Collaborative Planning Theory

Collaborative Planning Theory is one of the most widely practiced theories which takes into account the roles  of the people for a better plan making.

Four Components of Collaborative Planning Theory:

Collaborative Planning Theory
Collaborative Planning Theory

1. Arenas of discoursee are produced and reproduced. Arenas refers to the  spaces where negotiations and re-negotiations take place.

  • Planning is an interactive and interpretive process drawing on the multidimensional life worlds or practical sense rather than a single formalised dimension as scientific rationalism.
  • There is equality of information with no withholding back of information required by every one.

 2.  Production and reproduction of knowledge which is required for the process of decision-making. It is created by the interactions between the different knowing subjects. All forms of knowledge are used. The discussions can have moral dilemmas like the sealing case in Delhi or aesthetic debates such as over ground metro construction in South Delhi

3. Communicative rationality or communication between the shareholders. The stakeholders can be individual (local population), group, government, private of non govt organisations. Not just conventional forms of communication but also presentation techniques like storytelling, using metaphors, images and aesthetic illustrations of experiences, some of which may be hearsay.

  • Statistical analyses are employed along with poems and fables.
  • All agendas deserve merit. Claims that certain issues are off-agenda are not accepted. In collaborative planning there is ontological security i.e. people are comfortable to contribute to the discussions without any fear of reprisals. It is very important for the various participants to feel equal to one another and not that one is wiser than the other
  • A person should use his skills at argumentation to convince people and not his status in society.
  • All participants are given due respect by hearing them. This is especially relevant in case of India where there are people from a very diverse background. In this context, there are 4 social constructs
    • gender
    • religion
    • caste
    • race (identity)

these parameters are important as they influence who will speak, how much, why, when, about what. It also determines who will here and how much with what degree of willingness. E.g. acting upon a suggestion mad by a poor person of a low-caste will be much more difficult than executing the proposals of a well off professional.

  • There are various non-verbal messages which are sent during a course. Anthony Geddens feels that the subjects are learned and competent enough due to their past experiences to interpret them and critically reflect upon them.
  • Critical intent is directed towards discourses and not individuals as that might humiliate and discourage them to raise a point in future.
  • The aim is to mutually understand one another;s view points. To achieve this, questions such as ‘can you explain how your concern will affect what we are discussing?
  • Hence, the fluid and overlapping discourses do not aim at bargaining around pre defined agendas but to together identify common issues of concern.
  • Body of knowledge i.e. preconceived ideas about how a discussion should take place is discouraged.
  • People try to shed their rigid preferences in order to be more open to the thoughts and ideas of others.

Habermus gave 4 criteria for communicative rationality under collaborative planning

  • Sincerity: it helps in trusting the speaker.
  • Legitimacy: this is not a given but has to be constructed through discourse because what might be legitimate for one person may not be for someone else. This happens because different people have different experiences and different understandings of the same context.
  • truthfulness: helps the public know the real intentions of the speaker
  • comprehensibility : speaker should talk in a language which can be understood by the listeners and vice versa.

4. Trust is an essential part of collaborative planning without which people will not be able to communicate productively with one another and no fruitful results would be obtained.

  • The fact that different stakeholders have decided to meet one another is based on some pre-existing trust.
  • Over time, trust can grow and become more mature. It can also decrease if a person makes repetitive mistakes or misrepresent information.
  • Trust means that people do not expect others to behave in a way which can be harmful for them. People have faith in one another’ s competence, reliability and capabilities.
  • planner plays the role of an enabler.
  • It can be carried out along or without the state.

hence, by following all these measures, deliberative democracy is practiced. This makes collaborative planning widely acceptable model. 


Read about: Advocacy Planning Concept, Rational Planning Model, Political Economy Model

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