Beyond relativism: Reclaiming the search for good city form

Emily Talen, Cliff Ellis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

118 Scopus citations


This article argues that the search for a theory of good city form should be given a more prominent place in planning theory alongside theories of planning as a process. The professional practice of city and regional planning requires well-validated, durable criteria for successful outcomes. Fortunately, many recent developments in philosophy, science, political theory, and the arts challenge the postmodern relativism that has deflected attention away from normative theory toward procedural issues. The authors argue that planners should take advantage of these new ideas and launch a renewed quest for the elements of good city form.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)36-49
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Planning Education and Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2002
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Development
  • Urban Studies


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