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A Gender Agenda: New Directions for Planning Theory Leonie Sandercock & Ann Forsyth Available online: 26 Nov 2007

To cite this article: Leonie Sandercock & Ann Forsyth (1992): A Gender Agenda: New Directions for Planning Theory, Journal of the American Planning Association, 58:1, 49-59 To link to this article: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/01944369208975534

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A Gender Agenda New Directions for Planning Theory

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Leonie Sandercock and Ann Forsyth Since the 1970s increased attention has been focused on gender in relation to planning practice, but not to planning theory. Feminist theory has much to contribute to planning theory, particularly in five areas: spatial, economic, and social relationships; language and communication; epistemology and methodology; ethics; and the nature of the public domain. In turn, gendersensitive theory could contribute to research in five areas of practice and education.

Sandercock, previously professor and chair of the graduate urban studies program a t Macquarie University in Sydney from 1981 to 1986, is now visiting professor and lecturer in the urban planning program at the University of California, Los Angeles. She has recently published Property, Politics and UrbanPlanning: A History of Australian City Planning, 1890-1990. Forsyth is a doctoral student in planning at Cornell. She has degrees in architecture from the University of Sydney and in planning from the University of California, Los Angeles, and has practiced social planning in Australia. Journal of the American Planning Association,Vol. 58, No. 1, Winter 1992. @AmericanPlanning Association, Chicago, IL. APA JOURNAL

“Women face problems of such significance in cities and society that gender can no longer be ignored in planning practice,” says Leavitt (1986, 181). In “Toward a Woman-Centered University,” Adrienne Rich speaks of the need to change the center of gravity within academia to encompass women’s knowledge and experience (1979). Planners also must work to change the center of gravity within their field. Leavitt (1986); Wekerle (1980); Hayden (1 98 1, 1984); Cooper Marcus and Sarkissian (1986); and Stimpson et al. (1981) write of the importance of gender as a focus in planning practice. The crucial connections between theory and practice are, however, still rare and tentative. With the new wave of feminist thinking in the 1970s came a spate of research on women and the urban environment, but the integration of that rapidly growing body of work with theory and paradigms to explain women’s urban experience was “still far in the future” (Wekerle 1980). The 1980s witnessed some flourishing of attention to gender in policy questions in the “women and . . . ” literature (women and housing, women and transportation, women and economic development).’ But in the developed countries, of all of the subfields within planning, theory remains the most male dominated and the least influenced by any awareness of the importance of gender. (By contrast, for developing countries see Moser and Levi 1986 and Moser 1989.) The works of Hayden (1981, 1984); and Leavitt and Saegert (1989); as well as the literature on gender issues in international development, are path breaking and inspirational, but they are marginalized or ignored by most of the rest of planning theory.’ If gender can no longer be ignored in planning practice, how can the theoretical debates continue to be silent on the subject? Of course, much depends on how we define planning theory. There is as little agreement within planning as to what constitutes planning theory, as there is within feminism as to what constitutes feminist theory. Not simply a semantic difficulty, it is a question of contested terrain. It is a political question. Just as feminists use competing theories to understand or explain the oppression and subordination of women, planners use competing theories to explain the role, practice, and effects of planning. Even more fundamentally, disagreement abounds as to the proper theoretical object of planning theory. Planning theory can be delineated into three different emphases: planning practice, political economy, and metatheory (Sandercock and Forsyth 1990). At one level are those authors who theorize about planning practice, both its processes and outcomes. In general, theories of planning practice involve analysis of the procedures, actions, and behavior of planners. They may also include an analysis of the context or concrete situation in which planners are ~ o r k i n g . ~ The political economy approach examines the nature and meaning of urban planning in capitalist society. This approach might encompass speculations about the relationships among capitalism, democracy, and reform. Generally this approach is disinterested in planning

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LEONIE SANDERCOCK AND ANN FORSYTH practice. Rather, this work begins with a general theorymost commonly some version of Marxism-and uses case studies from the planning arena to illustrate the prechosen theory.4 The metatheory approach involves work that asks fundamental epistemological and methodological questions about planning. Its theoretical object is an abstract, general notion of planning as a rational human activity that involves the translation of knowledge into action. At this level, theorists are no longer necessarily talking specifically about urban or regional planning, but about planning as a generic activity and as a historical legacy of the Enlightenment.’ Gender issues emerge in each of the three approaches and take the form of such themes as the economic status of women, the location and movement of women through the built environment, the connections between capitalist production and patriarchal relationships and between public and domestic life, how women know about the world and about what is good, and the forms of communication with which women are most comfortable or by which they are most threatened. An awareness of these issues is lacking in planning theory. The objective of this paper is not to present a singular feminist theory of planning practice. Rather it examines those aspects of feminist theory that seem to have the most to offer planning theory.

Spatial, Economic, and Social Relationships Contemporary Western feminism emerged from a particular urban form-the mid-twentieth-century capitalist city, “which expressed and reinforced differentiated gender roles” (Mackenzie 1989, 110). As more women have become wage earners the physical constraints of this type of city have become apparent. Child care is rarely close to employment centers. When unavailable, women are severely constrained by the difficult decision between not having children and paying for child care in lost wages or lost time. Similarly, mass transit is scheduled for rational commutes to work rather than the erratic movements of women responsible for both domestic duties and paid work (Palm and Pred 1976; Pickup 1984). Theoretical accounts of these issues and the links among them emerge infrequently and only recently in the field of urban planning. Feminist theory, however, has examined these issues. In a pioneering article, Ann Markusen (1980) argued that women’s household work had been ignored by both Marxist and neoclassical economists, even though this work has a large impact on the use of cities. She examines these issues in relation to capitalism and patriarchy. Other feminist scholars are working on the relationship among capitalist urbanization, the built environment, and gender (Huxley 1988; Mackenzie 1989), or among household, community, and city (Leavitt and Saegert 1989; Mack-

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enzie 1988). Some of this work has grown from attempts to develop a feminist Marxism. Other feminists, dissatisfied with mainstream theories that define human relations primarily in terms of capitalist production in the official economy, have responded with subjectivist, communitarian, or hermeneutical approaches, and have emphasized the traditional, lifesustaining work of women. When the object of this work is to create new theories to better understand the context of planning, then it fits into the political economy approach to planning theory. When the primary object is to generate strategies and programs for change, then the work belongs with theories of feminist planning practice. Dolores Hayden’s article “What Would a Nonsexist City Be Like?” (1980) and her book, Redesigning the American Dream (1984), provide the best known and broadest theories and visions of feminist planning practice in developed nations. Theories that are broad in scope link different activities and scales of planning-home and transport, household sexual politics, work places, and the environment, for example-rather than just concentrating on one activity. Hayden describes a diversity of women-single parents, poor women, battered wives, and so forth-and their different needs. This sense of women being at the same time a whole and also a collection of smaller populations grew during the 1980s, particularly as minority women began to speak out on women’s issues (King 1988). Women are divided by geographical, political, religious, class, and cultural boundaries. Yet the internationalized economy exacerbates the vulnerability of women, who continue to undertake the bulk of unpaid domestic work and are engaged in low-wage work and unorganized informal markets. Women are linked to each other more than ever by an international network of decisions. Immigrant workers, or nonmigrants working for mobile firms, exemplify this connection (Sassen-Koob 1984). Feminist theory is currently grappling with differences among women. The book title, ALL the WomenAre White, ALL the Blacks Are Men, But Some of Us Are Brave (Hull et al. 1982), reflects the vigorous exchange about whether feminist theory is ethnocentric, grounded only in the experience of white women, and whether adding in minority women is enough. Some feminists hold that theoretical categories need to be reformed in light of the distinct experiences of minority women (Barrett and McIntosh 1985; Bhavnani and Coulson 1986; Lugones and Spelman 1983; Hooks 1984). Planning theory must treat this diversity seriously. Theorists must also be able to determine when it is appropriate to distinguish between specific categories and when the experiences among women of different classes, races, and other backgrounds are actually congruent (Collins 1990, 2 17-9). Theorizing within this multiplicity of voices is a complex task, but not doing so can make “woman” as oppressive a category as “man” (Harding 198613). As yet, planning theory literature deals hardly at all with multiple

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A GENDER AGENDA oppressions by race, sexual preference, culture, and gender. Leavitt and Saegert’s (1989) work on gender, race, and age among poor people is a notable exception. Outside planning there are more attempts6

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Language and Communication Planning theorists are currently involved in debates over the types and uses of rational communication, the use of language as a means of empowerment, the construction of meaning (Marris 1987), and microanalyses of communication as action and of listening as a crucial tool of social policy (Forester 1989). Recent feminist scholarship has extended the scope of this important work. Feminist theories of language often start by showing how language forms one’s sense of reality, order, and place in the community. As such, language can be limiting as well as empowering (Spender 1985; Collins 1987). Feminists have pointed to inequalities in the use of language, for example, to how men interrupt women more often than women interrupt men and to how men listen less intently to women than women listen to men (Spender 1985; 41-50, 121-9). Important empirical studies are being conducted on how through language women come to know their world differently from each other and from men (Belenky et al. 1986). Minority women have pointed to their distinct use and experience of language (Hooks 1984; Williams 1988; Collins 1990). Empowering language and dominant forms of communications are frequently acquired through formal education. Where education is unequally distributed, inequalities in communication will be accentuated. The upbringing and life experience of many women have actively discouraged them from speaking out or speaking up for their own needs. And when women do speak, they are more ambivalent than men about speaking assertively and with authority and are less comfortable than men with the dominant rational, scientific modes of thought (Okin 1989, 72). Evidence of communication inequalities emerges in such areas as citizen participation. Professional jargon and argumentative speaking styles can alienate, confuse, or render women speechless. Although in practice residents and planners are likely to be to somewhat “multilingual” (many planners are women, after all, and many men are sensitive to these issues), theory should address this need for appropriate styles of communication. Theory needs to consider the assumption, implicit in pluralist political theory, that, if given the chance, all interest groups will articulate their demands in a roughly equivalent manner. Given the current socialization of women, particularly women who suffer multiple disadvantages because of class, race, education, health, and self-esteem, this simply may not be the case. A feminist planner, experienced in neighborhood consultation and participatory planning, described her difficulties in encouraging people at public meetings to

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contribute equally, particularly when many women are socialized to believe they have nothing valuable to say. She responded to this problem in one large community meeting by asking people to sit in small groups and tell a story or anecdote about their neighborhood. People then had no trouble speaking out about their lives and their community. Previously silent or hesitant participants found that they too possessed knowledge. For example, women who were stuck in the suburbs all day talked about the problems of public transport for themselves and their family. The storytelling format gave a variety of people the courage to be more involved (Sarkissian 1990). Theories of professional communication and citizen representation and participation need to be developed to understand these complex inequalities in planning and to develop strategies to bring women out of silence. Balancing equality and special treatment is always a complicated task, but ignoring gender is a false equality.

Methodology and Epistemology The case for a feminist perspective on epistemology and methodology in planning is grounded in feminist critiques of content, theory, and method in the social sciences.7 The tendency in the social sciences has been to validate only scientific and technical knowledge and dismiss all other kinds of knowledge. Feminists are increasingly critical of the traditional dualism that pits reason against passion and rationality against politics, as if reason excludes passion, as if politics, by definition, were irrational. Instead, feminists argue for what Belenky et al. (1 986) call “connected knowing,” which emphasizes relationship, rather than separation between the self and the object of research, and for discussion of the politics of theory and method and of the origins and implications of theoretical hierarchies. In her paper criticizing theory and method in geography, “On Being Outside The Project,” Christopherson (1 989) notes recent work by feminists and other critical theorists in jurisprudence, history, philosophy, and aesthetics, which discuss the relationship between theory construction and power. These feminists insist that theorists must identify their personal position relative to the theoretical object. By way of example, Collins (1990) elaborates four elements that shape her articulation of an Afrocentric feminist epistemology: concrete experience as a criterion of meaning, the use of dialogue in assessing knowledge claims, an ethic of caring that stresses a capacity for empathy and the appropriateness of emotions in dialogue, and an ethic of personal accountability. Feminists are certainly not alone in their critiques of positivist epistemology (Kuhn 1962; Polanyi 1958, Feyerabend 1975), but their work originates in response to an alienation from the methods of research and definitions of knowledge that denigrate or ignore women’s experiences and that refuse to consider the political content of knowledge creation.

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LEONIE SANDERCOCK AND ANN FORSYTH John Friedmann’s recent synthesis of planning theory, Planning in the Public Domain: From Knowledge to Action, is an example of planning theory’s uncertainty about its knowledge base. Initially he defines his theoretical object-planning-as the linking of scientific and technical knowledge to action in the public domain. But in conclusion he turns away from purely technocratic planning and embraces subjective knowledge as the foundation of a radical planning approach-a stance more sympathetic to feminist critiques (Friedmann 1987, 4 13-5). A distinctively feminist epistemology would be controversial (Sandercock and Forsyth 1992). Feminist insights, however, would expand the planner’s perspective beyond scientific and technical knowledge to other ways of knowing. First, planners would accept that knowledge is gained through talking, especially through oral traditions and gossip, which Belenky et al. define as conversations among intimates, talk about feelings, about the personal, the particular, the petty, but not necessarily the trivial. “Gossip, like poetry and fiction, penetrates to the truth of things,” says Belenky et al. It is a “special mode of knowing,” which moves back and forth between large and small, between particular and general (Belenky et al. 1986, 116). Second, knowledge is gained through listening, which Forester (1 989) insightfully describes as “the social policy of everyday life,” and indispensable to those working in planning. Third, knowing is also tacit or intuitive (Polanyi 1958). As microbiologist Barbara MCLintock has argued, “Reason is not by itself adequate to describe and understand the vast complexity, indeed mystery, of living forms” (Keller 1983, 199). Fourth, creating symbolic forms through painting, music, or poetry is a more important way of knowing and communicating than planners have yet been prepared to contemplate. (For example, graffiti, murals, and folk and rap songs are ways in which minorities express themselves.) And, acting and reflecting on the meaning of action yields information about the world in a way that is unavailable through technical books and reports. This is the heart of the philosophy of learning by doing, practiced by Jane Addams in her community work in turn-of-the-century Chicago at Hull House (Addams 1910);taken up by philosopher John Dewey who was a frequent visitor to Hull House (Dewey 1929); and developed later in planning in the work of Donald Schon in his discussion of reflective practice (Schon 1983). All of these ways of knowing are inseparable from the subject who is doing the talking, listening, or acting. Knowledge, thus is partially autobiographical, and, therefore, is gender based. Moreover, knowledge is a social construction. Different kinds of knowledge, including scientific and technical forms, must be shared through communication to construct meaning. The construction of meaning involves communication, politics, and passion. Knowledge is, therefore, an ongoing and unfinished business. Expanding the ways of knowing leads to a rethinking of other methodological issues, such as how to go about M A JOURNAL

research in planning. Again, the feminist social scientists can assist planners with these issues. Sociologists Judith Cook and Mary Fonow (1986) have outlined five basic principles of a feminist methodology: (1) to continuously and reflexively attend to the significance of gender and gender asymmetry as a basic feature of all social life, including the conduct of research; (2) to accept the centrality of consciousness raising as a specific methodological tool and as a general orientation, or way of seeing; (3) to challenge the norm of objectivity that assumes that the subject and object of research can be separated and that personal experiences are unscientific; (4) to be concerned with the ethical implications of feminist research, and recognition of the exploitation of women as objects of knowledge; and (5) to focus on the empowerment of women and transformation of patriarchal social institutions through research. While a distinctive feminist method of research or a distinctive feminist epistemology would be unbalanced, it must be recognized with Westkott (1 979) that knowledge is inherently dialectical and that feminist inquiry has emancipatory as well as critical power.

Ethics in Planning Recently feminist attention has focused on ethics in response to the influential and controversial work of Carol Gilligan (1982), who with a group of colleagues published a series of studies critical of the work of Lawrence Kohlberg, a psychologist who advanced the theory that humans develop in a morally autonomous fashion, skilled in reasoning about rights and justice. Gilligan noticed that women rarely did as well as men in Kohlberg’s studies, and proposed that this was not because of inferior moral development but rather because of their different development. She suggested that women tend to develop a morality of responsibility and care, based on relationships with loved ones in stark contrast to Kohlberg’s prototypical liberal individuals with their focus on abstract reasoning about rights and justice (Gilligan 1982; Gilligan et al. 1988; also Chodorow 1978). Although Gilligan originally suggested that these two moral orientations were mutually exclusive, her later work indicates that many people use both when finding the best solution to a problem (Johnston 1988). Other studies have revealed that moralities of responsibility and care can be ascribed not only to women but to other disadvantaged and oppressed groups (Tronto 1987; Collins 1990). Other feminist philosophers have posed the possibility of an ethic based on “maternal thinking” (Ruddick 1983) and have supported findings of altruistic tendencies in the general population (Mansbridge 1988). Gilligan’s work has come under attack for valorizing the consequences of women’s oppression, pointing out that caring can lead to prejudice as well as altruism. Her insights remain an important empirical finding, while leaving unanswered the question of the origin of gender differences in the approach to ethical debates. For planners, this expanded feminist ethic is a com-

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A GENDER AGENDA that liberal theory has ignored the political nature of personal life, the interconnections between gender relations in the family and the paid workplace, and the fact that socialization for citizenship occurs in the domestic realm (Pateman 1983; Okin 1989, Hirschmann 1989). The feminist struggle has led to a variety of activist responses. One feminist stance is to say that the personal realm is political and that issues like domestic violence, which are traditionally seen as private issues, are actually public. A second strategy is to make a private issue, like sexuality or abortion, public until oppressive policies, programs, and plans are eliminated. A third strategy, often conducted by these same feminists, is to make private some actions and behaviors that have traditionally been seen as part of the public domain of planning. These include lobbying for the removal from public scrutiny of the family structure of households in residential areas or the sexual relationships of public housing tenants (information required for housing allocation and rental payments). The thrust of all these strategies is to redefine the meaning of public and private. While abolishing all divisions between the private realm and the larger world would be undesirable, feminists indicate that in the arena of urban planning the line between public and private or domestic life has been drawn to men’s advantage. Thus the public domain is a physical construct that by definition represents a whole set of contested political and economic issues within planning. Feminist analysis of the state can productively interact with planning theory. Feminist theory often characterizes the state as a kind of public patriarchy. Unquestionably The Public Domain its employees are divided by gender, with women conThe place of women in the public domain is a complex centrated in secretarial and clerical work and, at the seissue in planning. Beginning in the Victorian era and nior level, primarily in human services. State policies culminating in the progressive era, “the city of separate about marriage, the family, legitimate violence, industrial spheres,” emerged in which a woman’s proper place was subsidies, and schools tend to reproduce and form gender perceived to be in the home (Wright 1980; Brown 1990). roles and relationships (Connell 1990). Planners assist in For domestics, however, who were usually immigrants this process when they create zoning policies that restrict and black women, that home was someone else’s (Collins cohabitation to only related individuals, forcing out or 1990, 55). Twentieth-century metropolitan spatial form, apart gay couples and communal households (Ritzdorf with its “masculine cities and feminine suburbs” (Saegert 1989), or policies that attract industries with gendersegmented work forces to enterprise zones, thereby rein1980) has reinforced the notion of separate spheres. While sociologist Richard Sennett has discussed “the forcing different job options for men and women. The involvement of planners in current moves to prifall of public man” (1977), feminists in the past few decades have campaigned for the rise of public woman. vatize public services also has a direct though complex The feminist political struggle in recent decades has had effect on women. Women are more likely than men to three components: (1) claiming women’s right to be actors receive public assistance, as single parents, as the domin the public domain and to work and participate fully inant elderly population group, as residents in public in the life of the city; (2) carving out and protecting public housing, or as the majority users of public transport. This space for women; and (3) redefining the nature and extent assistance has given women more choices, relieving them of the public domain. Some feminists argue that dramatic from some of the responsibilities formerly considered changes in metropolitan spatial structures and improve- private or domestic, such as caring for children or older ments in social and transportation policy are required to relatives, and giving them enough material resources to improve the opportunities for women who are also pri- achieve some measure of independence. The form privatization takes-corporate or commumary care-givers to participate in the political and economic life of the city. Second, feminist planners are still nity-based nonprofit group ownership, continued or cut struggling to incorporate the issue of women’s safety into resources-affects this trend toward greater indepenland-use planning. Third, in challenging the definition of dence. A limited equity housing cooperative (like the the public domain in liberal theory, feminists have shown ones studied by Leavitt and Saegert) is a far different

panion, although sometimes an uneasy one, to ideas of community. The new communitarian theorists offer sophisticated critiques of liberalism and offer alternatives with obvious links to feminist theories of care. They tend, however, to be complacent about traditional structures, such as the family or nation, which are hierarchically organized and oppressive to women (Sandel 1982; MacIntyre 1981). Feminists have proposed instead alternative models based on such communities as trade unions and political and self-help groups (Friedman 1989). Planning theory’s sensitive analyses of community have often included critiques of romanticism (Jane Jacobs 1961; Bell andNewby 1976; Heskin 1991; Marris 1987). Leavitt and Saegert’s (1989) study of the residents of landlord abandoned buildings in Harlem, a population predominantly black and female, is a pioneering empirical feminist work. They discovered that many of the residents had formed “community households,” which shared economic and administrative burdens and drew on reciprocal social relations and attachment to place and the historical community of Harlem. Saegert and Leavitt describe the sensitivity required of planners to respect this sense of connection and care, rather than rely solely on economic criteria and formal democratic processes. Black feminist theorist Collins also discusses the centrality of an ethic of caring in African-American women’s culture, but notes that institutional supports validating this ethic are virtually nonexistent (Collins 1990: 21 5-7).

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LEONIE SANDERCOCK AND ANN FORSYTH form of privatization than ownership by an absentee corporate or unrestricted individual landlord. Feminists and planners need to consider this issue in all its complexity, which will mean dealing realistically and at many levels with issues of power and control in women’s lives.

A Gender Research Agenda

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A gender research agenda for planning theory concentrates on areas where feminist theory has had little to say: case studies of planning practice, practical and strategic gender interests, gender in the internal culture of planners, a gender-conscious reform of planning education, and the balance between multiple differences and equality.

Studies of Planning Practice Feminist theory, unlike more academic theories, is related to and grows out of feminist practice. Studies of both feminist planning practice and the relationship of feminist activism to planning are needed. The case studies of traditional planning, however, seldom consider gender issues. Feminist planning needs what Krumholz and Forester (1 990) have done for equity-based planning: an account of attempts to politicize gender issues in planning, followed by a theorizing of the successes and failures. Some international examples serve to inspire us: the Women’s Committee of the Greater London Council (Brown 1990); women’s planning initiatives in Canada (Modlich 1986); and the Dutch women movement’s campaign against clustered deconcentration and their incorporation of social safety into city planning in Amsterdam and Eindhoven (Brown 1990, 206-60). Surely there must be some homegrown equivalents. Arguably the history of city planning should be rewritten, incorporating gender as a category of analysis. Feminist historiography has challenged the notion that the history of women is always the same as the history of men or that significant turning points in history have the same impact on both sexes (Lerner 1979; Kelly 1984; Scott 1986). A gender-conscious approach to the writing of history produces a new set of questions about the history of city planning ideas and practice (Sandercock 1990: 2 1-33) and develops a different sense of historical change. In the history of planning women have often suffered and been discriminated against because men or patriarchal capitalism have controlled their lives, but this is by no means the full story. Women have not simply been victims, they too have been actors, and recent work has begun to uncover their contributions (Hayden 1981; Birch 1983; Davis 1983; Wirka 1989).

Practical and Strategic Gender Interests Feminist planners in developing countries have drawn a distinction between practical and strategic gender interests (Molyneux 1985; Moser 1989). Practical interests

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are derived directly from women’s experiences in their gender relations and their interest in survival, given that context. The practical approach does not challenge current gender relations. Strategic gender interests are derived from a more theoretical or feminist analysis of women’s subordination to men, and aim to alter those relationships. This theoretical construction seems worth exploring for its usefulness in planning in developed countries. It promises to provide a framework for linking the descriptive “women a n d . . . ” literature with explanations of why gender oppression occurs and with programs for fundamental change.

Gender and the Culture of Planners With more women entering the planning profession gender inequality is not merely an issue of the numerical dominance of men. Rather it is male dominance in the theories, standards, and ideologies used to guide planners’ work-that is, in the internal culture of planners. By the late 1980s most planning schools were admitting roughly equal proportions of male and female students, but there nevertheless remain considerable structural inequalities between men and women in the planning profession. There are very few women running or even in the senior ranks of planning agencies. Women are concentrated in human services and social planning, professional areas with small and vulnerable budgets and relatively little prestige and power compared with development control, metropolitan strategy, or transportation planning. In essence, despite their growing numbers, women are still on the periphery rather than at the center of planning practice. Perhaps this will change over time, as women move up through the ranks in the next decade. Or are there structural impediments embedded in the culture of planners that need to be addressed (as there are for women in other professions)? Are women treated differently (from and by men) in the planning workplace? Do they experience difficulties in being heard, in being taken seriously, in being drawn into the confidences or information sharing that constitute the informal web of daily life in a planning office? Are women planners punished by their male peers if they speak out on women’s issues? Do women planners simply not speak out on such issues from fear or from a perception that they would be marginalized in some way for doing so? In other words, is there a dominant male definition of the key issues and roles in the planning workplace that could be at once progressive in class terms and yet gender blind? Two anecdotes suffice. A group of women planners in an Australian capital city, when asked whether they thought that the notion that planning policies are not gender neutral had percolated through the male ranks of the profession and become built-in to their daily practice and discussion, simply laughed at the apparent naiveth of the question, at the hopelessness of the situation, and perhaps, too, at their own tendency to avoid the issue because of the discomfort it inevitably causes. A feminist planner became the manager of community

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A GENDER AGENDA services for a large suburban municipality in Australia. The managers of all the other planning departments within that council were male. She knew that they all met together at the local pub at the end of the week. She suspected that important informal information exchange and power plays took place at these gatherings. She was not invited. Women traditionally have not been part of pub culture in Australian life. This planner was not a drinker and didn’t like the pub atmosphere. Yet she felt excluded and debated raising’the matter with the boys. The issue likely has no solution; if she raised it and was invited to join the men, their conversation would no doubt be constrained by her presence. This problem is an example of how the internal culture of planners reflects the biases of the wider masculine culture, and poses dilemmas for professional women about whether to adjust their behavior accordingly, or whether to try to introduce more female ways of socializing into the workplace. Research based on in-depth interviews could be done about the experience of women in the planning workplace to assess whether and to what extent the gender inequalities and biases of the wider society are being reinforced or challenged. (This is an omission in Forester’s otherwise very perceptive 1989 work on the internal culture of planners.)

Reform of Planning Education During a 1990 Australian government review of metropolitan strategy, a group of women planners were asked about gender issues in the local planning scene. The response was that consciousness of these issues was very low. The respondents added that recent women graduates of the local planning program were actively antifeminist. These new graduates, it seems, are afraid of being stereotyped and dismissed by male colleagues as “noisy feminists.” Further questioning revealed that the planning school has no women on its faculty and that gender issues are not in the syllabus. A recent introductory undergraduate planning course at the University of California at Berkeley had eightyfive students, male and female almost equally represented. Three of thirty lectures dealt specifically with the question of gender in planning history, theory, and practice, while the importance of gender was integrated into the rest of the subject matter. In student evaluations at the end of the course, 10 percent of the students, when asked “What was the worst thing about this class?” replied, “The emphasis on gender.” One student complained that the course should have been titled “Feminist City Planning.” This group ranked the instructor and the course at the lowest possible grade. On the other hand, some 30 percent noted the exploration of gender issues as one of the best things about the class, and ranked both course and instructor at the highest possible grade. This dramatic polarization reveals both the need for and the resistance to a gender-conscious approach to the teaching of planning. Some feminist planners indicate that attempts

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to introduce a more gender-sensitive curriculum in planning programs continue to be met with resistance and incomprehension by male-dominated faculties.

Balancing Differences and Equality Feminism starts from an experience of difference-the differences between men and women, differences that in some way cause women to be disadvantaged. Recently, however, the focus in some feminist work has shifted to considerations of differences among women, which raises new and important questions. How do different groups of women use and experience cities? Do public spaces hold the same intimidation for middle-class and poor women, for African-Americans, mothers, Chicanas, Jewish women, or lesbians? How are experiences of lone parenting different for women from different communities? Taking account of the systematic differences among women, as well as the systematic differences among women and the men in their various communities, is an important task for gender-conscious planning.

The Ongoing Debate In “The ‘Thereness’ of Women: A Selective Review of Urban Sociology,” Lyn Lofland asserts that in empirical and theoretical urban sociology, women are perceived as being part of the scene but not part of the action. women] are part of the locale or neighborhood or area described like other important aspects of the setting such as income, ecology or demographybut largely irrelevant to the analytic action. They reflect a group’s social organization and culture, but they never seem to be in the process of creating it (1975, 145). In mainstream planning theory women have scarcely even been seen as subjects of theory. The problem, however, is far more subtle and complex than a simple tradition of exclusion. The paradigms on which planning and theorizing about it have been based are informed by characteristics traditionally associated with the masculine in our society. There is a need to rethink the foundations of the discipline, its epistemology, and its various methodologies. Feminist critiques and feminist literature need to be incorporated into the debates within planning theory.

AUTHORS’ NOTE ~

This paper is part of a much longer monograph, “Gender: A New Agenda for Planning Theory,” which was published as a working paper by the Institute of Urban and Regional Development at the University of California in Berkeley and reprinted in the Planning Theory Newsletter, no. 4.

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NOTES 1. See, for example, Wekerle et al. (1 980); Keller (1 981); Stimpson et al. (1981); Hayden (1981, 1984); Matrix (1984); Andrew and Milroy (1988). 2. See also Mackenzie (1988); Watson (1986, 1988); Moser (1989). 3. Recent examples include Clavel(1986), Marris (1987), Forester (1 989), Krumholz and Forester (1 990), Sandercock (1990), Heskin (1991). 4. See Castells (1977); Tabb and Sawers (1978); Harvey (1978a, 197813); Fainstein and Fainstein (1982); Paris (1983); Fogelsong (1986); and Soja (1989). 5. See Majone and Quade (1980), Faludi (1986), Friedmann (1 987), Lindblom (1 990), and Krieger (1 989). 6. Examples include Phillips (1987) on the divided loyalties of women in Britain; a growing literature, mostly written by minority women, on the multiple oppressions of race, class, and gender (see King 1988); and a group of oppositional legal scholars working particularly on issues of race but also on gender (Bell 1987; Matsuda 1989; Williams 1988, 1989; Delgado 1989). 7. See Millman and Kanter (1975); Westkott (1979); Harding and Hintikka (1 983); Keller (1 983); Jaggar and Rothenberg (1984); Cook and Fonow (1986); Belenky et al. (1986); Pateman and Gross (1 986); Harding (1986a); Caine, Grosz, and de Lepervanche (1988); Jaggar and Bordo (1989); Nicholson (1990).

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Forthcoming in the Journal: Spring 1992 ARTICLES

Public Housing Homeownership: Will It Work and for Whom? William Rohe and Michael Stegman

Commercial Strip Development: Attitudes of Planners and Consumers Deborah A. Howe and William A. Rabiega

Cityshape: Communicating and Evaluating Community Design Sherwin Greene

A Transaction Cost Theory of Planning Ernest R. Alexander

A Desire Called Streetcar: Fantasy and Fact in Rail Transit Planning Don H. Pickrell

Skyscraper Zoning: New York‘s Pioneering Role Marc A. Weiss

DEPARTMENTS THE LONGER VIEW Do We Really Need a National Infrastructure Policy? Dick Netzer

COUNTERPOINT The Continuing Debate: Rent Control and Homelessness Ira Lowry John Gilderbloom, Richard Appelbaum, Michael Dolny, and Peter Dreier

COMMENTARY Planners and Professors: Closing the Gap Thomas D. Galloway

PLANNER’S NOTEBOOK Roundtable on HUD’s Comprehensive Housing Affordability Strategies Ruth Price Frank Braconi

COMPUTER REPORT PC Software for Urban Transportation Planning Erik Ferguson, Catherine Ross, and Michael Meyer

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