Communihood: Being a planning activist in the twenty-first century
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Introducing communihood as a hybrid concept and defining planning activism as a planners' role outside the dominant planning power structure are two main contributions of this dissertation in scholarly debates among planning scholars about the shape of cities in twenty-first century and the 'best' role for planners in a postmodern society. Communihood is introduced as a hybrid alternative for historical approaches in differentiating between community and neighborhood based on their social or spatial characteristics that has been escalated in the last decades by the development of Information Technology and Social Media. Therefore, communihood is defined as a synthesis of the socio-spatial dialectic that incorporates social and spatial capital without privileging one over the other. Then I explain identity, diversity, and power relation in communihood and discuss how Information Technology and Social Media can be used to boost these characteristics in communihood in the twenty-first century. After defining communihood as a context for every planning project in the twenty-first century, I criticize the planning scholars' traditional efforts to define the 'best' role for planners in post-modern society based on Habermas's theory of Communicative Rationality as an alternative for traditional scientific rationality in rational comprehensive planning. I argue that it is important to recognize that there are different roles for planners and needs for planners' expertise in a society in public and private sectors, and planners can decide to fulfill each of them based on their personal preferences. However, in order to play an activist role in planning, it is crucial for them to work outside the planning power structure to represent those interests that has been traditionally marginalized in the dominant planning processes. Finally, I introduce Jason Roberts' work in Oak Cliff, TX as a case study of planning activism in a twenty-first century communihood.