Of Property and Planning: a brief introduction

Taylor & Francis Online

This collection of essays is a small selection of the work presented at a conference entitled Of Property in Planning that was held at the American University of Beirut in the spring of 2014. The conference aimed to investigate how a critical outlook on property borrowed from recent debates in urban geography, anthropology, and legal studies could inform our understanding of the imaginative possibilities and limits of urban planning and design interventions while also offering guidance to future planning practices. We began with the premise that planning and design interventions are deeply entangled in and productive of property, and more specifically, of an ownership model of property, where the environment is considered to be divided in clearly delimited ownable parcels, with individuals holding the right to exclude and transmit (Singer, 2000). While the realization of a deep entanglement between property and planning has floated in the discipline for many years, planning theorists have rarely questioned the implications of their assumptions about the nature of land for the practice of planning. Yet a critical examination of this assumption is necessary for an urban planning practice that corresponds better to the principles of social justice, development, and ecological responsibilities that form the main claims of the discipline (Campbell, 1996).


Publication Type

Journal Name

Planning Theory and Practice

Volume Number


Issue Number

3, pp. 345-404