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Planning history's mistakes

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All planning histories run the risk, unavoidably perhaps, of making mistakes, of misshaping stories, of getting it wrong. When we get it wrong we invite the planning for the future to rest on false premises. The job of planning historians, then, is to continuously be vigilant and re-examine our work. This paper examines two prize winning works in American planning history that focus on Colonial South Carolina and on the Tennessee Valley Authority. Three kinds of mistakes are identified: errors of exclusion, unexamined contradictions and experimentalism. This paper was originally offered as the first ‘Gordon E. Cherry Invitational Lecture’ to the Planning History Study Group Symposium: Planning and Planning Personalities, in Hammanskraal, South Africa, September 2–4, 1996.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: July 1, 1997

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