L Magee did me the favour of leading one of my class discussions this morning, giving me the chance to watch from the sidelines. The discussion revolved around Sandercock’s historical survey of various progressive, utopian, and radical approaches to planning. I felt just a bit guilty, realising that, when I asked LM to do this, there might have been some reasonable expectation that perhaps this discussion might revolve around… er… radicalism in some form of another. Instead, LM wound up on the receiving end of my students’ rather creative attempts to extract some practical tools from radical planning theories, so that they could apply these in their private sector consultancy work.
LM struggled valiantly to turn the conversation back to the motives or goals of various schools of radical planning, finally offering the explicit challenge: “But – don’t you think that consultants sort of sit outside the radical planning traditions? That they aren’t really trying to represent groups in the community?”
To which one student cooly responded: “Not necessarily. I mean, I know we’ve represented community groups. But… You know… Community groups with money.”