Toward a Political Urban Planning

Learning from Growth Machine and Advocacy Planning to “Plannitize” Urban Politics

Planning Theory.

Emmanuel Frimpong Boamah, assistant professor of urban and regional planning, and Wes Grooms examine Advocacy Planning through the lens of political–economic urban governance theories—primarily Growth Machine.

The first part of the article engages Advocacy Planning and Growth Machine in a conceptual dialogue to search for new insights into the causes of, and potential solutions to, planning’s hitherto inability to significantly mitigate urban social inequity and injustice. The analysis corroborates long-standing assertions of planning’s ineffectiveness in redressing inequitable urban planning outcomes as being resultant of the unequal—and dominant—power held by the governing growth coalition. The second part proffers three lessons that Growth Machine offers to Advocacy Planning, specifically, and urban planning, generally. These lessons constitute the axes of plannitizing urban politics by way of bridging planning’s long-standing power gap through an evolved normative planning education and praxis—a political urban planning.


Wes Grooms
University of Louisville

Emmanuel Frimpong Boamah, Assistant Professor
Department of Urban and Regional Planning, University at Buffalo


Planning Theory

Date Published