(…) Planning as a profession evolved mainly in the 20th century, after the second World War. The basic idea was to ‘plan the city’ by controlling it from the beginning to the end. It combined everything —architects, engineers, ecologists, etc in order to tame the city.
And it did well for the next 20 years, but it ended with great frustration because planners realised they advocated full control but when the system came into use, the plan was going the other direction. That’s when we started to realise the new idea of complexity — that cities are complex systems and it’s difficult to tame them. Because it is unpredictable and the planning in the 50s and 60s was based on prediction, it was called rational comprehensive planning.
Looking at cities as complex systems, one cannot look at it externally; we’re a part of that system. For instance, when a city plans ahead, let’s say, five years and starts to make provisions for, say, housing, then it is actually giving people a reason to shift to that city.
Planners need to understand that they are part of that system and be modest.