Planning in Complexity: Applying Collaborative Rationality to Wicked Problems
Professor Emerita of City and Regional Planning, UC Berkeley
In this lecture, Professor Judith Innes will discuss the challenges of planning in complexity. These days planners are faced with great uncertainty as the demands of players and interests proliferate and as traditional government institutions are becoming less effective in addressing public problems. Trust in government is at a low, as is trust in science and expertise. Things fall between the cracks of government with no one to make meaningful, feasible plans, much less take charge of complex tasks. The situation has created an institutional void—an uncharted space where actors are inventing new ways of making decisions and taking collective action. These new approaches most often involve collaboration among public agencies, private entities, NGOs and other stakeholders. They rely on multiple forms of knowledge, build relationships, engage in joint learning and frequently move forward jointly. Such methods are better suited than bureaucracy or legislative process for dealing with complexity, rapid change, and uncertainty of because they are more flexible, inclusive and better informed. This talk will lay out principles and practices for such collaborations to be effective, fair, and built on sound knowledge. These will be illustrated through case studies in California water management and regional sustainability. The bottom line is that collaboration, done properly, is a far more effective strategy for wicked problems than traditional analytic command and control.
Judith Innes holds a PhD from MIT’s Department of Urban Studies and Planning and an undergraduate degree in English from Harvard University. Her work focuses on planning and public policy making processes, with an emphasis on collaborative dialogues and cooperative efforts of many kinds. Her goal is to find out whether, how and why these work and to build theory about these with an eye to informing practice and other scholars. Her research has looked at growth management, regional transportation planning, water planning and management, and voluntary civic regionalism.
Her most recent work has been on governance of large-scale fragmented regions, and makes the case that this cannot be done by formal, hierarchical government alone because of the complexity and rapid evolution of such regions. The future will depend on networks, informal actions and a wide range of players working in concert and in collaboration. In the last decade her work has been joint with David Booher. This includes particularly their book, Planning with Complexity: An Introduction to Collaborative Rationality, Routledge 2010.
She was director of the Institute of Urban and Regional Development at Berkeley, a campus-wide organised research unit addressing an array of topics through externally funded faculty and student research. In her capacity as director she also directed the Community Partnerships office (former the University Oakland Metropolitan Forum) and was involved in managing a variety of community development efforts, action research, and community-based learning projects in partnership with localities, foundations and NGOs. She is author, editor or co-author of more than 50 articles and book chapters, four books and two major monographs.
- Date and Time
B117 Theatre, Basement
Melbourne School of Design
University of Melbourne, VIC, Australia