of ‘postmodern planning’. A metalanguage for discourse on a reconstructed planning theory suggests three evaluative dimensions: function–context; commodification–noncommodification; and penetration–participation.

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