I don’t have a background in planning, so have relatively little to comment on Couclelis’ article. What I don’t understand is why planners have abandoned the strategic approach, and instead focus on what seems to be contemporary problem mitigation. Sure, there have been failures in strategic planning – some of those new towns and new housing projects in the UK come to mind, but how are we supposed to try to implement values of sustainability and similar without such an approach?
I’d also like to ask, where does GIS come into this article? It certainly comes in when the author throws around statements like “[planning should be] better integrated with certain informal techniques designed to promote its normative and future-oriented dimensions”. Wait a minute…normative dimensions and GIS? There are some things GIS can and cannot do. How are we supposed to take a ‘normative’ approach when planning with GIS? When you put an input into a model and get your output, should it have some kind of normative quality to it? How does a model even do that? I’m not saying that a model is necessarily positive – your output is just more likely to be occur when following a certain set of constraints, but how do we generate output that promotes the normative dimension of planning?