Increasing awareness through an ecological approach to planning education
The conteporary planner has a tremendous impact on the sustainability of both the social and biophysical environments. The ramifications of planning action are extensive and it is essential that planners fully understand their magnitude. Planning education, as an integral component of planning, is vital in fostering a greater understanding of these complex interrelationships and is therefore the subject of investigation in this thesis. This thesis discusses the paradigmatic development of planning in order to historically contextualize the role the discipline has played in the current ecological crisis. The ecological ignorance of traditionally 'rational' theories is identified and the development of contemporary 'radical' planning theories explored. Substantive ecological theories are then examined and placed within the context of radical planning thought in an attempt to offer new perspectives on how to operationalize an ecological approach to planning education. The results of empirical research are presented and further address the current situation of planning education. In addition, these findings offer informative perspectives on the movement towards an ecological approach. Finally, a distinct set of ecological principles is developed and recommended to guide the future restructuring of planning education. These program elements are intended to provide the foundation for an education in which future planners can attain greater ecological literacy and contribute to the long-term sustainability of all life.