Simone Abram and Gisa Weszkalnys, eds.

Elusive Promises

Planning in the Contemporary World

Berghahn Books 2016

Books ReceivedBooks Received: ArchitectureBooks Received: Big IdeasBooks Received: EconomicsBooks Received: Sociology September 21, 2016

Planning in contemporary democratic states is often understood as a range of activities, from housing to urban design, regional development to economic planning. This...

Planning in contemporary democratic states is often understood as a range of activities, from housing to urban design, regional development to economic planning. This volume sees planning differently-as the negotiation of possibilities that time offers space. It explores what kind of promise planning offers, how such a promise is made, and what happens to it through time. The authors, all leading anthropologists, examine the time and space, creativity and agency, authority and responsibility, and conflicting desires that plans attempt to control. They show how the many people involved with planning deal with the discrepancies between what is promised and what is done. The comparative essays offer insight into the expected and unexpected outcomes of planning (from visionary utopias to bureaucratic dystopia or something in-between), how the future is envisioned at the outset, and what actual work is done and how it affects people’s lives.

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