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The main body of the book begins with a chapter (Chapter 2) on the history of urbanization of the United States. To a large extent, the history of planning in the United States is a series of responses to problems that have flowed from the process of urbanization. Thus that chapter serves as background for the rest of the book. Chapters 3 and 4 trace the history of planning in the United States in the historical context established by Chapter 2.

Planning is conditioned and limited by the law and takes place within a political process. Ultimately, planning is a political act. In Part 2, Chapters 5 and 6 establish the legal and political framework in which planning takes place. Chapter 7 lays out some of the main social issues in planning. The concept of the community master plan or comprehensive plan occupies a central place in the development of planning, and the development and implementation of such a plan is often a major task of the planning agency. Chapter 8 presents the comprehensive planning process. Chapter 9 follows with a presentation on the tools of land-use planning to give the reader an understanding of how the community can implement the comprehensive plan.

Part 3 of the book, from Chapter 10, "Urban Design," to Chapter 16, "Planning for Metropolitan Regions," covers a variety of fields in contemporary planning practice. Once the material in Parts 1 and 2 has been assimilated, each chapter in Part 3 will stand on its own.

Part 4 provides a larger view. Chapter 17, "National Planning in the United States," addresses the extent to which we have had de facto national planning.

Chapter 18, "Planning in Other Nations," provides sketches of planning elsewhere with a view to expanding the reader's perspective on U.S. practice—to suggest that the way planning is practiced in the United States is only one of many possible ways, and to highlight the way a society's basic institutions and ideology shape planning practice.

Chapter 19, "Planning Theory," serves as a wrap-up and expansion of many ideas suggested earlier in the book. It is left to the end so that the reader can approach it with some background, and thus put some meat on the bare theoretical and ideological bones.


1. See the website of the American Planning Theory for Practitioners, Planners Press,

Association, American Planning Association, Chicago,

2. For a good presentation on these and related IL, 2002, chs 12 and 13.

matters, see Michael P. Brooks, Planning

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