The 21st century calls for new approaches to urban planning theory and practice, in the context of failed but unchanging approaches to planning (UN-Habitat, 2009). What is increasingly clear is that there is an urgent need for the 'worlding' of planning epistemology, theory and practice to emerge from within a context, a place that considers the real, the practical, the basic and the strategic essentials beyond the generalisations of theory and practice that emerge from elsewhere (Roy, 2009; Parnell, 2016). This research draws from practice within the global south, from an important and ordinary city, Durban, South Africa. It delves into the everydayness of planning practice - it explores and uncovers the importance of land use planning knowledge as a point of focus, confrontation and an opportunity to (re)think practice. The research identifies planning knowledges as a deliberate 'space' and a future research agenda to theorise from and for planning practice.
A multi-conceptual framework was used in this research, in a practical and advocacy manner to guide and make sense of the empirical findings. In particular, communicative planning theory, institutionalism, the culturisation of planning, power and rationality, and phronesis proved to be useful and relevant.
The research uncovers the narrow and 'expert' defined approach to constructing land use planning knowledges, professionally and institutionally. It reveals the many roles of such knowledge, in particular the spatial development framework, lower levels of spatial plans and town planning schemes. The research also uncovers the philosophy, ideology, interests, agendas, relationships, power, conflicts and compromises embedded in the (re)development of land use planning knowledge for practice. It both confirms and 'maps' the social relations involved in the (re)development of planning knowledges for practice, including the making of national and local government planning legislation.
Multiple qualitative research methods were used in this research, including institutional ethnography, focus groups, and the review of key documentation and interviews with a multiplicity of stakeholders.
Beyond understanding the contemporary dynamics of land use planning knowledge in practice, the research explored what a multiplicity of stakeholder knowledges could mean for planning. What emerged are two very separate planning ideologies. The first is steeped in traditional planning concerns, informed by the planning profession both within and outside the municipality, where 'more of the same' is advocated - planning with more clout, more or better legislation and improved linkages to municipal budgets. Conversely, a new planning ideology arises from engaging with a multiplicity of stakeholders and their knowledges, where knowledge is practical and engages with realities of African urbanism, and continues to confront traditional planning approaches and waits to be recognised.
In giving importance to this alternate ideology and belief system for planning, the society that lives, uses and negotiates the production of space as a daily occurrence is considered and in doing so, new planning opportunities and theorisation for practice emerge as possibilities. The study concludes with a contribution to local situated planning theory, recognising a local version of communicative planning theory. The study offers a theoretical framework that connects and integrates African urbanism, planning theory and planning practice. In theorising with and for planning practice, the study concludes with a theoretical framework for land use planning, as a dominant and everyday experience of municipal practice. In addition, the research nuances and enriches dominant themes in planning theory. Finally, the study demonstrates empirically the use of and exploration with social science research; and its possibilities to identify multiple actors and knowledges as an opportunity to create practice-informed relevance in planning.