Conceptualizing of power in urban planning theories

Document Type : Original Article


1 Faculty of Urban Planning, College of Fine Arts, University of Tehran, Tehran, Iran

2 Department of Urban Planning , Tarbiat Modares University, Tehran, Iran

3 Faculty of Urban planning, College of fine arts, Tehran University, Tehran, Iran.


In the current literature of social and political theories, power is regarded as one of the most controversial dynamics and a unique feature of social systems. Throughout the urban planning context, power is depicted as the interrelationship between urban planning policies and the accumulation as well as circulation of capital. The importance of this process comes from the distribution of capital in support of social justice, while power is a critical factor that influences planners' decisions in the way of applying urban resources. As a result of power relations which reproduced along with each planning decision making, democratic and rational decisions may be restricted in many cases, making it difficult to alter or modify these frameworks. Therefore, it is imperative to understand the impact of different power types as a main source of power relations, to comprehend urban planning decision-making thoroughly. This article presents fundamental research using a descriptive-explanatory methodology with qualitative content analysis that is mapped chronologically to provide a comprehensive analysis of the types of power that influence urban planning. To accomplish this goal, the article presents different types of power definitions and explanations. Following that, a complete classification of powers will be interpreted, and seven types of power will be examined at various levels of urban society. Furthermore, the last part analyzes how these seven types are embodied and conceptualized in the evolution of contemporary urban planning theories.


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