Urban Planning in the 1960s
A Design for Irrelevancy
Nathan Glazer has called Marshall Kaplan "the best social planner of the 1960s" and asserts that this book "does for 1973 what Herbert Gans's People and Plans did for 1963." Kaplan states at the outset that "it can be said that one need not look far for evidence, even if anecdotal, to show that the impact of the planning profession on the quality of urban life has been marginal at best and, at times, negative. Certainly, twenty years of federal planning assistance programs have not visibly built up the planning capacity of local governments or improved the quality of local life. Indeed, the prime beneficiaries of such aid seem to be, not local governments or local residents, but local and national consultants."Most plans prepared by most city planners have failed to pay heed to the many culturally and economically determined differences in life style of residents of the nation's cities and suburban areas. Plans, when heeded, have often either led to an allocation of scarce resources away from the least advantaged members of urban society or, as in urban renewal, had a directly negative effect on their lives. Somewhat surprisingly, even the more affluent members of society have not found their legitimate needs and their observed behavior patterns reflected in most community plans."