Maladaptive Planning and the Pro-Innovation Bias: Considering the Case of Automated Vehicles

Antonio Ferreira, Kim von Schönfeld, W.G.Z. Tan, Enrica Papa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleProfessional


This article argues that a more critical approach to innovation policy within planning is needed and offers recommendations for achieving this. These recommendations entail rethinking the values, focus, speed, and legitimacy of innovations. It takes a critical perspective on how contemporary societies treat rapid innovation as having necessarily positive results in the achievement of objectives such as sustainability and justice. This critical perspective is needed because innovation can both contribute to and drive a form of maladaptive planning: a collective approach to reality that imposes constant and rapid changes to societal configurations due to an obsession with the new and with too little rapport with the problems in place or that it creates. A maladaptive direction for transport planning is used as a sectorial illustration of the broader conceptual ideas presented: for both sustainability and social justice reasons, it would be desirable to see peak car occurring. However, the car industry is presenting driving automation as an innovation with the potential to restore the vitality of the private vehicles market while creating effective means to dismiss alternatives to car dominance. View Full-Text
Original languageEnglish
Article number41
JournalUrban Science
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2020

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