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


Purchase Print Copy

 FormatList Price Price
Add to Cart Paperback4 pages $20.00 $16.00 20% Web Discount

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.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation Paper series. The paper was a product of the RAND Corporation from 1948 to 2003 that captured speeches, memorials, and derivative research, usually prepared on authors' own time and meant to be the scholarly or scientific contribution of individual authors to their professional fields. Papers were less formal than reports and did not require rigorous peer review.

Our mission to help improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis is enabled through our core values of quality and objectivity and our unwavering commitment to the highest level of integrity and ethical behavior. To help ensure our research and analysis are rigorous, objective, and nonpartisan, we subject our research publications to a robust and exacting quality-assurance process; avoid both the appearance and reality of financial and other conflicts of interest through staff training, project screening, and a policy of mandatory disclosure; and pursue transparency in our research engagements through our commitment to the open publication of our research findings and recommendations, disclosure of the source of funding of published research, and policies to ensure intellectual independence. For more information, visit www.rand.org/about/research-integrity.

The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.