A Book Review of Systemic Planning: Theory and Application by Anthony James Catanese and Alan Walter Steiss for Administrative Science Quarterly.

by Daniel J. Alesch

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A serious attempt to upgrade the theory and practice of urban planning by integrating with it concepts and methods from applied systems analysis. Methods of analysis and implementation are discussed in five parts: theory or systemic planning; application by PPBS; physical development models and tools; environment for planning; and conclusions and prospects. Although the major concepts presented are essentially sound, transitions and elaborations are missing, and the work suffers somewhat from logical inconsistencies and mistaken interpretations. The most serious mistake is that Catanese and Steiss assume that there is a basic difference between urban planning and applied systems analysis. They imply that systems analysts and urban planners deal with with different kinds of problems, whereas the reviewer maintains that urban planning is simply one subject matter to which systems analysis methods may be applied. In spite of these shortcomings, the book has merit because of the importance of the problems it addresses and because it addresses those problems from a realistic perspective.

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