PEOPLE AND PLANS: Essays on Urban Problems and Solutions by Herbert J. Gans

PEOPLE AND PLANS: Essays on Urban Problems and Solutions

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KIRKUS REVIEW

The professional pieces of an eminent sociologist and urban planner. Gans, whose researches made him an apologist for suburbia (The Levittowners, 1967), here reiterates his happier conclusions and goes on, particularly in the more recent essays, to the stonier issues of poverty and racism in urban growth. In the twenty-nine essays--twelve not previously published, others rescued from professional journals--Gans sometimes repeats himself as he hammers home the tenets of his planning doctrine. Basically, he believes that ""planners must begin with the goals of the community--and of its people--and then develop those programs which constitute the best means for achieving the communities' goals."" This approach, which he calls ""goal-oriented planning,"" is offered in contradiction to the ""physical fallacy"" that buildings, streets, and planning principles shape human behavior--and ought to--rather than the reverse. Gans' advocacy of ""human renewal"" to replace urban renewal and his other humanistically-oriented theories are no longer highly controversial in professional circles. The startling essay on urban riots appeared as a chapter of the recent Report of the Commission on Civil Disorders.

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1968
Publisher: Basic Books