Collaborative Planning in an Uncollaborative World

Frank Gaffikin, R. Brand

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

155 Citations (Scopus)


The purpose of this paper is to expose the concept of collaborative planning to the reality of planning, thereby assessing its efficacy for informing and explaining what planners 'really' do and can do. In this systematic appraisal, collaborative planning is disaggregated into four elements that can enlighten such conceptual frameworks: ontology, epistemology, ideology and methodology. These four lenses help delimit and clarify collaborative planning's strengths and weaknesses. The conceptual debate is related to an empirical investigation of planning processes, ranging from region-wide to local and from statutory to visionary in an arena where special care has been invested in participatory deliberation processes. The final analysis provides a systematic gauge of collaborative planning in light of the extensive empirical evidence, deploying the four conceptual dimensions introduced in part one. This exposes a range of problems not only with the concept itself but also regarding its affinity with the uncollaborative world within which it has to operate. The former shed light on those aspects where collaborative planning as a conceptual tool for practitioners needs to be renovated, while the latter highlight inconsistencies in a political framework that struggles to accommodate both global competitiveness and local democratic collaboration.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)282-313
Number of pages32
JournalPlanning Theory
Volume6 (3)
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2007

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences(all)
  • Geography, Planning and Development


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