Although cities have always to some extent been planned, the modern profession of urban planning emerged during the 20th century in response to deteriorating conditions of contemporary industrial cities and to the dramatic transformations brought about by rapid urbanization. Planning encompasses a wide range of city-making processes and functions, including land use decision making, policy guidance, economic development, and neighborhood revitalization. It seeks to plan cities in such a way as to reconcile the goals of economic development, social justice, and environmental protection.

However, as it evolved from its early design orientation as architecture writ large to its later conceptualization as a generic methodology of rational public decision making, urban planning has become increasingly controversial, both within and without the profession. Critical planning theorists recognize that ...

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