USE OF "REFLECTIVE CONVERSATION" AS A PROCESS FOR DEVELOPING AN OVERARCHING THEORY OF PLANNING
By John R. Young
A Paper Submitted for Consideration as Fulfillment of the Thesis Requirement of the Masters Degree Program in Planning and Community Development of the University of Colorado at Denver.
Denver, Colorado July 29, 1987
USE OF "REFLECTIVE CONVERSATION" AS A PROCESS FOR
DEVELOPING AN OVERARCHING THEORY OF PLANNING
By John R. Young
A Paper Submitted for Consideration as Fulfillment of the Thesis Requirement of the Masters Degree Program in Planning and Community Development of the University of Colorado at Denver.
Denver, Colorado July 29, 1987
Planning is a relatively young field, and an even younger profession. Social planning is younger still. Much of the theory of planning and the theory used in planning is borrowed and adapted from other fields, such as political science, sociology, and economics.
Three levels of planning theory may be described. The practical level is the level of applied theory and action. The next level is theoretical, wherein sets of concrete statements are formulated.
Finally, there is the "meta-level", the level of grand theory and principles. Most planning theory has been developed at the applied level.
It is probably appropriate that so much of the development of planning theory has occurred at the applied level. Planning is a more practical and action-oriented profession than are most of its social sciences brethren. Yet, particularly because it is practical and action-oriented, planning needs "meta-level" theory at its base. Social planning especiallly should require a solid foundation of theory. Such theory should be a multi-faceted framework which serves to guide the social planner in the direction and nature of his or her professional practice.
This paper attempts to begin to meet the need for such a theory of social planning by outlining a method for developing theory. Based on Donald Schon's concept of "reflective conversation", a five-element process is used as a structure by which to build and modify theory. The first element is to approach the situation and become familiar with it.
The situation in this paper is to develop the theory. To become familiar with theory, chapter one of this paper is a review of literature on planning theory. The second element is to frame the situation, to impose some sort of order upon it. The third element is that of conducting an on-the-spot experiment. The fourth element is to evaluate the experiment and, subsequently, to evaluate the initial framing of the situation in light of the experiment. Chapter two of this paper provides a review of six Colorado state programs to be used in the testing (experiment) of the initial frame of the situation. The six programs are the community Artists-in-Residency program, the Colorado Initiatives
program, the Highway Users Tax Fund, the Impact Assistance Program, the Public School Finance Act, and Statewide Educational Activities for Rural Colorado's Health. Chapter three establishes the initial framing of the situation, which takes the form of a framework for a social planning theory. Then, chapter three sets up an on-the-spot experiment of the framework. Chapter three ends with an evaluation of the experiment, and an evaluation of what the experiment's results indicate for the initial framework of the theory.
The initial framework consists of five elements. The purpose of the theory is to provide a guide of how planning can, should, and sometimes does actually take place. The second element is the definition of the planning activity. Planning activity is defined as a process of problem setting, analysis, feedback and evaluation. The process is characterized by and includes: rationality, deliberation and reflection, value
choices, a plan of action, and response to feedback. The third element is that of the domains of social planning. The domains of social planning are those situations and places where social planning is or may be appropriate. The fourth element is the context in which social
planning takes place. The context for this paper is taken to be the
United States, particularly its political system. It is represented in the experiment by the six state programs. The final element of the initial framework for a theory of social planning is values. Values require the making of choices, the making of decisions.
The experiment used in chapter three is exploratory. It seeks to find out strengths and weaknesses of the initial framework, and thus find directions for continued theory development. The experiment asks three questions of the six programs:
1. Does the program fit within at least one of the domains of
2. Does the program fit within the definition of the planning
3. What, in general terms, is the role of the administrator or practitioner?
The questions do not test all of the theory. However, they do provide a number of indications for improvement of the theory.
The conclusion of the paper reviews the process of theory development, and summarizes the indicated directions for continued development of the theory of social planning. The fifth and final element of the "reflective conversation" process of theory development is to reframe the situation. The directions for continued development are the possible starting points for reframing the initial framework. The paper stops at this point, but the "reflective conversation" continues as long as it takes to develop the theory.
The process of "reflective conversation" is a process of discovery that can be used to develop an ultimately values-based and values-aware theory of social planning that serves to guide the planner in the course of his or her professional practice.
- iii -
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Introduction Problem Statement Methodology and Organization
II. Chapter One:
"A Review of Literature on Planning Theory"
III. Chapter Two:
"A Review of Six State Programs"
IV. Chapter Three:
"A Reflective Conversation: Theory Development"
VI. Bibliography and Footnotes
Thirty years ago, planner A. Benjamin Handler asked Walter Isard, "What is planning theory?" Isard responded that planning theory, as such, did not exist. Instead, Isard thought that the theoretical framework for planning consisted of any and all social science theoretical structures that seemed suitable for helping to solve planning problems. When asked the same question, Hans
Blumenfield referred to most of planning theory as "fads"!* More recently, Dutch "theoretical planner" Willem G. M. Salet wrote that as
far as theory formation is concerned, planning theory is still in its
infancy. Planning is a relatively young field, and an even younger profession. Social planning is younger still. Much of the theory used in planning is borrowed and adapted from other fields, such as sociology, political science, management and organizational sciences, economics, and statistics. Furthermore, of the planning theory that
has actually been developed specifically for planning and by planners, most of its has occurred at one level. Salet described three levels of planning theory development. The highest level, the "meta-level", is that of principles. In the middle is the theoretical level. At the bottom is the applied level of practical research and action. Salet believes that there has been a relatively one-sided development of theory at the applied level.3
That is not a surprising contention. The professional practice of planning is very much practical and pragmatic. Once the planner enters professional practice, there is very little opportunity and seemingly less time to develop theory, particularly at the
"meta-level", upon which to base the course or direction of the planners work. A meta-level or overarching or grand theory seems especially important for the social planner, whose work is particularly related to determining and acting upon societal values.
The role that a social planner plays in the making of public policy varies according to the legal, bureaucratic, and political limits to the specific position of the planner. The role also varies according to the planner's own conception or interpretation (or theory) of what his or her role can and should be. The planner's own theory of planning should serve as the planner's personal and professional guide to thought, knowledge'(and the use of it), and action.
There are two widely accepted roles for the planner. One role is described as that of the technician or advisor. The role is frequently conceived as being "value-neutral". It is a conclusion of this paper that that aspect of the role is misconceived. The technician is not value-neutral. Rather, that planner has, consciously or not, accepted the dominant values of the society. In the United States, those values are frequently expressed through the legislation passed by elected representatives. The level of felt acceptance may vary among technicians, but a basic agreement with or tolerance of society and its dominant values exists.
Another role is that which is often referred to as the advocate or interventionist. The advocate actively seeks to make or to influence the making of public policy. At the extreme, the advocate disagrees with the dominant values of society, and proposes radical changes. Other conceptions of the advocate allow the advocate to work for small increments of change.
PROBLEM STATEMENT THE THESIS
Change is inevitable. The effort to maintain status quo requires more and more energy. It leads to entropy, and the system must change itself in order to maintain itself. Change forces choice, whether it be deliberate decision or unconscious requiescence. The planner must, therefore, make choices, and must do so deliberately, and intelligently, by means of a rational process.
The planning process provides a proven method for making choices. It is, among other things, a way of becoming aware of the values of society, and interacting with those values. However, the planning process does not provide a framework upon which the planner may construct (and reconstruct) his/her own values and social reality. Without such a framework, the planner's own values and social reality are unidentified variables in the planning process. The planner needs some sort of personal and professional theory of planning that provides such a framework, a framework to explain his/her understanding of the nature of society, the nature and function of values and knowledge, and of the relation between knowledge, values and action.
The purpose of this paper is to begin the development of a theory of social planning which will serve as an initial framework, and thereby serve as a guide for the direction of my professional work.
The process for development the theory is derived from Donald Schon's "reflective conversation.1,4 Briefly, the outline of the
- 3 -
reflective conversation as exercised in this paper involves: framing the situation (problem setting) use of repertoire experiment
. reiterating the process
The above "problem statement" serves as an initial framing of the situation. The first chapter of this paper is "Review of Literature on Planning Theory". The choice of the word "review" is deliberate. It is not an analysis, nor an exhaustive survey, nor a random sampling. The methodology of this paper is not scientific nor empirical. A quantitative analysis seemed irrelevant, because the
content of the literature ranges from philosophical to anecdotal. The review is a series of summaries of various books and essays. The summaries serve to further describe the "problematic situation" (the situation to be framed), which is the range of thought on planning theory. Meanwhile, through the process of summarization, the review of the literature becomes a part of the repertoire that is brought into the reflective conversation.
The review of the literature on planning theory begins to answer Handler's question: What is planning theory? The selection of literature was hoped to be somewhat eclectic so that a broad
perspective would be obtained. However, in retrospect, it appears that most of the literature falls within the mainstream of American planning thought. The literature came from three sources: recommendation by members of the University of Colorado at Denver faculty, from perusal
- 4 -
the Auraria Library (of the University of Colorado at Denver) catalog, and from citations and recommendations in the literature itself. The perusal of the library catalog consisted, in part, of computer word searches for "planning theory", "planning philosophy", and other seemingly appropriate combinations of words. Some of the research was simply perusing the indexes of planning-related periodicals for possibly relevant articles. The review is by no means exhaustive or even representative, nor is it meant to be. It is a judgmental sampling, meant to stimulate the author's thinking.
The second chapter, "Review of Six State Programs", summarizes and very briefly compares six programs that are administered and funded by the State of Colorado. The programs were originally selected with a mind as their respective types and levels of assistance to Colorado's small towns and rural areas. The purpose of the programs is now for use in the "testing" of the initial framing of a theory of social planning.
The third chapter, "A Reflective Conversation: Theory Development", begins the process of developing the theory, sets an initial framework, briefly tests a portion of the theory, considers the test, and continues the reflective conversation.
Finally, the paper is summarized in the "Conclusion".
- 5 -
II. Chapter One:
"A Review of Literature on Planning Theory"
Planning Theory in the 1980's: A Search for New Future
Directions, edited by Robert W. Burchell and George Sternlieb,1 is comprised of papers by a number of theorists and practitioners. Burchell's and James W. Hughes' introduction serves to organize the essays into several currents of planning theory. They view the "river" of planning theory as being influenced by four main currents: physical, economic, social and policy planning. The influence upon planning
theory of these currents comes through the need to provide explanations for physical development, economic control, social priorities and policy initiation. Briefly summarized, the four currents are:
1. Physical planning, which arises out of a concern regarding
physical development. It emphasizes form and function. The theory of physical planning has, over time, been concerned with an end-state plan that reflects overriding public interest, and the size, scope, legal authority and position of the plan
relative to its derivative regulations (such as the official map and zoning).
2. Social planning, which, along with a derivative, advocacy
planning, emphasizes the needs and preferences of the consumer population of the plan. Social planning is a reaction to the functional and efficiency orientation of physical planning. It is concerned with the systemic distribution of resources in order to counter social inequities. The derivative, advocacy
planning, is more politicized.
- 6 -
Economic planning, which deals with planned, rather than
market, distribution of goods and services. The theory of economic planning is concerned with who controls that
distribution, the scope of that control, and the legitimacy of controlled goods distribution.
4. Policy planning, which is concerned with decision making in both the private and public sectors. The theory of policy planning considers who decides, the amount of information brought into the decision making process, how alternatives are evaluated, and the likelihood of a decision's success or implementation.2
Within the section on social planning, two models of the planner are presented. The first is the "classical" model, that of the technician. In this model, the planner is a neutral agent. The other model is that of the advocate. The advocacy planner actively represents the interests of those whose interests would otherwise probably not be represented. The advocacy planner is an active decision maker.
American planners have characteristically defined their field in operational terms. The context of their work has been political in a practical sense rather than in a conceptual sense. Planning, writes Irving Lewis Horowitz in "Social Planning and Social Science:
Historical Continuities and Comparative Discontinuities",3 is not simply
a technical chore, it is a "janitorial mission" in service of the
pol-itical system, "with mobilization being the lynchpin of the
During the 1930's in both the United States and the U.S.S.R., the "moral foundation" of planning was "absolute rationality". As such, that foundation did not provide a basis for radical action. Instead, it was the source of a new, industrial conservatism. On the whole, Horowitz seems to say that the foundation and that context still hold true, and so too, does the conservatism.
Horowitz lists different ranges of aspects of planning: sectors (public and private), levels of jurisdiction (from local to international), temporal ranges (from short to long), directions/starting points of planning (top-down or from bottom-up), and even orientation/goals (equity versus profitability).
Horowitz mentions that only recently has the search for social science antecedents turned to contributions made by phenomenology, the new philosophy of language, and symbolic interactionism within sociology.
Planning has limits within a democratic context. He quotes Mannheim on "planning for freedom".
"Our task is to build a social system by planning, but planning of a special kind: it must be planning for freedom, subjected to democratic control; planning, but not restrictionist so as to favor group monopolies either of entrepreneurs or workers'
- 8 -
associations, but "planning for plenty," i.e., full employment and full exploitation of resources; planning for social justice rather than absolute equality, with differentiation of rewards and status on the basis of genuine equality rather than privilege; planning not for a classless society but for one that abolishes the extremes of wealth and pverty; planning for cultural standards without "leveling down" a planned transition making for progress without discarding what is valuable in tradition; planning that counteracts the dangers of a mass society by coordination of the means of social control but interfering only in cases of institutional or moral deterioration defined by collective criteria; planning for balance between centralization and dispersion of power; planning for gradual transformation of society in order to encourage the growth of personality; in short, planning but not regimentation."5
The Paul Davidoff article is short. The title, "The Redistributive Function in Planning: Creating Greater Equity Among Citizens of Communities:",6 tells the main point. For further explanation, Davidoff writes:
"The redistributive function in planning is aimed at reducing negative social conditions caused by great disparities in the possession, by classes of the population, of important resources resulting from public or private action. It aims to create conditions of greater justice, equality, or fairness -which is usually termed equity." 7
- 9 -
The goal of the redistributive function may be substantive or it may be procedural (relating to the process of system of decision making).
Davidoff does not allow for "neutral turf" in planning. All
planning issues have a distributive impact, and are, according to his standards, productive or counterproductive. "As long as poverty and racism exist in our society, there is an ethical imperative for a
single direction in planning."
All planning, says Chester W. Hartman in "Social Planning and 9
the Political Planner", is inherently and deeply political. A
planner's work is never free of values. However, the level of a
pTanner's self-awareness as to the political thrust of his/her work differs with each planner.
Lisa R. Peattie, in "Politics, Planning, and Categories Bridging the Gap",10 differentiates between politics and planning, in part, by their respective means for achieving their purposes and goals. Politics operates more emotionally, in a more directly coercive vein than does planning. Planning tries to achieve its purpose by
Later, she describes "currents" within advocacy planning. (These currents should not be compared to Burchell's and Hughes' currents.) The currents are:
+ more inclusively pluralistic political process; planner is an instrument of interests otherwise lacking representation.
+ real output of planner's work is growth of radical consciousness and organizational competence in his/her constituency.
+ radical political change in the base of power in society is necessary but not sufficient. Reorganize society along new lines; shifts in the social basis of power.^
Peattie views planning and politics as being closely connected: the vitality of one dependent upon the vitality of the other. Peattie's essay completes the section of Planning Theory in the 1980's on the social current of planning. The next article begins those from the section on public policy planning.
In "Planning Behavior and Professional Policymaking Activity"!2 Lawrence D. Mann begins with a discussion of the "planning profession" and "professionalism". He works into a review of those places and situations "where vital discussion of planning thrives". Mann sees at least three loci outside the traditional "strongholds" of political science, economics and "their sympathetic public sector application".
The first source, or focus, that Mann identifies is the study of group and organizational processes. From this perspective, small group psychology is applied in analyzing the dynamics of planned change.
The second focus is corporate and other organizational planning. Mann notes two aspects particularly: the clear distinction, though subtle, between "planning" and other kinds of "management", and the recognition of two levels of corporate planning: high-level, executive, pervasive; and administrative entity.
The third area where vital discussion of planning thrives is abroad: European, particularly British, public planning. In Britain, a threefold classification of the kinds of planning has received general acceptance. The kinds of planning are: Policy Development, Analysis and Design.
Next, Mann turns to the "essence" of planning. He begins by examining planning behavior in terms of comparing it and distinguishing it from "decision making" behavior and from "management" behavior. Then, he examines "individual planning" as the level at which the essence of planning ought to first be understood. Next, Mann defines planning behavior and the dimensions of personal planning. From individual planning behavior, Mann extends his reasoning to groups.
Planning behavior, says Mann, draws explicitly from a value-structured "memory" or "record" for the criteria by which to evaluate prospective action-sequences. Unlike management behavior, planning generally concentrates on non-immediate futures and action sequences (chains of actions and consequences), rather than action-consequence (as a unit). For the individual, planning is a conscious, cerebral process, directed at governing sequences of activity, also based on value-structured information and available knowledge. "This means that the why of intended activity-sequences is consciously explicit."^
Not surprisingly, personal planning varies from individual to individual, and from situation to situation. That variety creates many of the dimensions of personal planning. The dimensions, as stated by Mann, are:
source of plans (from true invention to fully borrowed)
time span: the period for which planning (short to long)
speed at which planning takes place
perseverance vs. "stop orders" (persistence, ability to reckon required/sufficient effort)14
Mann's intent in examining personal planning is to establish an understanding of the essential nature of planning. He lists four possible approaches by which to extend individual planning to group and organizational levels. The approaches are general systems, micro-aggregation, planner-performance levels of behavior, and evolutionary learning-planning.
One possible approach of extending individual planning behavior to groups is suggested by general systems theory. The various levels (individual on up) may be thought of as "open systems". According to general systems theory, what holds at the level of a subsystem may be argued to hold for an inclusive system. In those open systems where it is found, "planning intelligence" is based on the phenomenon that the future end is already present in thought and directs present action. The prototypical open system in which planning intelligence occurs is the human individual.
The micro aggregation approach assumes that planning at the group level is an aggregation of various planning behaviors. Planning
is "future concern" integrated with "constraint concern". In the third approach, "planner-performer levels of behavior", group planning is seen as different from individual planning because of the separation of roles of planner and performer. For the final approach, "evolutionary learning-planning", Mann refers to Edgar Dunn. Dunn has worked out a way in which organizational planning is tied to social learning at an actual societal level. Social and economic development are seen as an evolutionary process of social learning.
Melvin M. Webber begins "A Difference Paradigm for Planning"1' with the observation that the "idea of planning" remains ambiguous. Conceptions of planning range from management and control by central government, to polite discrimination, to precise scheduling, to being smart about the future, to controlling deviancy, to rotating consumers, and so on and so forth. There is one conception of planning, says Webber, that is eroding, that is a mirage. That conception is "scientific planning".
In its stead, Webber recommends an effective "style" of
planning. Rather than seeking the right answers (a "substantive goal"
- Davidoff), he calls for procedures (Davidoff's "process" goal) that might help plural politics reach decisions in acceptable ways, to obtain "procedurally acceptable resolutions". He calls this "permissive planning", modeled upon the U. S. Constitution.
Planning is not a "substantive field", it is a "cognitive style", a mode of thought. "In its generic essence, it is a special way of thinking about pluralities of individual and group wants and a
special approach to satisfying those variously competing wants.' The planner's role is facilitator of debate, rather than substantive expert. As for the label "difference paradigm", Webber's style of planning is "fundamentally biased toward the defense of difference"1,"7 to encourage the free exchange of dissimilar ideas.
The next article is "Innovation, Flexible Response and Social Learning Problem in the Theory of Meta-Planning",^y John Friedmann. Friedmann commences his article with comments about "allocative planning". He also mentions Faludi's "meta-planning", but fails to adequately describe or define it.
Friedmann posits a society of turbulence (change, upheaval, etc.). He states that in order to live with turbulence, society needs to be changed (transformed). The essential transformation is that of the existing social guidance system into an innovative social learning system. That system would have to meet at least three criteria.
1. Social learning systems should be structured so as to enhance the probability of innovation. With this criteria in mind, note Friedmann's comment that innovations cannot be planned, but are "emergent" novel response to novel challenges or crises.
2. The structure of a social learning system should increase the opportunity for social practice. Why? Through social practice, learning arises from the interplay between knowing and doing.
3. The structure of a social learning system should increase the opportunity for dialogue and face-to-face relations. Social learning is a dialectical as well as dialogic process, a process of reflexive action that takes place in environments
from which we learn in the very process of transforming them 19
Friedmann also presents three general principles for the
"reconstitution" of the social system. First, all powers not
specifically granted to higher units (jurisdictions, organizational levels) should be retained by lower ones. This is the principle of "federation". Second, decisions should be made and actions should be taken at the organizational level where the major effects can be internalized. This is the principle of "internalization". Third, all "cells" should have direct voice and influence in the decisions and actions of higher, aggregated levels. This is the principle of "power at the base". Friedmann has derived these principles as seeming to underlie either already decentralized or else presently decentralizing socialist systems.
What are "cells"? Cells, or "cellular units", are Friedmann's basic elements of a learning society. Two possibilities for organizing cells within a social system are postulated: functional and territorial. Cells which are functionally organized are vertically integrated, related to each other on a basis of dominance, subservience, and self-interest. His example is the "corporate" form
of organization. Ceils which are territorially organized are horizontally integrated. Such cells relate to each other on a basis of shared destiny and sentiment. As an example, he cites "local neighborhood communities".
Both organizational forms exist side-by-side, but essentially do so antagonistically. Since they constitute a "cosmic unity of opposites", each is necessary for the other. The basic problem regarding them is that there is a relative imbalance between them, with the rise of the "functional", while the "territorial" is constantly weakened.
Friedmann lists nine points of departure for thinking about how to proceed to build an innovative, flexible response system. Such a system is intended to further social learning. Friedmann's list serves as a model of a society that is organized on principles of social learning. It is a society that is human-scaled, open to the future, and self-transforming and experimental.
In "The Planner as Interventionist in Public Policy Issues"2,0 Jerome L. Kaufman describes two roles for planners: as an advisor or as an interventionist. He finds two problems with the first role. As an advisor, there is no assurance that public policies and decisions will be substantially affected by the planner. Besides, it is doubtful that most contemporary planners act exclusively as advisors anymore. Having quickly dismissed the "advisor" role, Kaufman concentrates upon the "interventionist" role. The activity of intervention itself has three
"roles": to initiate policy, to modify policy, and to prevent policy from being enacted. As greater intervention is made, or more power is acquired, it becomes more important that such action meet some sort of general test of social benefit. The planner's intervention, believes Kaufman, should be tempered by norms and ethics.
The intervention process follows several steps. The first step is to identify the working objectives. Next, analyze the characteristics of the target group. Thirdly, bridge the target group analysis to the strategy/tactics plan. The fourth step is to develop the strategy/tactical plan. After that, the process proceeds to the execution of- the strategy/tactical plan. The final step of the intervention process is to monitor the results of the strategy/tactical plan.
Kaufman concludes his essay with the thought that planners must make a choice. Given the complex and competitive decision environments within which public policies are forged, and given that planners generally have little formal authority, planners must choose how best to allocate their energies in order to increase their ability to influence decisions, to intervene. The intervention route is an important one for planners to follow, for it should lead to increasing the effectiveness of planning.
Brian J. L. Berry's article, "Notes on an Expedition to Planland",^considers at least two topics: two types of research, and the role of a planner in the United States.
Berry describes two types of research that is related to the planning field. One is disciplinary research. It is the advancement
of knowledge by arriving at empirically valid and theoretically significant conclusions about phenomena deemed to be relevant by and to the discipline of planning. The other type is policy research. Such research provides information that is immediately useful to policy makers in grappling with the problems they believe that they face. The pace of the research is dictated by non-disciplinary imperatives. There are no "self-corrective" methods as there are in disciplinary research. Rarely is there even time in policy research for any sort of reevaluation.
The role of the planner in America is like that of a medical general practitioner: to clean up messes, restore the health of a "sick" patient, and diagnose from symptoms. The planner may even go a step further: to predict future problems and subsequently, devise a means of regulating the system's behavior so as to avoid the future problems. In either case, Berry considers the planner's role to be conservative: system-maintaining.
What about changing the system? Change occurs- in two varieties: incremental and evolutionary, or discontinuous and revolutionary. Berry concludes that revolutionary change of the United States is unlikely. Revolutionary change behavior has historically been quickly dissolved into special interest group pleadings, because of the "extraordinary resiliency of the mainstream".
The choice for a planner who wishes to change the United States, therefore, is to be an "incrementalist in a pluralistic
mainstream dominated by interest-group politics."22Effective change, then, involves interest-group advocacy and, the pursuit of limited, rather than systemic, goals. The planner uses his/her skills to be a change agent by identifying, creating, and realizing opportunities.
"Planning An Historical and Intellectual Perspective"^3by Amitai Etzioni, relates planning to the "active orientation". That is the desire to change things in line with a deliberate purpose. The
active orientation is traced to the beginnings of secularization. "The beginning of the industrial revolution and its intellectual and scientific origin lies in the concept that the laws of nature can be opened to both understanding and control."24
The planning of the future will be affected by several
concepts. The first concept is power. In social action, the future
belongs to those who can build coalitions and minimize strife. Those
who can assemble the larger groups into workable coalitions will have
the real power base. Another concept is consensus, agreement on goals
and directions. "It is a bargained sharing in normative principles and 25
bases". Finally, blending of power (control) and consensus leads to compromise. Etzioni wants to throw out the extremes of "muddling
through" and of the "grand plan". His idea is that goals can be
positively attained without being bogged down in the great details of grand plans.
Etzioni's essay concludes the section on public policy planning. The next section of Planning Theory in the 1980's concerns the current of economic planning.
In his essay, "On Planning the Ideology of Planning', David Harvey seeks to place the planner in the context of a sociological description of society which sees class relations as fundamental.
Within a capitalist state, the government serves several basic functions. Among them are: 1) to stabilize the economic and social system ("crisis-manager"); 2) to try to create conditions for "balance growth" and a smooth process of accumulation; and, 3) to contain civil strife and factional struggles by repression (police power), co-optation, or integration. To do so, means that the state must internalize within its processes the conflicting interests of classes, factions, geographical groupings, etc. As a part of government, a planner's role is to contribute to the process of social reproduction. In resorting to tools of repression, co-optation, and integration, the planner requires justification and legitimation. Harvey says planners confront warring factional interests and class antagonisms, affect reconciliation, and resort to the idea of potentiality for a harmonious balance in society. Harvey states that the ideology of planning is built upon this fundamental notion of social harmony.
Continuing the economic perspective of planning in "Planning an
Advanced Capitalist State Robert A. Beauregard calls for a "coherent
theory of the function of planning in an advanced capitalist society To do so, one must begin with a definition of planning activity, and an identification of its institutional locus.
Planning, as defined by Beauregard, is an activity in which
people attempt to control the present and stabilize the future.
Planning activity includes: positing of goals, calculation of means, evaluation of outcomes, and adjustment of initial hypotheses. The locus of planning lies within the "confines" of the state. Therein, planning is legitimized for public consumption.
The issue addressed in this essay is why the state engages in planning, and concomitantly, the function that planning serves for the state. Beauregard contends that:
"Planners facilitate the accumulation and legitimation functions of the state through the application of technical
expertise to the manipulation of the state surplus. And they
do so with a decided bias for efficiency considerations and thus an implicit orientation towards preserving the status quo of power and privilege. These consequences are unacceptable. The future of planning theory must therefore include a reorientation of the technical base of planning and a restructuring of its relationship with the state.
- 22 -
Beauregard, like Harvey, sees the differentiation of society into classes of people based (at least) on economic wealth. Beauregard attributes this differentiation to the generation of "surplus": surplus wealth, goods or whatever. The existence of a surplus allows the initial differentiation of society. Control over the surplus "perpetuates and strengthens" the differences.30 In order that the state maintains and perpetuates itself, it (the state) must serve two functions: accumulation (protecting private appropriation of surplus) and legitimization (of the state's existence).
Planners (working for the state) perform several tasks in serving these two functions. With regard to legitimization, Beauregard lists two tasks. First, the planner is involved in the efficient allocation and distribution of the surplus in the form of political outputs (i.e., public goods and state programs). Second, the planner is involved in the redistribution of part of the surplus on a basis of equity considerations. In relation to the accumulation function, Beauregard lists four tasks. First, planning is involved in decision making to directly increase the efficiency of the surplus-extracting system by alleviating the impact of market imperfections. Second, planning is involved in the absorption of the costs of economic externalities. Third, planning is involved in reducing the decision costs of certain groups through regulatory and representative activities. Finally, planning is involved in the control of the
uncertain costs of change and of the future through research, computer simulation, scanning and forecasting, futures planning and planning for alternative courses of action.3'*
Britton Harris says, in "The Comprehensive Planning of Location", that planning is more of an art than a science. Yet, he also warns against the "elements of the folklore of an anti-theory of planning"?3 He seems to say that the planning "process" is not more important than the plan (but that does not imply that it is less important). Planning, therefore, is both process and plan.
Harris later introduces the point of view of considering the overall planning process as a part of a process of social learning. A process of social learning, believes Harris, involves popular participation. Popular participation can contribute to an improved understanding of almost every part of the paradigm of the planning process as social learning. Popular participation can more clearly define the values of society. It can lead to more accurate predictions of the ways in which a plan will function. Popular participants can provide suggestions for new planning measures and information regarding the effectiveness of old measures. Through counterplanning and advocacy planning, the range of the search for solutions to planning problems can be widened.
In Harris' paradigm of planning as a process of social learning, he describes three aspects of the realm of true planning
responsibility. First, planning needs better understanding of the way in which society functions and evolves. Second, planning theory and planning processes may be improved in the specification of the value systems which govern development and the choice of plans. That means improving the understanding of explicit as well as obscure values. Third, planning (planners) needs to pay attention to the process of finding and inventing good plans. Harris suggests that, in doing so, planners should look to the emergence of new technologies, new life styles, and new modes of social organization, as sources for new ideas. After presenting the currents of the "river" of planning, the next section of Planning Theory in the 1980's asks "Who are Planners? What do Planners Do?"
In "Three Crises of American Planning," John W. Dyckman quotes a "New Deal planning advocate", Charles E. Merriam, from which the following statement on the purpose of planning is extracted.
"The fear that planning will interfere with the development of free industrial society is groundless. The very purpose of planning is to release human abilities, to broaden the field of opportunity, and to enlarge human liberty. We plan primarily for freedom; the ways and means and instruments are secondary to the main purpose. The right kind of planning democratic planning is a guarantee of liberty and the only real assurance in our times that man can be free and make a wide range of choices."
Dyckman also provides a reason for developing theories of planning. The ideas of planning need guiding theories for the
- 25 -
.important organizing function which such theories can provide. A theory is a point of reference. A theory is a means of validating
knowledge. For example, economic theory is so organized as to say what economics deals with and what it excludes. Likewise, planning theory tells with what planning deals and with what it does not deal. Theory, while always changing to include more elements, is always coherent. Relations that are observed are interpreted and validated by reference to the theory. Theory is largely the construct of professional scholars, but must have application to the work of "men of affairs". Paradoxically, says Dyckman, it is the problem of planning theory that it tends to be pulled apart by its very requirements.
The orientation of planning is largely "professional". Nevertheless, that orientation does not necessarily imply that the appropriate theory for planning is that of rational decision. Some of the models of planning are those of "limited rationality", "incrementalism", planning as "process", "transactive" planning and, "advocacy" planning. Dyckman also mentions the work of Jurgen Habermas, who seeks to synthesize some of the thought of Max Weber, Karl Marx, the neo-Hegelians, and some Existentialism. Habermas has classified three major modes of rationality.
1. Purposive rationality: The model of rational action is suited to theories of rational choice and to planning techniques in areas of strategic action.
2. Systems rationality: Planning theories are laid out in
"systems theoretic" terms, based on a concept of objective reality that is taken from the paradigm of self-regulated systems. This rationality is suited for empirically
substantive theories about object domains in which unities that are clearly demarcated from their environment can be identified.
3. Practical rationality: Planning theories are laid out in
"communications-theoretic" terms, based on a concept of
practical rationality gained from the paradigm of will-forming
discourse (which can be developed in the form of a consensus theory of truth).'^
Finally, Dyckman criticizes American planners as lacking a vision of what kind of state and what kind of politics are wanted.
Because of that lack of vision, planners can be useful to the state without regard to the nature of the state. Dyckman, however, believes that planning can draw on the independence of its intellectual resources to mount a major criticism of the modern state.
"Only by performing this critical function can it achieve ultimate substantive rationality and be true to its intellectual charge." 37
"Seven Hills on the Way to the Mountain: The Role of Planning 38
and Planners'^ is George Sternlieb's essay. Sternlieb provides a list
of seven basic dilemmas of the planner. The first dilemma is that of attempting to define "virtue". Sometimes it is easier to define "sin". Eventually, he uses this dilemma as argument for a neutral role for the planner, along the lines of being a technician.
The second and third dilemmas regard statistics and using them. Dilemma two is "numbers do not read themselves". In other words, a planner must interpret the significance of statistics and other data (analyses). Dilemma three is "have regression, will travel". He warns against the misuse of data, of poor sampling procedures and of badly defined data probes. He admonishes planners to maintain survey methodology and rigorous analysis in qualitative terms. Stern!ieb reminds planners that data analysis provides history, not forecast. Planners must provide the forecast.
The fourth dilemma is "how high the silhouette?". The dividing line between presentation and advocacy is far from wide. He suggests that the role of the planner is one of a unique competence, not one of advocacy. The fifth dilemma is "a world I never made". In this, Sternlieb recommends that planners accept the limitations of the time and the ambience within which they must work. The sixth dilemma is entitled "The sick man of the metropolitan region". He says that planners must be willing to accept the realities of the central city. Part of that reality is that the United States is becoming a centralized entity. The flow of funding dominance is national.
- 28 -
Therefore, help for core areas increasingly comes from forces that local planners and politicians cannot control.
Finally, Sternlieb presents the seventh dilemma, "in the good old bye and bye". He criticizes those of a utopian bent, who advocate "millenialism". Instead, planners must deal with the aches of here and now.
"What is Planning Theory?" asks A. Benjamin Handler in 1957 in the Journal of the American Institute of Planners.39 He does not
completely answer the question, but he begins to do so. Handler had opportunity to ask Walter Isard about planning theory. Isard's response indicated that there was no planning theory, as such. The theoretical framework for planning consists of any and all social science theoretical structures that are suitable for helping to solve urban and regional problems.
Handler also asked Hans Blumenfield about planning theory. Blumenfield is skeptical about planning theory. He indicates that most "planning theory" has been "fads". Instead, he speaks of a basic planning "approach".
J. Douglas Carroll, Jr., responds to Handler's question somewhat differently. Planning theory, as distinct from planning principles, constitutes a framework for decision making. Carroll points out the need for a theory of structure, that the theory needs to be internally consistent, it must search for a balance, and needs to
- 29 -
have a sense of the conservation of human energy. Planning theory, Carroll concluded, must be problem-oriented and impart a knowledge of alternatives and of value judgments.
Handler's own thinking proceeds in a line that surprised me.
"Planning of any kind is possible only when a surplus exists. Unless
production exceeds consumption, you cannot look beyond the end of your
nose with any confidence." The process of answering the question of what to do with surplus constitutes planning. Therefore, says Handler, the subject matter with which planning must deal is capital. The prospective theoretical framework of planning must be stated in terms of capital.
Planning theory is a device, "criterion", or principle for relating the subjects, or components, of planning. Handler discusses two such criteria: efficiency and design. Efficiency is the attainment of a goal with a minimum of use of resources. Design is the relationship between form and function. Planning theory also is a framework for relating human needs and values to its own components and to one another in economics. Planning theory may also provide a framework by which to translate those needs into physical capital reality.
Handler calls this a framework of "forms". He specifies three basic considerations for the framework of forms. One consideration (the technical) is how to deal with the problems of engineering,
- 30 -
technology, and the physical environment. Another consideration (the functional) is how to deal with the problems of functioning: who and what; under what circumstances and conditions, scope, character and timing of activities; and relating capital goods and their environment so as to facilitate the movements and functions of people and things. The third consideration (the aesthetic) is how to deal with the
problems of looks: "achieving a system of relationships in terms of
appearance from various viewpoints and under varying conditions."
These considerations (which have become "sub-frameworks" by now) do not operate independently, but rather simultaneously in relation to each other. That suggests another criterion:
coordination. Each sub-framework has implications for the others. No one consideration should be allowed as an absolute. Furthermore, they must all be related to human needs and to the economic frameworks.
The bulk of the discussion in Robert R. Mayer's book, Policy and Program Planning: A Developmental Perspective4,^centers on his first two chapters. Chapter one is entitled "The Nature of Planning"4.3 Chapter two is entitled "Alternative Models of the Planning Process"4.4 The context of Mayer's book is the American political system, with the understanding that there is a schism between humanistic and technocratic orientations to planning within that context. That schism is expressed through two types of theory: descriptive theory (what is) and normative theory (what ought to be).
- 31 -
Planning is a rational process, which may be used by governments, public and private organizations and social groups, of selecting and designing a rational course of collective action to be taken to achieve a future state of affairs. This is Mayer's "rational planning model". He characterizes this model as having 1) goal orientation, 2) change orientation, 3) and expression of choice, 4) rationality, and 5) a collective basis (concerted action).45 A change orientation is the major difference between planning and management. The expression of choice leads to the ultimate responsibility of planning, which is to widen the range of choice and the opportunity to choose.
Mayer describes three types of criteria characteristic of rationality. The three types of criteria are efficiency, optimality, and synthesis. Synthesis may be manifested in two ways: integration or holism. Integration means that the respective ends or goals are compatible ("are in harmony"). Holism goes beyond evaluation of the interrelationship between goals as discrete entities. Mayer poses a question for determining holism: "Do these goals, when pursued collectively, result in benefits that are greater than would be enjoyed if they were pursued separately?" 46
There is more than one type of rationality. Mayer distinguishes the nature of a type of rationality based on the way the rationality is used in the planning process. He uses Friedmann's four
categories of rationality: 1) bounded rationality that is substantive, 2) bounded rationality that is functional, 3) nonbounded rationality, and 4) extrarational thought. 47
Bounded rationality of both sorts seeks consistency between the means and the ends that are under consideration, and the constraints of the planning environment. Bounded rationality that is substantive uses planning in the selection of the ends as well as in the selection of the means of public policy. Bounded rationality that is functional uses planning only for the means of public policy.
Nonbounded rationality ignores environmental constraints in considering the means-ends relationship. It is characteristically used when the criterion of rationality is synthesis. It may also be "utopian". Extrarational thought is that which lies outside
rationality. It may refer to the use of authority, tradition and
intuition. It is subjective.
Making public policy is a process of political decision
making. While politics is focused more on mobilizing constituent
support for action, politics and planning are inextricably related
through a dialectical process that leads to a higher quality of public
decisions. Mayer quotes Lowi that policy is "a general statement by
some governmental authority that defines an intention to influence the
behavior of citizens by use of positive or negative sanctions." A policy specifies both the end to which the governmental intervention is
directed and the means by which the end is to be achieved. Mayer cites Bauer's 1968 list of three levels of governmental decision making. The lowest level is that of trivial and repetitive decisions about routine matters. The middle level is that of tactics. Tactics are decisions that have wider ramifications than those at the lowest level. They require some thought and analysis. The highest level is that of policies. Policies are decisions that have the widest ramifications, have the longest time perspective, and require the most information and analysis.
"Plan" and "policy" are, in a sense, synonymous. "Policy" is a more specific term while "plan" is a more general term for governmental or organizational intervention.
Mayer describes five basic issues that surround the nature of planning.The first issue is "analysis and value choice". Rationality can help identify the implications of value choices. Those implications relate to consistency and to consequences. The second issue is "prediction and uncertainty". Planning involves the projection of a course of action over a future period of time. Uncertainty arises from the complexity and the dynamic nature of life. The third issue is "elitism and participation". The history of planning in the United States has been associated with elitism as a structure of decision making. However, there are advocates of more participatory models. The fourth issue of the nature of planning is
- 34 -
"collectivism and individualism". This involves the tension between the interests of society and the interests of the individual. Mayer says that it is an issue to be resolved in relation to each particular problem or need. The final issue that Mayer raises in relation to the nature of planning is "reductionism and synergism". The criticism against reductionism has been raised, among others, by Grabow and Heskin (1973). Their criticism is that planning "is a mechanistic process which treats a phenomenon as though it were composed of parts which can be dealt with piecemeal in an effort to achieve a change in that phenomenon."51 On the other hand, a synergistic point of view sees the "unique benefit" of the whole. Mayer summarizes planning as being reductionist in the use of analytical technique, but synergistic "at heart" when used as a process of design.
In chapter two, "Alternative Models of the Planning Process", Mayer presents four such models: developmental planning, incrementalism, the economic model of choice, and the ethical model of choice. Use of the developmental model is what Mayer advocates in the book.
Developmental planning has five characteristics. The first is the convergence of the political and planning centers (interdependence). The second characteristic is the clarity of the general ends. Third is consensus regarding the general ends. Fourth is the use of substantive and nonbounded rationality. It is nonbounded
because it articulates alternative future states.
characteristic of developmental planning is its comprehensiveness.
Mayer cites Rexford Tugwell as an earlier proponent of developmental
planning. He regards Theodore Lowi as a contemporary advocate.53
Incrementalism is the inverse of developmental planning. Mayer
also calls it adaptive planning. He defines incremental ism with
Friedmann's definition: "a short-term commitment in which ends are
given outside the planning process and in which only the means of their
attainment are selected through planning. It is means-oriented. Mayer lists five characteristics of incrementalism. First, the political and planning centers are separated. Second is a lack of value consensus. Third is an absence of general ends (as a result of the lack of value consensus). Fourth, the specific ends are remedial, opportunistic, or unclear. The fifth characteristic of incrementalism is its functional rationality. It is focused on the technical aspects of planning.
Mayer refers to Charles Lindblom as one who prefers this so-called "science of muddling through."55 Lindblom argues that
incrementalism is more compatible with democracy. Mayer, however, rejects that assertion.
During the 1950's, classical economic theory "invaded" as a
model for governmental decision making. Mayer calls this the economic
model of change. This model is underlain by four basic assumptions about the nature of reality.
For the economic model, it is first assumed that alternative ends and means are equally desirable. The second assumption is that resources are scarce (not unlimited). The third premise is about the "economic man". People, it is assumed, are motivated essentially by self-interest ("utility maximization"). Finally, social welfare is seen as individual welfare.
The economic model of choice has three basic elements. The first is a set of alternative ends. Second is a set of preferences for alternative combinations of ends. The third element is a set of alternative means.
The operating principle for evaluating policies is based on the measurement of the benefits to be experienced or the welfare to be gained (pareto optimality). It is inappropriate to evaluate policies on the basis of some abstract principle or value.
Mayer's fourth and final model for the planning process is the ethical model of choice"?7 Within this model, public policy is viewed as a choice of values to be realized through collective actions. Policy making is a process of reasoning about those choices based on an explicit system of values.
This model presumes three levels of analysis. The highest level is the analysis of choices among competing ideologies. The middle level of analysis examines the reconciliation of values within an ideology. The third level is that of translating a set of values
into specific policy. Analysis, or reasoning about, values involves three criteria: clarity, consistency, and generality. Mayer translates that into a general outline for using the ethical model of choice in policy development.
"1. The relative merits of alternative value systems or ideologies
for policy making can be rationally debated by observing the
rules of clarity, consistency, and generality.
2. Values can serve as the rational basis for the design of policy by determining the specific ends or objectives that are most consistent with those values, that is, by treating ends as the means to achieving some larger purpose.
3. Rational choices between competing ends as well as competing
means can be made by determining their relative consistency
with a given value system."58
Working within this model, says Mayer, has been Richard Titmuss of Britain. Titmuss5Â§elieves that a society must be able to articulate a value system or ideology from which ethical choices are derived. Titmuss has posited distributive justice as the underlying value from which to derive ethical choices, upon which to make decisions. Mayer also cites Rawls' Theory of Justice.60Rawls sets as a standard that society should try to maximize fairness and equity in all its social relations. Whatever standard is set, the ethical model assumes that there is no ethically neutral position. Mayer's goal is to develop an
integrated theory of planning. He finds that the ethical model is
compatible with the developmental model. The economic model can provide useful information and realism to the developmental model. Incrementalism can provide strategic planning. Mayer concludes that developmental planning provides the most useful model for an integrated theory of planning.
Planning theory is a young discipline. Theory formation is still in its infancy. Theoretical contributions are highly fragmentary and unorganized because the planning field itself has a composite character. Planning terminology and the interpretations of that
terminology are seriously confused.
With that in mind, Willem G. M. Salet attempts to begin to sort
out planning theory in his article, "Planning Theory The Quest for 61
Identity." Salet introduces three "themes" to be taken into account in further theory development. The three themes are: 1) theory development at three levels; 2) theory development from different approaches (or angles or paradigms or models); and, 3) the specific object of planning theory.
Salet establishes three levels of theory development. The first level is the "meta-level". At this level, scientific-theoretical principles are formed. In the middle is the "theoretical level." Here, concrete sets of statements are drawn up. Finally, there is the "applied level." This is the level of practical research and action, at which concrete methods and instruments are developed.
- 39 -
Viewing theory development from his three levels, Salet finds current planning theory to be one-sided, its development concentrated at the applied level. Theory development has tended to be identified with practitioners, rather than from an independent position. Because a wider context has not been used, the applied level of theory has been widely regarded as an "adequate activity" of itself, i.e., a sufficient basis for the whole of theory development. Salet, however, does not find this sufficient. He describes the "task" of theory to be the development of suggestions for practical uses from a wider context and from an independent position.
The second theme is theory development as approached from different paradigms. Salet considers two different paradigms. One is a composite: system-cybernetic. The other is that of the sociology of knowledge.
The third theme is the object of planning theory. In this
regard, Salet poses the questions: "On what subjects in planning theory
should scientific concepts be formulated? In other words: On what
points does the scientific object of planning theory differ from the
object of other social-science disciplines?" Salet declares that planning theory does, indeed, have a "special object space" of its own. To explain what the "special object space" is, Salet begins with the social sciences (in which he includes planning) in general. The most important involvement of most social sciences is as a reflection
- 40 -
on social reality. The problems relating to that reflection are those of thought and knowledge. They are just as important for planning theory as for other disciplines, but in planning theory those problems are situated in a special context. Planning theory must involve at least two other dimensions: purposeful behavior and action. Reflection in planning theory is "localized" in a social field of the tension between "what is" (descriptive) and "what should be" (normative).That tension usually precedes new actions.63
The object of planning theory has five dimensions: what is, what should be, thought, knowledge, and action. The most important 'problems of theory developmental those of the manner in which the five dimensions can be related to one another. In different paradigms these relations are qualified in different ways. [While Salet specifically describes five dimensions, he later uses what might be regarded as a sixth dimension: control.]
Later, in his examination of the system-cybernetic and sociology of knowledge paradigms, Salet pairs the dimensions as an outline or framework for studying the paradigms. The thought and knowledge dimensions are treated together, as reflection. The action dimension takes on a focus of control. "What is" and "What should be" are paired as the third dimension: normative processes. Salet re-terms the five dimensions into three "main pillars" of planning theory: normative processes, knowledge processes, and control processes.
Salet's examination of the two paradigms raises another issue: the rationality of the paradigm (and, thus, by extension, of the theory). He says that the system-cybernetic paradigm uses a "control rationality." The sociology of knowledge uses an "analytical rationality." Working from different paradigms naturally leads to the development of different theories, and, thus, different strategies and methods.
One approach to the development of planning theory is suggested by the work of Barney G. Glaser and Anselm L. Strauss, a couple of sociologists. In their book, The Discovery of Grounded Theory; Strategies for Qualitative Research,64 they recommend the discovery of theory from data which has been systematically obtained from social research. Usually, social-science theorists generate theory by means of logical deduction from a priori assumptions. (This is the "logico-deductive" sort of theory.) They describe the role or function of theory in sociology as a "strategy" for handling data in research. Theory provides various modes of conceptualizing for describing and explaining data. Their position is not logical, it is phenomenological. "Theory is a process."
Grounded theory contains three elements. The first element is that of conceptual categories and their conceptual properties. A category is capable of standing by itself as a conceptual element. A
property is an aspect of a category. This element (the conceptual element) is not data. It is, however, indicated by the data. Concepts should be analytic and sensitizing. By "analytic", the authors mean that the concepts designate characteristics of concrete entities, but are not the entities themselves. By "sensitizing", they mean that the concepts yield a meaningful picture (can be understood).
The second element is that of hypotheses. Hypotheses are generalized statements of the relations among the conceptual categories and their properties.
The third element is the integrative element. The interrelationships (hypotheses) between and among the categories and their properties must form an "integrated central theoretical framework.
Glaser and Strauss also describe four properties that a theory needs to make it practical. The first property is that the theory must closely fit the substantive area in which it will be used. Next, the theory needs to be understandable by lay-people in the field. The third property is that the theory must be sufficiently general so that it is applicable to a multitude of diverse daily situations within the substantive areas. Finally, the theory must allow the user of it partial control over both the structure and the process of daily situations as they change through time. The level of control needs to be enough to enable the user to understand and analyze ongoing
- 43 -
situational realities, to enable the user to produce and predict change in those realities, and enough to allow the user to predict and control the consequences both for the object of change and for other parts of the total situation that will be affected.67
Another theoretical perspective by which to understand planning practice is that based upon or influenced by the "critical communications theory of society" of Jurgen Habermas. The work and thought of Habermas is discussed in Critical Theory and Public Life, edited by John Forester. Section IV of the book is entitled, "Planning Practice, Power and Public Participation." Forester contends in an essay, "Critical Theory and Planning Practice"69that a critical theory of planning practice can be empirical, interpretative, and normative, as well as practical. Furthermore, he contends that a critical theory of planning will help to anticipate and correct for a) obstacles to effective design review and democratic planning processes; b) undeserved resentment and mistrust of planners; and c) unintentionally counterproductive technical planning practice.70
The "critical communications theory of society", says Forester, treats social and poli t i cal-economic structures as operative communications structures.
"These relations of power and production not only transmit information, but they communicate political and moral meaning; they seek support, consent, trust, sacrifice, and so forth.
The critical content of the theory is centered in the analysis
of the systemically but unnecessarily distorted communications
which shape the lives of citizens of advanced industrial 71
In other words, Habermas' analysis is to contrast ordinary, common-sense communication, to any communication which is systematically distorted. Ordinary, common-sense communication is based upon mutual understanding and consensus, which itself makes any sharing of knowledge possible in the first place.
The intent of such analysis is to expose the subtle ways in which any given structure of state and productive relations functions. Forester lists four such ways of functioning: 1) to legitimate and perpetuate itself while it seeks to extend its power; 2) to exclude systematically from the decision making processes that affect their lives particular groups which are defined along economic, racial, or sexual lines; 3) to promote the political and moral illusion.that science and technology, through professionals and experts, can "solve" political problems; and, 4) to restrict public political argument, participation, and mobilization regarding a broad range of policy options and alternatives which are inconvenient to (incompatible with) the existing patterns of ownership, wealth, and power.
Habermas' critical theory has two main phases. The first is to show the baseline or control group, which is ordinary, common-sense
communications. For this, Habermas has promulgated a theory of
"universal pragmatics." The second phase is to show, or suggest, how
existing social and political-economic relations actually operate as
distorted communications, obscuring issues, manipulating trust and
consent, twisting fact and possibility.
For a better idea of the context in which and from which the
critical communications theory of society works and comes, the
following sentence is quoted in full:
"The power of Habermas's work is to carry forward the classical
Marxian critique of ideology' into a subtle and refined
analysis of the structurally, systematically distorted
communication and language-use which constitute, mediate and
take expression in the concrete, historical social relations of
production, politics, and culture."
In another essay in Critical Theory and Public Life, Frank
Fischer writes of "Critical Evaluation of Public Policy: A
Methodological Case Study".Fischer's perspective is that social
relevance is a methodological issue. Knowledge is defined under a
technocracy by what "the sciences" can do. Knowledge can be explained
through methodological analysis of scientific procedures. Thus, says
Fischer, "methodological research can take the form of politics at the
level of theory." Labeling his work as "postempiricist", Fischer believes that such a methodology (postempiricist) "would have to place
pr.imary emphasis on the study of the theoretical and normative structures that guide data collection and assessments."75
Fischer then leads to a need to search for an alternative methodology. That search has followed several separate avenues. One avenue is a phenomenological orientation that comes largely from sociology. The primary emphasis of this approach is on the social actor's normative point of view. Another avenue comes from social and political philosophy. Fischer says that this approach also begins with the social actor's viewpoint, but that the level of analysis is pushed beyond the relativity inherent in the social actor's interpretations. The analysis involves an explication of the fundamental value principles on which the social actor's experience was organized. At this point, Fischer introduces "critical theory."
Next, Fischer examines different methodologies used to analyze the effectiveness of the Head Start Program. His point is not to show which methodology is/was right, but that each methodology reflects and is based upon differing implicit and political assumptions. The shift that Fischer sees from asking "which methodological orientation is right?" to asking "what is the relationship among the various
methodological orientations?" is a shift to comprehensive rationality.
He attributes that shift, in part, the Habermas.
Society is built upon three types of knowledge: empirical, phenomenological, and philosophical. The types of knowledge inform the
- 47 -
institutions that organize the basic categories of social reality: work, social interaction, and power. Each type of knowledge is a viewpoint for apprehending one dimension of the social totality.
Fischer next discusses the structure of arguments, traditions of logic, and then introduces a "logic for critical evaluation." This logic is concerned with two questions: 1) What does it mean to evaluate something? 2) How can such evaluations be justified? These are the two fundamental levels of the evaluation. The two levels are structured into four interrelating phases: verification, validation, vindication, and rational social choice.77
First-order discourse (level one) is composed of the technical verification of program objectives ("empirical-analytic") and the situation of validation of policy goals (are the particular goals of a program relevant to the situation? This relates to phenomenological concepts of social relevance). Second-order discourse consists of the systems vindication of value orientations. That is the justification of the values system as a whole. It (second-order discourse) also consists of rational social choice. This refers to the classical conception of political philosophy: the construction of models of the rational way of life. It is based on the identification and organization of specific values, which, in turn, serve as the basis for the adoption of evaluative standards and norms.
- 48 -
"The notion of rational choice in the selection of a way of life is a conceptual ideal. In describing the ideal, we must state the conditions for any person to render a fully rational choice. For this purpose we must include a least three primary conditions: freedom, impartiality, and enlightenment. To the extent that a model of a way of life is chosen in a manner that approximates these conditions, it can be legitimately employed as a basis for criteria utilized in justifying value judgments.
Finally, Fischer concludes that none of the modes of inquiry
empirical science, phenomenology, political philosophy stand alone as
methodological orientations. They need to be interrelated components
of a "comprehensive judgment." 80 81
In Theory and Practice of Social Planning, author Alfred J.
Kahn frames his theory of planning. It is a theory of planning in the
sense of Paul Davidoff's and Thomas Reiner's choice theory of
planning. It is a theory of how planning can, should, and sometimes does actually take place. The theory may be seen as a chain of interrelated hypotheses about how rational planning might be enhanced.
What is social planning? Social planning involves a sequence of means-ends relationships. It is a series of generalized guidesto future decisions and actions. Any definition of social planning involves several elements:
the selection of objectives,
. a willingness to act in foresight,
- 49 -
the constant translation of policies into implications for specific objectives and for programs and action, and
evaluation and feedback.
Finally, social planning is "policy choice and programming in the light
of facts, projections, and application of values." It is "policy
formulation and realization through choices and rationalizations."
Social planning addresses the following "domains", wherein it occurs routinely in some, only occasionally in others:
administrative planning, which occurs within a social welfare agency or organization,
sectoral or categorical planning on the local level, which is planning for a "concert" of services on a community level, social planning in relation to physical planning, which may introduce or correlate social components into housing or renewal activities,
planning nationally or regionally for an intervention system,
. problem-oriented or social-trend planning, which may involve planning for interrelationships among, or restructuring of, intervention systems,
planning the social aspects of fiscal and monetary policies or any other public programs that are not primarily known as "social", and
. planning the social aspects of balance development.
The context of the social planning being examined by Kahn is specifically the United States, and, therefore, democratic. Kahn
- 50 -
assumes that the basic role of planning in this context is normative.
"The very values which are most precious to a democratic society may be
translated into planning objectives. Furthermore,
"A perspective of this kind places the issues of identifying and implementing values and preferences at the heart of each phase of the planning endeavor. A value-free social engineering is not involved here, but, rather, a normative activity in which means and ends are constantly monitored and adjusted."
The concept that is being developed is that of planning as choosing. What is being chosen? Values and preferences, among other
things, are being chosen. Kahn defines values as conceptions of the desirable. Values are important or significant to a group or to an individual. Preferences are a value or values in action? As analysis of social planning consists, in part, of affirming, interpreting, and ranking values.
That is far from being an easy task. Coping with values and preferences is complex for a variety of reasons. First and foremost, there are conflicting values at stake in many situations. It is difficult to clarify what the prevalent values or preferences are (even if there is no conflict). Values are not always transitive (if A is better than B, and B is better than C, A is not always better than C). Often, there is dispute as to the relevant community, in other words, whose values are relevant or most relevant. It is difficult to translate technical issues into their value consequences in a
completely objective manner. Finally, the form that a question of values may take is that of "as if." The response to such a question
cannot be guaranteed to match the response to a real-life situation.
All in all, planning controversies seldom, if ever, offer pure value choices.
Some experts prefer to state their value stances in the form of general goals (Kahn cites Titmuss as an example). Abraham Kaplan proposes specific values which can serve as a tentative set of principles in planning. As summarized by Kahn, these principles are:
The principle of impartiality, which states that there be no prior specificaiton of which persons or groups are to benefit or suffer from government policy.
. The principle of individuality, which states that values are
ultimately to be assessed as having their locus in the individual (the state is made for the person, not the person for the state).
The maximin principle, which holds that any improvements in a value distribution consist in "cutting off" (improving the status of those at) the bottom of the distribution, not merely extending the top of the distribution.
. The distributive principle, which states that the more people who have a good thing, the better.
The principle of continuity, which holds that changes in a pattern or in a set of practices are of no value for their own sakes, but that the value of any changes lies in the value of the substance of the changes.
The principle of autonomy, which states that government is to
do for people only what people cannot do for themselves (a
repudiation of paternalism and dictatorships).
The principle of urgency, which states that the rate of
progress toward social goals should be maximized.
Planning theory needs a workable approach or perspective of
bringing the elements of values and preferences into planning, and,
then, meeting the diversity of ethical circumstances. In the United
States, the basic perspective is that ethics is primary over politics
and politics is primary over planning.
Kahn turns, next, to policy formulation. One of his major
themes is that a planner makes a most strategic impact at the policy
development level. Kahn lists six dimensions for policy formulation; which may be of help in focusing the analysis of a variety of social planning situations:
the definition of the system to be addressed, the conceptualization of functions-, which involves identifying the most relevant components, of the system for which planning has been undertaken ("The emphasis on functions is the vehicle for rising above agency perogatives or current legislative mandates and seeking an overall grasp of the process in a fashion strategic for considering basic policy."),91 boundary decisions, which intersects the system's definition with an emphasis on what one should seek to propose by way of strategic ordering,
- 53 -
- the level of the proposed interventions, the level and type(s) of intervention may range from a single project to a comprehensive effort,
the parameters for programming, a catch-all category, and,
. the price to be paid for economic and social opportunity costs, and the allocation of scarce resources.^2
"Planning should conceive of its object, whether a local
community or a national network of services, as a comprehensive 93
system." The problem is deciding how and what to identify as the appropriate system that should be addressed in a given situation. More specifically, there are different conceptions of social systems, and there are different conceptions of the meaning of a system approach to planning.
One approach to social analysis is functional. It contains the
idea that a particular social system (or sub-system) fulfills certain
"functional requirements" of human society. Functions are "system
relevant effects of structures." That means that the functionalist is
preoccupied with the issue of what is "system relevant", and with the
conceptualization of structures.
Kahn returns to the theme that planners are entering into a system when they plan. With that he introduces a systems approach to social planning. Within that approach are systems analysis,
simulation, and operations research.
Kahn contrasts the systems approach to the more traditional "requirements" approach. With the requirements approach, a planner
- 54 -
lays out a course of action that is expected to lead to the attainment
of the desired ends. Then, an itemized list of the means
(requirements) is presented in the form of a budget request.
An alternative to the requirements approach is Banfield's
"economizing" (systems) approach. It is based on the premise that nothing is free. Therefore, gains made in one way or area are losses in another way or area. The goal is to balance gains and losses to obtain the optimum mix.
Whatever specific approach a planner uses, a part of it is the
conceptualization of functions. Previously, the definition of
functions as "system relevant effects of structures" was mentioned. A
shorter definition is "the jobs the system has to do." Kahn employs
the term ("functions") in a way relevant to planners: functions "are
the manifest groupings or types of activities within a service system
or social institution, as conceptualized with reference to goals of the 97
Having advocated that analysis and planning for policy formulation focus, first, on the system and its functions, Kahn next considers the types and levels of intervention, the strategic questions of policy. He identifies five types of intervention:
institutional change: major modification or breakup of systems, the introduction of "social concerns" into realms that usually are not thought of a part of social planning (such as economic or physical planning),
. income transfers,
. nonmonetary social benefits and services, and
treatment (case) services (helping individuals).
The last three categories are traditional social sectors of intervention.
Institutional change is not necessarily fundamental change. It may be a more modest series of changes, "disjointed incrementalism." In other words, there is a continuum that ranges from institutional change to disjointed incrementalism. In the planning context, institutional change refers to:
". legislative or administrative enactments of policies, which are qualitatively so different and new as to have widespread ramifications,
. organizational and administrative changes so fundamental as to have widespread repercussions and to represent, in effect, simultaneous policy changes,
a shift in the balance between the employment of income transfers, social utilities, and case services to cope with a social problem or to achieve an objective (since such shift involves both new policy and the launching of a chain of fundamental organizational and administrative consequences)."99 Kahn, thus, describes institutional change as qualitative.
Richard Titmuss asks, as his central question regarding intervention, whether a given policy or program is redistributive. He assumes that the welfare state seeks some degree of redistribution of resources ^over time, among groups, and among parts of the country
- 56 -
("-territorial justice"). The question of redistribution leads
ultimately to the question of what is really being sought: equality or equity.
Kahn's discussion of redistribution leads to the need to confront the "universalism-selectivity" issue.101Titmuss, among others in Britain, has championed universal provision of services. Universal provision raises questions of differential needs and problems of costs. The constraints of differing needs and costs leads to the issue of "selectivity." Selectivity is the issue of determining who receives what.
However, "universalism-selectivity" and its related issues are resolved, must still remains to be considered. Rein and Miller, for example, formulate four policy issues that face policy planners:
. investment multiplier "technical-rational" issue, as well as political, of knowing not only what a policy is proposed, but also what is expected of the policy,
effectiveness which means that a planner must ask for evidence of a policy's or a program's effectiveness, which forces choices among levels and types of goals, coherence policies and programs ought to work together, not in isolations, and,
value conflict the means and ends of intervention strategies
and their goals need to be analyzed in terms of their value
. 102 implications.
There runs through this the thought that attention must be paid to striking a balance between consumption and investment programs.
Policies are confronted at different levels of generality. Eventually, choices need to be made at a level of specificity sufficient to provide parameters for programming. Some of the major parameters of programming, which are relevant to social planning, are:
eligibility for whom are services designed and by what ri ghts,
. benefits what is the range and level of services and benefits to be provided,
financing who will pay, when, and under what sort of compulsion,
public/private balance - what is the distribution of
responsibility and what is the structure of interrelationships of public and voluntary service sectors, and to what extent does public turn to private sector to operate programs, sectarian/nonsectarian balance if private services are considered, what is the distribution of responsibility and what is the structure of interrelationships of sectarian and nonsectarian services,
levels of government what are the respective roles, responsibilities and prerogatives of federal, state, local, regional and other units of government in policy development, standard-setting, financing and operation of programs, funding what form should funding from higher to lower levels of government take: block grants (general budgetary assistance) or categorical grants (matching money for specific programs under defined controls),
- 58 -
. manpower strategies stress on professional staffing, creating expanded opportunities for indigenous nonprofessionals, pioneering in new team relationships, maximizing use of volunteers, or "etc.",
coordination, integration, accountability how central are
program and policy coordination, service integration, and
accountability to the basic policy objectives sought, and,
. time and scale dimensions what are the timing possibilities
for moving from policy to program, from program launching to
full operations, from operation to evaluation and feedback.^
Kahn next discusses, the sixth dimension of policy formulation:
the price to be paid. He mentions various methods of evaluating
programs as to the costs of the programs. Most such methods do not
fully (if at all) address the human costs. "The full policy issue,
then, may be framed as follows: to achieve the given task, what direct
costs, opportunity costs, and social costs will be sustained and what
are the implications of these limits?"
A complete, rational planning model provides for task definition, policy development, programming, and reporting, feedback and evaluation.'*'05 The planning process begins by defining the planning task, which involves formulating the problem to be solved. The "task" of the relevant realities, as well as consideration of values and preferences. Having defined the planning task, a generalized guide to action may be needed, policy may be formulated. Kahn also refers to policy as the "standing plan." Policy development may require
redefining of the task at hand. The policy needs to be implemented. The general guide is made specific. This is programming. The "final" phase of Kahn's framework for the planning process is to measure, evaluate, and report the outputs and outcomes of the process. This information may be used to modify the existing program, or in the development of new policies and programs. The idea of feedback works not only during the final phase, it is an integral activity throughout the entire process.
The process (the practice) of social planning, believes Kahn, grows increasingly tied to theory. Goals (tasks) are less and less set by old pressures and groups. More and more, goals are set by research and new information. Kahn concludes:
"Increasingly, theory becomes the point of departure in social
and political innovation: Men now seek to anticipate change,
measure to course of its direction and its impact, control it,
and even shape it for predetermined ends'."
In The Reflective Practitioner: How Professionals Think in
Action,107 Donald Schon addresses the practice of members of all professions, from medicine to design to engineering to planning. Schon describes professional practice in terms of "reflection-in-action", rather than in terms of the dominant epistemology of professional practice, technical rationality.
The model of technical rationality, as defined by Schon, has professional activity as consisting of instrumental problem solving which is made rigorous by the application of scientific theory and technique.10^The model of technical rationality is a positivist
epistemology of practice. As such, it rests upon three dichotomies.
The first is the separation of means from ends. Secondly, research is
separated from practice. Practice is an application of research-based
theories and techniques, but there is not interaction between them.
Finally, knowing is separated from doing. Action is only an
implementation and a test of a technical decision. In short, the perspective of technical rationality sees professional practice as only problem solving. It ignores, says Schon, problem setting.
Problem setting is the process of defining the decision to be made, the ends to be achieved, and the means which may be chosen. In the real world, a professional practitioner does not face a problem, but rather a problematic situation. The practitioner must convert the problematic situation into a problem, he/she must make sense of the situation. Problem setting is a process of interactively naming the things to which to attend and framing the context in which to attend to those things.110
Schon proposes, therefore, to reconsider the question of professional knowledge. He wants to stand it on its head to search for an epistemology of practice that is implicit in the artistic and intuitive processes that some practitioners use in professional, or problematic, situations. The epistemology that Schon develops is
"When someone reflects-in-action, he becomes a researcher in the practice context. He is not dependent on the categories of established theory and technique, but constructs a new theory of the unique case."111
Schon develops and illustrates his concept of reflection-in-action through several examples of "hard" and "soft" professions: architecture, psychotherapy, the science-based professions, town planning, and the field of management. After the examples of architecture and psychotherapy, Schon points out some similarities between those two examples. He admits that some of the similarities are a function of his methods of selection and study, but the similarities are also a function of the practices themselves. From those similarities Schon describes a structure of reflection-in-action.
The structure of reflection-in-action has several elements. First, the practitioner approaches each problem as a unique case. Thus, the practitioner seeks to discover the particular features of the problematic situation. In neither Schon's examples of architecture and psychotherapy is the problem given. This leads to the second element: reframing the situation. Third, there are many competing views of the nature of the practice. Therefore, there are different views of the best way of solving the specific problem, different views on which problems are worth solving, and different views on what role the practitioner should play in the situation. The final element, as Schon observes, is that the practitioner "gives an artistic performance."^2
Schon expands his epistemology in several respects. First, he states that a successful reframing of the problematic situation leads to a continuation of the "reflective conversation" of the practitioner with the situation. That conversation starts by the practitioner shaping the situation. The situation "talks back" to him/her, and
the practitioner, in turn, responds, reshaping the situation. That the reflective conversation continues is an indication, or evaluation, that the practitioner's experiment in problem setting is or may be successful. Second, the practitioner brings his/her past experience to bear upon the unique situation. The practitioner draws upon his/her "repertoire" of examples, images, understandings, and actions which he/she has built up. In turn, each new situation enriches the repertoire. The third aspect is rigor in on-the-spot experiment. Reflection-in-action necessarily involves experiment. This is experimenting in reframing, in trying to shape the situation to the frame, and in evaluating the process by criteria. The criteria may be whether the problem can be solved as it has been framed, whether the practitioner values the solution (and what he/she gets when the problem is solved), whether the practitioner achieves in the situation a coherence of artifact and idea and a congruence with his/her fundamental theories and values, and whether the practitioner can keep the inquiry (reflective conversation) moving.^3
Schon next moves into a discussion of "experimenting." He contends that there are several kinds of experiment, each with its own logic and its own criteria of success and failure. The practitioner who reflects-in-action uses all of them. He describes three kinds.
The "exploratory experiment" is action that is taken only to see what follows. It is undertaken without any accompanying predictions or expectations. This kind of experiment may be probing or playful. It is intended as a way of getting a feel for the situation.
- 63 -
The "move-testing experiment" is action taken in order to produce an intended change. Such an experiment may be affirmed if the intended result is produced. It may be negated if it does not. It may also produce more than expected, in which case the practitioner must ask whether the unexpected consequences are desirable.
The third kind of experiment is the traditional "hypothesis testing". It uses a process of elimination, confirming or disconfirming a hypothesis.
Within the model of technical rationality, experiment is also important. In that model, there is an objectively knowable world, independent of the practitioner's values and views. The practitioner's role is as spectator and manipulators. In reflective conversation, the practitioner performs a different role: as agent and experiment. The practitioners relation to the situation is transactional. He/she is _i_n the situation, and it is partly of his making. The practitioner brings to the situation a few relatively constant elements: an overworking theory, an appreciative system, and a stance of reflection-in-action which can become, in some practitioners, an ethic for inquiry.
Schon frequently refers to the stance of reflection-in-action as a stance toward inquiry. He lists three features of such a stance. First, an inquirer (practitioner) must impose an order of his/her own. He/she must jump, not fall, into his/her transaction with the situation. Second, the inquirer must take responsibility for the order that he/she imposes. Third, the inquirer must even while trying to shape the situation according to his/her frame, hold him/herself open to the situation's back-talk.
The seventh chapter of The Reflective Practitioner is entitled,
"Town Planning: Limits to Reflection-in-Action." Fortunately, the limits are not intrinsic to planning. Rather, he uses an example from planning to demonstrate that reflection-in-action may be limited by the practitioner's own framing of his/her role.
Before demonstrating limits to reflection-in-action, Schon describes the evolving context of planning practice.
"The institutional context of planning practice is notoriously
unstable and there are many contending views of the profession, each of
which carries a different image of the planning role and a different
.P.icture of the body of useful knowledge. ... In planning as in other
professions, each role tends to be associated with characteristic
values, strategies, techniques, and bodies of relevant information.
But in the planning profession, images of role have evolved
significantly in relatively brief periods of time. The history of
the evolution of planning roles can be understood as a global
conversation between the planning profession and its situation."
Following World War II, the idea of central planning was extended to urban renewal, urban and regional transportation, health services, public education, mental health, and criminal justice. Through the mid-1960's, central planning was based on two main assumptions. First, there was assumed a working consensus about the content of the public interest. That consensus was assumed sufficient for the setting of planning goals and objectives. Second, it was assumed that there existed a system of knowledge adequate for the
- 65 -
conduct of central planning. By the mid-1960's, however, these assumptions were in trouble. By the late 1970's, says Schon, it was clear that there was no national consensus about the public interest. In its place is a field of special interests.
Simultaneously, new and modified roles for planners have developed. Planners in many institutional fields no longer follow the central planning model. Instead, they have intermediary roles: spokespeople, strategists, technical staff, watchdogs, and neutral mediators.
"A professional role places skeletal demands on a practitioner's behavior, but within these constraints, each individual develops his own way of framing his role."^'frow a practitioner frames his/her role takes on the character of a system. A system of this sort tends to be self-reinforcing.
The planner in Schon's example chose to frame his role as that of an intermediary. The planner works in a typical city planning office. The situation that Schon reviews for his example has the planner review a development proposal that would require a zoning change. The planner plans by proxy, through his influence on the plans of others (the developer, in this instance).
Schon's discussion of the city planning example contains several observations. He describes two models, which were developed by Schon and Chris Argyries, of theory of action. In "Model I", a self-reinforcing system of knowing-in-action, the practitioner behaves according to characteristic values and strategies of action. The
participants tend to act defensively in a Model I situation, which tends to be a win/lose situation. The strategies in use tend to be those of mystery and mastery. The planner in Schon's example, showing Model I behavior, limited his reflection-in-action to his strategies of unilateral control.^
The "Model II" theory of action describes a more open exchange of information, assumptions, and values. In this model behavior tends to be minimally defensive and is open to learning.11^
The intermediary role does not require, in itself, one model over the other. Which model that is used in determined by the planner's framing of his role. In general, the practitioner's framing of his/her role is interdependent with his/her interpersonal theory of action (or, theory-in-use).
In all of his examples, Schon finds similarities. The reflective conversation of the practitioner with the situation begins with artful inquiry. That includes an effort to solve the problem as it was initially set. Throughout the process, the practitioner remains open to the discovery of phenomena. The inquiry turns into a frame experiment. The inquirer steps into the problematic situation to impose a frame (or discipline) upon it, and follows the implications of that frame. Again, the practitioner remains open to the back-talk from the situation.
Schon finds two critically important processes within the pattern of inquiry. One is the practitioner's use of his/her repertoire, which may involve drawing from that repertoire some sort of
generative metaphor. The other process is that of experiment. The practitioner formulates new hypotheses, and tests them by experimental actions iwhich also function as moves for shaping the situation and exploring the situation.
The differences among the examples are found in the "constants" (which are understood as being relatively constant) that the various practitioners bring to their reflection-in-action. Practitioners use different media, language, repertoires to describe reality and conduct experiments. They bring different appreciative systems to problem setting, evaluating their inquiries, and to their reflective conversations.
Another difference among the various practitioners is the overarching theories by which they try to make sense of phenomena. Schon writes that an overarching theory does not give a rule that can be used to predict or control an event. Instead, it supplies the language from which to construct particular descriptions and themes from which to develop particular interpretations. A satisfactory
account of the phenomena in a situation is not formed, until it is
framed in terms of the practitioner's overarching theory.
Finally, practitioners framed their own roles in the situations
in different ways. Schon writes, "All professional roles are embedded
in an institutional context, but not all practitioners take it 119
seriously." While roles may differ among professionals, how a particular practitioner frames his/her role remains relatively constant from situation to situation. It, therefore, bounds the scope of
- 68 -
his/her practice, and provides a reference which allows the practitioner to build a cumulative repertoire.
Up to now, Schon has not mentioned the professional-client relationship. Generally, a professional is viewed as a provider of services. The traditional professional-client relationship, as Schon describes it, is a "contract". It is a set of shared norms which govern the behavior of the parties involved. Traditionally, the
practitioner's accountability has mainly been to his/her professional peer group. Of course, he/she is also accountable to the client, but the client has limited ability to measure the performance or the results.
Schon believes that the idea of the reflective practitioner implies that the professional-client relationship may be transformed.
"Just as reflective practice takes the form of a reflective
conversation with the situation, so the reflective
practitioner's relation with his client takes the form of a
literally reflective conversation."
The practitioner needs to recognize that his/her words and
actions may have different meanings for the client than the
practitioner intends. He/she must, therefore, find out what those
different meanings are.
In a reflective "contract", the client does not agree to accept the practitioner's authority, but rather to suspend disbelief in it.
Schon also briefly mentions the need for "reflective research" to improve and enhance the practitioner's reflection-in-action. He
- 69 -
describes four types of reflective research. The first type of research is frame analysis. It is the study of the ways in which practitioners from problems and their roles. The intent of this analysis is to help practitioners to become aware of and criticize their own tacit frames. A second form of research is the description and analysis of images, category schemes, cases, precedents, and examplars. Such research can help to build the repertoires which practitioners bring to unique situations. Third, Schon advocates research of the methods of inquiry and the overarching theories of phenomena, from which practitioners may develop on-the-spot variations. Finally, the need exists for research on the process of reflection-in-action itself.
The types of research that Schon describes should be entered into through modes of collaboration between researchers and practitioners. The implementation of research ought to be built into the very process of reflective research. As an example, Schon cites teaching hospitals, where practitioners, researchers (and even students) work together.
In the foundation of public policy, the dominant model, which
is contained within the tradition of technical rationality, is a
process of social choice.
"Rational policy choices derive from policy analyses which
select from among available courses of action those which
maximize social benefits and minimize social cost. Pol icy
analysis is conceived as a technical process which occurs
within a 1 99 political context."
- 70 -
Professionals supply technical expertise, they manage the political process. The reflective practitioner adds to that perspective the awareness that the scope of technical expertise is limited in situations of uncertainty, instability, uniqueness, and conflict.
"When research-based theories and techniques are inapplicable, the professional cannot legitimately claim to be expert, but only to be especially well prepared to reflect-in-action.
Schon views public policy formation as a strand in the web of the larger societal process, or web of conversations.
"In the larger societal conversation with the situation, problem setting, policy, definition, and interpretation of the situation's 'back-talk' are always marked by intellectual inquiry and by political contention."
More inquiry is needed and contention seems ever-present, because each policy action changes social reality. The struggle to define or frame the situation, and thereby determine the direction of public policy, continues.
III. Chapter Two:
"A Review of Six State Programs"
Six programs were selected for review, all of them administered and funded by the State of Colorado. In alphabetical order, the six programs are:
the Artists-in-Residence (AIR) Program,
the Highway Users Tax Fund (HUTF),
the Impact Assistance Program,
the Public School Finance Act (equalization), and,
Statewide Educational Activities for Rural Colorado's Health (SEARCH).
These programs were selected with a mind to having diversity in the types of assistance, a significant level of quality and/or quantity of assistance, and some variety of administrative agencies (i.e., responsibility). The intent was to obtain a cross-section of decision making procedures, styles, objectives, and, in short, assistance programs.
The Colorado Initiatives program involves interaction between the administering agency and the community, it provides technical assistance, and toward that provision, it allocates a limited amount of money. It is a fairly young program, and may thusly be open to new or different decision making styles and procedures.
The Highway Users Tax Fund (HUTF) is a long-established program. It is strictly an allocation program, distributing monies according to legislatively-prescribed formulae. It is the single largest source of state money to municipalities (although the Public School Finance Act distributes more money to school districts), therefore, it is quantitatively significant. It is also important because it is money for roads and bridges.
The Impact Assistance Program is significant because the funding is directly related to an important portion of the state's economy, mineral and energy-fuels extraction and processing. Furthermore, the program directly relates to mediating the varied impacts of that portion of the economy. The assistance is financial. The selection process, however, is unlike HUTF. Instead, it resembles that of Colorado Initiatives.
The Public School Finance Act is significant because it directs most of the state funding for public schools (kindergarten through high school). It is significant because it is one of the nearest and dearest of all community issues, education. The type of assistance is financial, using legislatively-prescribed formulae.
SEARCH is not at ail significant quantitatively. Only a small amount of money is expended. It is interesting because of the issues involved; health and education in a rural or small-town environment. The decision making procedure is different from the other selected programs. It is more decentralized than any of the others.
The Artists-in-Residence (A.I.R.) program is also insignificant fiscally. It is a very new program, with the pilot program happening just last year. It is of interest because it is not a community or economic development or planning program of the usual sort. It is notable, too, for the enthusiasm of the community, artist, and agency participants.
Information regarding the programs was collected through two primary types of resources: from in-person or telephone interviews with various program administrators, and from reading documents from and about the programs, such as annual reports, application forms and guidelines, and information pamphlets and booklets. The administrators who graciously consented to interviews were:
. for A.I.R.:
Maryo Ewell, Director of Community Programs, Colorado Council on the Arts and Humanities, on March 27, 1987.
. for Colorado Initiatives:
Patrick Coyle, Office of Community Economic Development, Division of Commerce and Development, Colorado Department of Local Affairs, interviews on two dates: February 12 and March 27, 1987.
. for Impact Assistance:
Patrick Coyle, on February 12, 1987, and Jack Kirtland, Impact Assistance Administrator, Office of Impact Assistance, Division of Commerce and Development, Colorado Department of Local Affairs, on March 27, 1987.
. for HUTF:
Jeff Monroe, Treasurer's Office, telephone conversation on February 10, 1987, and Tom Talmadge, Branch Manager,
Transportation Planning Program Support, Colorado Department of Highways, telephone conversation on February 10, 1987.
. for Public School Finance:
Dan T. Stewart, Supervisor, School Finance Unit, Office of Management Services, Colorado Department of Education, on March 10, 1987.
. for SEARCH:
Tom Kautzky, Assistant Director for Management and Business
Affairs, SEARCH, two telephone conversations on February 18 and
March 25, 1987.
Highway Users Tax Fund
Perhaps the largest single source of state funds that go to small towns is the Highway Users Tax Fund (HUTF). Of the programs being examined in this paper, it is also the oldest, having been created by the Colorado legislature in 1953. However, as early as 1919, revenue from automobile licensing fees, and from related fines and penalties were allocated 50% to counties and 50% to the state. In 1929, municipalities began to receive a legislatively-mandated share (deducted from the counties' share). By 1933, legislation was passed to divert highway revenues to non-highway purposes. During the next year, the state constitution was amended (Article X, Section 18) to guarantee that revenues from motor fuel taxes and associated fees are used only for highway purposes. Since then, relevant legislation has centered around the rais-ing and subsequent distribution of revenues.
The Highway Users Tax Fund is determined by legislatively-prescribed (CRS 43-4-201+) formulae. The revenues for the fund are raised by strict formulae, and the monies are distributed by strict formulae. The monies involved are big for Colorado, in Fiscal Year (FY) 1986-87, an estimated $431.2 million was distributed.1
The revenue for HUTF comes from several sources. The major source is from a tax of $.18 per gallon of gasoline sold and $.205 per gallon of diesel sold. This tax provides approximately 70.1% of the total fund. The other sources of revenue are from ton-mile taxes on trucks (8.1% of total fund), motor vehicle registration fees (7.2% of total fund), sale and use taxes on automobile related items (9.3%) of total fund, (this is "Noble Bill" money), and miscellaneous other fees (such as from driver's licenses and penalty assessments), which make up about 5.3% of the total fund), [5ee Figure 2-1]. This explanation of revenues is only a summary of a complicated system that has been developed, layer upon layer, since before the Fund was even created. HUTF is composed of, first, a "Basic Fund". The Basic Fund consists of a $.07 fuel tax, plus the gross ton-mile tax, plus drivers' license fees, plus motor vehicle registration, plus penalty assessments and
- 74 -
State of Colorado Highway Users Tax Fund Estimated Revenue FY 1986-87 $431.2 Million
Drivers License Fees, Penalty Assessments, Interest,
: Colorado Department of Highways, Overview of the Colorado Department
Fiscal Year 1986-1987, page 40 (Figure
other miscellaneous revenue. All subsequent raises in fuel taxes (gasoline and diesel) are not parts of the Basic Fund. (They are distributed differently than are the fuel taxes that are part of the Basic Fund.) In 1979, the "Noble Bill" was passed. It stipulates that 6% of sales and use taxes on sales of automobiles and related parts, so long as that sum does not exceed $30 million, is to go to the HUTF. Eventually, all such taxes will go to the fund. However, later amendments have kept that down to 7%. In 1985, the cap was raised to $50 million, but was lowered to $40 million for FY 1986-87 only?
The distribution of HUTF is a bit more complicated. In summary, the distribution is simple. In FY 1986-87, the monies were given into four major categories. The State Highway Fund (Department of Highways) received 50.3%, or $216.8 million. Off-the-top appropriations accounted for 14.61%, about $63 million. Approximately 22%, $94.7 million, went to counties, and the remaining 13.1%, $56.7 million, was sent to municipalities.4 [See Figure 2-2]
More specifically, HUTF money is allocated as follows. First, the legislature appropriates "off-the-top" of the Basic Fund. That money goes to the various state agencies which have functions related to HUTF (such as the Department of Revenue, Department of Highways, the State Patrol, etc.). "Off-the-top" appropriations are limited to a 7% increase over the previous year's appropriation [CRS 43-4-205(5)]. The rest of the basic fund is distributed: 65% to the Highway Department, 26% to the counties, and 9% to the municipalities.
Next, those fuel taxes not included in the Basic Fund do not provide any funds for "off-the-top" appropriations. Most of this portion of HUTF, 84%, is distributed: 60% to the State Highway Department, 22% to counties, and 18% to municipalities. The other 16% is designated for bridges. It is distributed according to need. In FY 1986-87, that translated into: 24.2% to the Department of Highways, 50.4% to counties, and 25.4% to municipalities. [CRS 43-4-205(6)]
Finally, there is the formula for distributing the "Noble Bill" funds (those from sales and use taxes on automobiles and parts). It is simple: no money "off-the-top", no money designated for bridges, all of it is to be distributed as follows: 60% to the Highway Department, 22% to counties, and 18% to municipalities. [CRS 43-4-205 (3) and (4)]
Once the monies have been allocated into the four major categories (Highway Department, "off-the-top"appropriations, counties, and municipalities), yet more formulae must be employed. Those formulae determine the distribution of the funds to counties and
State of Colorado Highway Users Tax Fund Estimated Distributions
FY 1986-87 $431.2 Million
Off-the-Top Appropriations (Dept, of Revenue, State Patrol, etc). 63.0 Million
Public Safety $30.2M
Regulatory Agencies 1.8M
Labor & Employment 0.5M
License Plates 2.0M
Capital Const. 0.2M
Rail-Hwy. Fund 0.2M
56.7 Million (13.1%)
Source: Colorado Department of Highways Overview of the Colorado Department of Highways,
Fiscal Year 1986-1987, page 42 (Figure 11).
County allocation is specified in CRS 43-4-407. Paragraph one (1) describes the allowed uses of the money: for construction, engineering, reconstruction, maintenance, repair, equipment, improvement and administration of county highway systems together with the acquisition of rights-of-way and access rights for the same and for no other purpose. It restricts the amount that may be expended for administrative purposes to no more than 5% of a county's share.
The method of allocation to the counties divides all the monies available to the counties. Twenty percent (20%) of the counties' total is allocated on the basis of the proportion of rural motor vehicle registration of the past year. Rural registration is that from the unincorporated area of a county. Eighty percent (80%) of the counties' total allocated on the basis of the proportion of adjusted mileage of public highways, excepting state highways. Mileage is adjusted according to whether its terrain is classified as "plains" (multiplied by 1.00), "plains, rolling and irrigated" (multiplied by 1.75), or as "mountainous" (multiplied by 2.00).
The method of allocation to the municipalities is similar to that method to the counties. The allowed uses of the money are the same. The actual allocation is opposite that to counties. Eighty percent (80%) of the total funds available to municipalities is allocated in proportion to the adjusted urban motor vehicle registration. The adjustment is meant to reflect the impacts of concentrations of traffic. The adjustment is by factors, ranging from 1.00 for towns with registrations of 1 to 500 to 3.0 for cities with registrations of 565,000 to 605,000. Twenty percent (20%) of the available money is distributed in proportion to mileage of streets in a municipality, minus any state highways.
The Department of Highways is responsible for determining the pertinent mileage for counties and municipalities. That information is forwarded to the State Treasurer's Office, where it is used in the prescribed formulae to figure how much money is to be sent to the counties and municipalities.
PUBLIC SCHOOL FINANCE
Dan T. Stewart, Supervisor of School Finance, Office of Management Services of the Colorado Department of Education, says that Colorado and Indiana are the only two states in the United States that
practice the "local control" concept in public education. Other states may force small school districts to consolidate. However, Colorado does not do so. At one time, there were 181 school districts in Colorado. Today, there are still 176. The "state mechanism" allows small communities to keep their school districts open. The concept of local control is established, says Stewart, in the Colorado Constitution, Article IX, Section 15. The final sentence of that section establishes that the directors of each school (i.e. the local school board) "shall have control of instruction in the public schools of their respective districts".' However, that same section also establishes that the general assembly provides for the organization of school districts. The interpretation that has prevailed is that the state legislature only may create school districts, that school districts are subdivisions of the state, and that the general assembly has almost unlimited power to alter school districts.
The general assembly does not require the consent of the districts, nor of their inhabitants, to change, dissolve or divide/consolidate, or otherwise reorganize boundaries of school districts. [Hazlet v. Gaunt, 126 Colo. 385, 250 P.2d 188 (1952)]
In light of the fact that only five consolidations have occurred (ten districts into five) over the years (and in light of this author's high school education in Iowa, where there were that many consolidations in one county alone), it seems obvious that the legislature has not exercised its power to force consolidation of school districts. Assuming then, that no school board would ever willingly give up its autonomy, the only likely cause for consolidation is need: financial necessity. How, then, do the poor school districts continue to survive, unconsolidated? The survive by "power equalization", according to the Public School Finance Act of 1973.
The school districts of Colorado budgeted a total of some $2.99 billion for calendar year 1986. Of that, almost $2.37 billion were operations expenses. The remainder was for capital projects. More than $2.01 billion of that came from the general fund, which is 67% of the total budgeted expenditures ($2.99 billion).^ The Public School Finance Act controlled around $1.68 billion (71% of all state funding). "State Equalization" paid slightly more than $768 million (32.4% of state funding). Although this money goes to school districts, rather than towns or counties, at $768 million, it is still the largest influx of state assistance to communities.
- 77 -
The funding per pupil that is authorized by the Public School Finance Act is known as the authorized revenue base (ARB). Each school district's original ARB was determined by the spending of the district in 1973, prior to the effective date of the Act. The Act specifies
allowed ARB increases for each year. A district is entitled to an ARB
that is the greater of the minimum ARB or the ARB of the previous year plus the allowable increase. From the analysis of the 1986 budget year comes the example:
"For 1987, the minimum ARB will increase S160.00 and the allowable increase for districts above the minimum is $134.57. Therefore, districts with an 1986 ARB of 2755.43 and above increase $134.57, while districts with the minimum ARB increase
by $160.00. Districts with an ARB between the minimum and 2755.43 receive an increase between $134.57 and 5160.00."^
The Act guarantees a level of "wealth" to every district.
"Wealth" is the assessed valuation per pupil. Districts with high
assessed valuation per pupil may be able to generate revenues equal to authorized funding. In 1986, the guaranteed revenue per student per mill of property tax was $64.41. For 1987, the guarantee is expected to be $66.82. The difference between a district's revenue per student per mill ("wealth") and the guaranteed amount (if the district's amount is less) is made up from state equalization funding.
There is also a minimum guarantee per pupil per mill. For 1985 and 1986, that amount was $10.00 per mill levied per pupil. Without the minimum, districts would receive no equalization.
The state also provides special condition funding. The special conditions are low income, increased enrollment, small attendance centers, instructional television, and contingency reserve. $ome districts receive more from small attendance center payments than from
equalization. The provision for small attendance centers is a carry over from before the passage of the Act in 1973, dating from the 1950's.
A small attendance center is either an elementary school with 150 pupils or less and is 20 or more miles from another elementary school, or it is a secondary school with 175 pupils or less and is 20 or more miles from another secondary school. School districts which
- 78 -
are not reorganized measure distances across district boundaries. However, reorganized districts measure distances entirely within their boundaries. "This feature may have been established to reward reorganization.
In 1985, small attendance centers received nearly $7.2 million. While the number of centers has remained fairly stable during this decade (157 in 1981, 155 in 1985), the amount of money has increased by more than $2 million (from over $5.1 million in 1981).1^
COLORADO INITIATIVES PROGRAM
The Colorado Initiatives Program provides concentrated assistance for community economic development. The program is young, having been initiated in 1985. It was preceded by the Colorado Main Street Program, which provided assistance to revitalize downtown areas. That program was expanded into the Concentrated Community Assistance Program, which was renamed this year as "Colorado Initiatives". The program is (has been) a collaborative effort of the Department of Local Affairs, Mountain Bell and the University of Colorado at Denver, through the Center for Community Development and Design.
"The purpose of this program is to assist Colorado counties and municipalities in developing sound community economic development strategies which will allow them to take positive actions to improve local economic conditions. The program is intended to meet the needs of the smaller towns and cities throughout Colorado by helping local citizens set up feasible community development goals and by providing assistance in devising a strategy to attain these goals, while building local self-reliance."11
The type of assistance that is provided is technical. It comes in at least three forms: staff expertise from the Office of Community Economic Development, consultants (who are rounded up by the staff, at rates as close to free as is possible), and interns.
The program has limited resources: a small staff and few dollars. Any municipality, county or other jurisdiction (such as: special districts and economic development authorities) may apply for assistance. The program operates on an annual application/decision
- 79 -
cycle. Ten applications are accepted each year for one year's worth of
concentrated assistance, which begins in May. In 1986, 33
jurisdictions applied. In 1987, more than twice that many applied: 69.
The application form is deliberately kept short and unimposing, in the hope that no community will feel threatened by it. It is the size of a legal size sheet of paper and is folded in half (making four pages).
The first page repeats the above-quoted purpose statement. The first section answers the question, "Who Should Consider Applying For This Assistance?" That answer entails a list of six activities that communities either should wish to attempt or have already begun to attempt. Those activities are:
an interest in initiating a development or redevelopment
project in a discrete area
a wish to undertake a "main street" or downtown development project
an attempt to initiate an economic development program where there is evidence of local commitment
a stalemate in an existing economic development program where resources have already been committed
a possibility for innovative approaches in the economic
development area, which may be shared with other communities.
The next section is on the second page. It is entitled with another question, "Our Community Is Interested In Receiving Assistance From the Colorado Initiatives Program. How Do We Apply?" The response is simple, clear and direct. It includes the address for submittal and
the date by which the application must be postmarked. It also provides
a general time by when the final decision will be made: mid-March.
Most of the second page and all of the third page contain the
"Information Required" section. This is the actual application portion of the form. There are only ten requests for information:
1. Name of organization/government unit (including address and
2. Briefly describe the project/program you're attempting to
3. What are your reasons for undertaking project/program.
4. What type of benefits do you anticipate from this project?
5. What issues and/or constraints have you encountered or do you antici pate?
- 80 -
Describe the decision-making body that will be working on the project.
7. What activities have been accomplished so far?
8. What type of commitment has been/can be made to this
program/project (funding, staff, supplies, time)?
9. Are financial resources available for the program/project?
Yes approximate amount.
Explanation of financial resources (e.g. project start-up, implementation, source).
10. Include any other information you feel is relevant.
The final page of the application provides the following
information to possible applicants: Selection Criteria", "Deciding Authority", and "If I Have Questions, Who Should I Call?"
There are five criteria listed:
1. Feasibility exists of substantive actions occurring during the one year period.
2. There is evidence of local commitment to the project or
program. This includes the ability of the community to provide support to the identified project in cash or through in-kind contributions. In-kind contributions can be in the form of
time, travel or any other type of expenditure for which a dollar value can be assigned.
3. Support will come from the community, specifically financial
institutions, local business and property owners and municipal and county government.
4. There is evidence of an organized decision-making body.
5. Opportunity exists for innovative concepts and procedures from the project/program to be shared with other Colorado communities.
The deciding authority is the Director of the Division of Commerce and Development, who was Steve Schmitz during the last application/decision cycle.
In making his decision, the Director appoints a panel to review the applications, and then make recommendations to him. Although the Director is not required to accept the panel's recommendations, to date he has done so. The members of the panel are chosen to provide statewide representation of local people. The most recent panel, which served in late February, 1987, included: the Director of the Grand
Junction Downtown Development, the Mayor of Walsenberg, the Town Administrator of Leadville, the head of the Regional Office of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, the Planning Director of Glenwood Springs, the Town Manager of Castle Rock, the Director of the East Central Council of Governments, the Mayor of Salida, the Director of the Englewood Urban Renewal Authority, two representatives of Mountain Bell, a representative of the Colorado-Ute Utility, a planning consultant, and a financial consultant.14
Prior to the panel's review, the applications are reviewed by the staff of the Division of Commerce and Development. They do not make recommendations to anyone regarding the selection of applications. The staff's review has two purposes. First, they review each application to assure its completeness. Second, they review in order to familiarize themselves with the applications so that they may facilitate the discussions of the panel.
The State Impact Assistance Program is administered by the Division of Commerce and Development of the Colorado Department of Local Affairs. A significant portion of Colorado's economy is based upon or derived from the various energy and mineral extraction industries, such as oil and oil shale, coal mining and other mining. These industries are tied into an international economy that the state cannot control. The particular nature of the economy of these industries is a cycle of boom and bust. The effects of that cycle upon the communities near the extraction of these resources is profound: sometimes ranging from rapid growth to depression within a period of only several years. Furthermore, in Colorado, these resources are generally located in sparsely settled areas.
The Department of Local Affairs, in the State Impact Assistance Program description of January, 1986, by the Division of Commerce and Development, categorizes the problems of local governments that face the boom/bust cycle into six "facets of impact".15 The first facet is facility and services capacity. Some communities lack the facilities and the staff to meet even the basic service levels of a changing population. Secondly, the financial capacity of communities
- 82 -
may be inadequate to meet drastic changes. Property value assessment is slow to expand revenues, thus front-end financing is needed. The uncertainty of boom/bust cycles may lead banks to view bonded indebtedness as a high risk. The third facet of impact is the social disruption caused by the large-scale influx of new constituencies. The fourth facet is that of the cumulative effects of several energy and mineral developments occurring within the same period. During a boom, a local economy may appear prosperous, but may in fact, be a hollow economy, the fifth facet of impact. The dominant sector of the economy may draw labor, finance, and materials from the other sectors, thus causing the economy to lose its diversity and stability. At the other end of the cycle, bust, lies the final facet: facility closure. That may create sudden and high unemployment with its subsequent effects: loss of income and revenues, emotional stress, and possible environmental problems.
Until the mid-1970's, very little had been done in Colorado to moderate or assist those communities "caught" within the boom/bust cycle. In 1977, the state legislature established two funds for providing impact assistance: the Local Government Mineral Impact Fund and the Local Government Severance Tax Fund.
The money for the Local Government Mineral Impact Fund is 15% of the state's portion of the Federal Mineral Lease Funds, which is a portion of the royalties from federal lands. In 1982, the state legislature decreed that some of the Local Government Mineral Impact Fund be distributed on the basis of the place of residence of employees of mineral producers. (CRS 34-63-101-104)
The Local Government Severance Tax Fund is funded from the state's severance tax on certain minerals. The Fund's monies are distributed according to legislatively-prescribed formulae (CRS 39-29-110 and CRS 39-29-101-114). The Executive Director of the Department of Local Affairs is directed to distribute 85% of the Fund to those political subdivisions that are affected ("impacted") by the development, processing, and energy conversion of minerals and mineral fuels that are subject to severance taxation. Those funds are to be spent, by those local political subdivisions, for the planning,
- 83 -
construction, and maintenance of public facilities and services. The remaining 15% of the Fund is to be distributed to counties or municipalities on the basis of the proportion of employees of extractive operations who reside either within the unincorporated area of the county or within the municipalities to the total number of employees.
The Impact Assistance Program also allows for a Severance Tax Credit. The Credit is a written agreement between a local government and a severance-paying corporation. An acceptable agreement consists of a contribution from the corporation to the community to pay for a needed public facility or service. Such an agreement must be reviewed by the State Impact Assistance Advisory Committee, and approved by the Executive Director of the Department of Local Affairs (CRS 39-29-107).
In short, there are three forms of assistance offered as impact assistance. They are the Severance Tax Credit, Direct Distribution (the 15% of the Severance Tax Fund distributed on the basis of employee residency) and the Impact Assistance Grant/Loan Program. This last program provides the largest distribution of funds of the three. It is this program that is under consideration in this paper.
Eligibility to apply for assistance from the Impact Assistance Grant Program is open to counties, municipalities and some special districts. Applications are accepted continuously, but grant awards are made biannually. Several years ago, grants were awarded three times a year. The current bust affects not only the community in the resource areas, but also the revenues to the funds. The State Impact Assistance Advisory Committee meets twice each year, in August and February. Grant decisions are made about two weeks after each meeting.
All applications are reviewed by the Committee. Prior to that, applications are reviewed by other agencies, by county impact teams, and by the staff of the Division of Commerce and Development. The staff prepares project summaries. The county teams prioritize applications from within their counties.
The review process is, of course, important. It involves three levels: local, staff, and committee or administrative. The local review is by the county-wide impact teams. Such teams review and prioritize grant requests from within the county. There are no strict
- 84 -
guidelines for the composition of a county team, nor for the functions
of the team. It is believed that the municipalities and counties are
themselves best able to develop a workable process that is relevant to 16
their situation. County teams may also promote intergovernmental cooperation, and aid in developing multi-jurisdictional plans.
The second level of review is by the state staff. The staff members not only prepare a summary of each application, but an analysis of it for the committee. Each applicant receives a copy of the summary and analysis (called the "Pro/Con"). Furthermore, the staff meets with the applicants.
The proceeding levels of review are, in large part, directed toward helping applicants to prepare their applications and to prepare themselves for the committee review. The State Impact Assistance Advisory Committee reviews all applications in a public meeting. At that meeting, all applicants are given the opportunity to present their respective applications, and then respond to comments and questions regarding same. Afterwards, the Committee makes recommendations to the Executive Director.
The membership of the committee consists of the Executive Director of the Department of Local Affairs, the Colorado Commissioner of Education, the Executive Directors of the Departments of Highways and of Natural Resources, and either five residents (for the Severance Tax Fund) or four residents (for the Mineral Lease Fund) from energy-impacted areas. Two of those residents for each fund must live east of the Continental Divide. The residents are appointed by the Governor. The residents on the most recent committee were from
Trinidad, Grand Junction, Gunnison, Garfield County, Colorado Springs, and an extra ("fifth") person from the Denver area. The various Executive Directors may appoint agency representatives in their stead.
In a few instances, the committee review may be replaced by an administrative review. This review may be allowed for those
applications which are made in order to continue a project that has already been reviewed by the committee and in which no substantive changes have occurred, and for which undue hardship may be caused or
other funds may be jeopardized if impact assistance funding is delayed.
- 85 -
The operations of both funds are combined into one, integrated activity in order to cut administrative costs. The ratio of monies from the two funds to be spent is decided at the time of grant contracting. That decision is based on revenue availability as well as on statutory authority.
Several sets of guidelines are considered by the Advisory Committee for recommending the funding of projects. One set of guidelines is for meeting the problems caused by an expanding or unstable economy. Communities in this situation need to show:
The range and extent of negative impacts associated with energy and mineral activities affecting the community;
The extent to which the proposed project addresses existing or projected negative community impacts;
The availability of alternative funding sources, documentation of efforts to obtain other funding, to raise fees, rates and taxes, if appropriate;
The amount of funds leveraged relative to the amount requested; Local priority and community support;
. The relationship of the project in meeting community goals and/or documented public health and safety issues; and,
The applicant's fiscal capacity and ability to pay.17 For communities whose economies are declining or have bust, the above-listed guidelines also apply. It is also suggested that the following types of projects are frequently given favorable consideration by the advisory committee:
Local Government Revenue Replacement for a short period in order to support operating and capital expenditures. This is meant to allow local governments to reduce their budgets over a period of time, rather than doing so suddenly and drastically. The revenue loss to be replaced must be demonstrably linked to reduction of production or to the decommission of a facility.
Economic expansion into other sectors, such as tourism or manufacturing.
Public works projects to bolster the local economy, temporarily reducing unemployment, or for capital improvements related to the present and future.
reducing unemployment, or for capital improvements related to the
present and future.
The Advisory Committees guidelines for applications for economic development projects are set with the intent that such projects should strengthen and diversify local and regional economic bases. Economic development projects should:
. Lead to the creation of new wealth, create or retain jobs or replace lost jobs;
Reflect consideration of the regional nature of the local economy, in other words, no local expansion at the expense of neighboring communities; and,
Complement or assist non-duplicative efforts of other community 19
It is mentioned that, in the past, the committee has favorably reviewed economic development projects that have included:
Seed money for county-wide or multi-county economic development organizations,
. Public infrastructure and services to support new or expanding businesses, and,
Public facilities and services that are supportive of a
community's ability to attract specific business prospects.
A part of the Impact Assistance Grant Program is the program for water and sewer loans. This program was established by the legislature in 1985 (CRS 39-29-110). Loans may be sought for the
planning, design, construction, erection, building, acquisition, alteration, modernization, reconstruction, improvement, or expansion of domestic wastewater treatment and potable water treatment facilities. There is not a separate application procedure for this program.
A community applies for a grant. The staff, as part of its review of all applications, identifies for the Advisory Committee those applications which may warrant a loan as a reasonable alternative to providing full funding as a grant.
The grant program also allows state agencies to apply for assistance from the Mineral Lease Fund. Those applications should meet one or more of the following guidelines:
- 87 -
The project is related to addressing adverse effects of energy and mineral impact at the local level,
The state role is coordination of local efforts related to planning or implementing mitigative activities to relieve adverse impacts,
The access and use of state services to impacted communities will be improved through the establishment of field functions located in impacted regions, and,
Communities have identified the need for state involvement in
the solution of local problems which may extend beyond
municipal, county, or regional jurisdictional boundaries.
The Impact Assistance Application is, in terms of paper area,
four times greater than that of the Colorado Initiatives Application.
The requirements for financial and fiscal information are much more
explicit and require much more detail. Demographic information is
..required (none is requested for Colorado Initiatives), flood plain and
hazardous geological information is required, and even preliminary
engineering studies may be needed.
The Statewide Educational Activities for Rural Colorado's Health Program (hereinafter referred to as "SEARCH") was created in 1977. It originated from a federal mandate based on a Carnegie study on Higher Education. That study indicated that there was a
"maldistribution" of health professionals.23 The study advocated that rural health be extended, in part, by seeking decentralized techniques for education. It originally was federally funded. Since 1983, however, it has been totally funded by the state. The focus of the program is health education, the context or location is "rural". The program has two major aspects. The first is to place health students in rural sites for clinical education. It is hoped that this shows the students what opportunities exist in rural areas, and that they might then consider practicing in rural areas. The students come from the four schools of the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center in Denver: School of Medicine, School of Dentistry, School of Nursing, and School of Pharmacy. Dispensed throughout the fourth schools are "Allied Health Personnel" who are people such as Dental Hygienists, Child Health Associates, and so forth.
- 88 -
The second aspect is the provide continuing education for health professionals who are already working in rural areas. This aspect helps to keep those professionals up-to-date, and helps to break down feelings of isolation.
For the purposes of this paper, discussion is focused upon the first aspect. That aspect is the main activity of SEARCH. It is also through the first aspect that the state attempts to, if not assist, then, at least affect small towns and rural areas in some way.
When funding came from both federal and state sources, it reached a high of $1,700,000. Federal funding ceased, beginning in 1983, causing a dramatic budgeting shift. In 1983, the state provided $856,000. SEARCH began zero-based budgeting that year, which caused them to reconsider priorities. Currently, SEARCH is budgeted for about $890,000, all of which comes from the state's general fund.
From 1977 through 1985, approximately 3,540 students have
-participated in SEARCH. Through the first six years of the program,
the number of students increased each year, from 282 during the first
year (1977-78)' to 510 during the sixth year (1982-83). Since then, the
number has fluctuated It was down the next year to 468. During the
eighth year (1984-85), it was up again as 509 students participated.
The program is, according to Kautzky, showing the effects of a changing
student population. Students, on the whole, are tending to be older with lower incomes (because they are not being supported from home since they are older and self-supporting), and more are married than before, an increasing number of whom are women with families.
Students participate in the program as one of their
"rotations". During the clinical phase of their education, health
students are involved in several rotations. Each rotation gives a student the opportunity to clinically participate (to practice, hands-on) in a different area (specialty or subspecialty) of medicine, nursing, dentistry, or pharmacy, depending, of course, on what the student is studying. The length of time that a rotation lasts varies according to the level and type of education. For example, a student of pediatrics has a rotation of four weeks in duration. A student of family medicine has a rotation of six weeks.
- 89 -