Planning for post-industrial society : a theoretical framework

Doctoral Thesis


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University of Cape Town

This research stems from the proposition that important qualitative changes are occurring within Western Society, and that these changes call for new forms of individual and organisational adaptation. Planning is a pre-eminently suitable way of adapting in an appropriate fashion to the complexities of change, rather than through ad hoc responses. Four tendencies appear to be prevalent and to persist within what may be termed these technologically advanced societies; these are: high and accelerating rates of technological and social change; an unevenness in these rates of change, especially among different parts of the environment in which organisations operate; an increasing interconnectedness and interdependence among these environmental parts; and an increasing overall size and complexity of the environment and its consistuent organisations. System's theory, it is felt, will provide a particularly apt conceptual framework for the consideration of these problems, which will be made explicit and amplified primarily through an exploration of these concepts which are central to a theory of behavioural systems. It is argued that the conditions in which social activity occurs are, in many parts of the world, becoming subject to important qualitative changes which demand new responses and modes of adaptation of behaviour, which look to what may be termed a new 'appreciative' outlook, in which a central element will be a recognition that units within ecological consideration must become the basis for achieving equitable outcomes. Chapters 7 and 8 discuss planning, the method which all social units at all levels use when attempting to regulate relations with others in order to continue functioning effectively. Here, the conceptual framework will be used to examine this problem of planning. Further, to refine the notion of planning, technical, natural, institutional, economic, conflict and social systems will be examined. In particular, urban planning will be looked at as of increasingly critical concern as the result of the world urbanisation process. A new paradigm for planning will be suggested which draws together the main elements of the thesis, in which the aims and techniques of enquiry will be from the making of explanations which derive from single purpose approaches to the furtherance of understanding desired from a more inclusive and comprehensive standpoint.

Bibliography: leaf 395-409.