Planning als leerproces : een grondslagenonderzoek (samenvattend overzicht)

F. Kleefmann

Research output: Thesisinternal PhD, WU


"Planning as a learning process: a study of fundamentals" is the overall title of three publications by the author, which are a response to the demand for clarification of the principles underlying the task and function of planning within contempary social organization. The publications are:

1. ACTION, ITS CONTEXT, AND PLANNING: a theoretical sociological exploration. (Wageningen, 1985).
2. PLANNING AS AN INVESTIGATIVE TOOL: physical planning as an instrument for reconnaissance. (The Hague, 1984).
3. OUR ENVIRONMENT AS A CHALLENGE: designing as an investigative tool in the search for an understanding of the content and meaning of the built-up environment. (Rotterdam, 1984).

The first of these publications starts with an analysis of the concept of "action". This is done with reference to the theories of authors such as Alfred Schutz and Jürgen Habermas. In the resulting picture of the process of action, the positions of planning and learning can also be pinpointed. Continuing along this path, a paradigm of contemporary social organization, its manipulation, and the position of planning therein, is developed. Finally, the problems surrounding the functioning of social organization as a whole as well as the associated problems of its manipulation, and the problematic aspects of planning in the broad sense, are analysed.

The second publication focuses these analyses on the specific field of physical planning. In the third publication, the meaning of these analyses is linked with spatial design in the domain of architecture and town planning.

The quintessence of what can be learned from these analyses is that in terms of the social and the physical organization of modern society there is a need to make a conscious search for a meaningful direction of development and, consequently, to adopt a creative approach to the many problems involved. This provides a motive to seek a link with the specific characteristics of the design processes and the role learning plays in these - all the more because the analysis of the action process revealed that "action" in the general sense already shows the characteristics of a learning process and that these characteristics can therefore be incorporated in the methodology of processes for social design and learning.

Co-operation between social and physical design on the one hand, and form-giving and science on the other, seems to offer an important possibility: that of fostering political discussion about current social problems - and thereby the prospect of initiating processes of social learning.

Against the background of these explorations, a notion of the task and function of planning within contemporary society is developed: namely, that it is the search for alternative directions for further development by making designs. The corollary of this is that the significance that planning has for the learning processes of society must play an important role when new planning practice is formulated. A number of ideal-typical defining criteria are suggested for such a procedure; these are used to assess the significance of recent developments in the philosophy of planning. This leads to the conclusion that in the "Policyorientated Survey of the Future" prepared by the Netherlands Scientific Council for Government Policy a new and promising planning philosophy is delineated. Further, the potential place of physical planning is elucidated, against the background of its advocated role as an investigative tool for planning in the broader sense. Some practical aspects of this are discussed and a field of operations is defined.

Finally, it is explained that in order to give concrete form to the planning practice advocated, further research and training are needed at several points, and that further orientation and probably even experimentation is needed before the working area can be delimited. Nonetheless, arguments are put forward stressing that the systematic introduction of this procedure should not be postponed indefinitely. The step in this direction taken by the Scientific Council for Government Policy should serve as an example, and this path towards an application-oriented activity for politics, planning and policy should be followed.

Original languageDutch
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • Hofstee, E.W., Promotor
  • Quene, T., Co-promotor, External person
Award date7 Jun 1985
Place of PublicationWageningen
Publication statusPublished - 1985


  • architecture
  • development
  • development planning
  • living conditions
  • physical planning
  • planning
  • policy
  • rural settlement
  • social behaviour
  • social development
  • towns
  • urban planning
  • villages

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