Planners and Love from this edition of Planning Theory and Practice

This is free for the taking from Taylor and Francis Online: What’s Love Got to Do With It: Loving Attachment in Planning from a roundtable in 2009 sponsored by the Planners of Color Interest Group. It’s got a great line-up of writers including–and I’m going to sound ageist as all hell here–older and younger planning scholars. I say this with a reason, despite my desire to be both inclusive and respectful of the many wonderful scholars who are older and making great contributions. In addition to being very white, the planning academy is dominated by baby boomer full professors who seldom invite anybody but their buddies onto round-tables with them; there is a great deal of sameness in that kind of set-up.

The organizers of this roundtable didn’t make that mistake here. We have some of the field’s established scholars (Leonie Sandercock and Robert Lake, who are always worth reading) and some junior stars (Aftab Erfan, Michelle Kondo, Marisa Zapata, Lisa Bates, and Andrew Zitcer). The result is very readable mix of theory writing and riffs on personal reflections that should get you thinking.

Zitcer and Lake take up some thinking that we just explored in my justice class, on agape and eros. Our exploration was slightly different: we were using Anders Nygren’s construction of eros and agape; Zitcer and Lake examine philia while we (naturally) took up nomos–justice. I love (har! see what I did there? I slay me) Nygren’s definition of agape: “gratuitous benevolence.” Gratuitous benevolence. What would a world governed by gratuitous benevolence look like?

Love and care ethics have been around for a bit, and it’s refreshing to see planners articulating their own understanding of it.