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Planning for Change: The Roles of Habitual Practice and Habitus in Planning Practice

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This article, which draws on psychological and sociological theories, argues that if current planning practices are to change to achieve more sustainable and socially affordable housing, planners' current habitual practices and the context in which planning occurs must change. By considering practices that occur in specific contexts, the conditions under which change can occur are delineated. This is achieved by understanding the universal nature of habitual practices and how they are affected by, and reproduce, context. The utility of this approach to changing planning practices is highlighted using two case studies. These involve the shift by builders to using sustainable materials in the construction of a master-planned community and the achievement of water saving targets in one Australian city. Finally, recommendations about how planning practices can be changed, based on the suggested approach, are presented.
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Keywords: Habit; affordability; environmental sustainability; habitus; neo-liberalism; planners; practice; urban planning

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Global Studies, Social Science & Planning, RMIT University, Melbourne, Australia 2: Psychological Sciences, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia

Publication date: 2012-06-01

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