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Structural-Functional Dynamics Approach to Spatial Planning: toward Linking Spatial Determinism with Humanism


Rahimi Hojatollah


 Start Page 91 | End Page 114


 Developing context-based Spatial Planning theories and criticizing their key components are an essential requirement in the development of people and places. Along this perspective, Structural-Functional Dynamics approach (SFD) has taken the first step toward formulating an alternative approach to Spatial Planning in relation to the Iranian context of social geography. As another step forward, this article focuses, through a critical engagement, on how two key concepts of man and space are conceptualized by SFD approach. As this paper argues, space and man are separately conceptualized in SFD approach. In fact, the concept of space has been formulated in a manner that its methodological consequences to the concept of man are explicitly neglected. As a result, SFD approach inevitably reproduces the same assumptions that it criticizes through the lens of Humanism, assumptions such as objectivism, elitist planning, top-down approach, threshold concept of neoclassical economies, rapid urbanization, and universal principles of human behavior, which underlay positivist geography and neoclassical economies. To overcome such conceptual mismatch within SFD approach requires interactional redefinition of concepts of space and man. Yet before redefining these concepts, geographers and planners’ identity should be rearticulated with regards to past and future experiments of Spatial Planning in Iran.


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