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Life Among Urban Planners

Cover bookPractice, Professionalism, and Expertise in the Making of the City
Jennifer Mack, Michael Herzfeld
University of Pennsylvania Press, 2020 - 296 pages
A collection of ethnographic case studies of urban planners and their practices

Adèle ESPOSITO ANDUJAR, Irasec statutory researcher, wrote the chapter "Zoning as Default: The Politics of Foreign-Sponsored Urban Planning in Siem Reap, Cambodia" in this collective book.

Urban planners project the future of cities. As experts, they draft visions of places and times that do not yet exist, prescribing the tools to be used to achieve those visions. Their choices can determine how a city will merge its public transit and automobile traffic or how it will meet a demand for thousands of new dwelling units as quickly and with as little avoidable damage as possible. Life Among Urban Planners considers planning professionals in relation to the social contexts in which they operate: the planning office, the construction site, and even in the confrontations with thos eaffected by their work. What roles do planners have in shaping the daily practices of urban life? How do they employ, manipulate, and alter their expertise to meet the demands asked of them? The essays in this volume emphasize planners' cultural values and personal assumptions and critically examine what their persistent commitment to thinking about the future means for the ways in which people live in the present and preserve the past.

Life Among Urban Planners explores the practices and politics of professional city-making in a wide selection of geographical areas spanning five continents. Cases include but are not limited to Bangkok, Bogotá, Chicago, Naimey, Rome, Siem Reap, Stockholm, and Warsaw. Examining the issues raised around questions of expertise, participation, and the tension between market and state forces, contributors demonstrate how certain planning practices accentuate their specific relationship to a place while others are represented to a global audience as potentially universal solutions. In presenting detailed and intimate portraits of the everyday lives of planners, the volume offers key insights into how the city interacts with the world.

Contributors: Margaret Crawford, Adèle ESPOSITO ANDUJAR, Trevor Goldsmith, Mark Graham, Michael Herzfeld, James Holston, Gabriella Körling, Jennifer Mack, Andrew Newman, Lissa Nordin, Bruce O'Neill, Kevin Lewis O'Neill, Federico Pérez, Monika Sznel.