New Towns for the 21st Century
The Planned vs. the Unplanned City

The result of INTI’s 2009 conference on the Planned versus the Unplanned.

How to plan new cities? That is a central and crucial question discussed in this book by several authors. Is it possible at all to plan and design successful new cities? Or should we rather take a look at the history of ‘unplanned’ or ‘selforganized’ cities, to learn how to design informally? Are the planned and unplanned two opposite poles or are they actually in a symbiotic relation? How can elements like flexibil- ity and changeability be incorporated into official planning? How can non-professional agents be involved in the process in a way that is credible and more than mere lip service?

We need to understand the mechanisms of informaliza- tion so that they can be taken into account in the planning of future New Towns and the transformation of existing New Towns. The purely formal planning we are familiar with from the 20th century has resulted in cities that many critics now consider over- determined. They are planners’ constructs that, in all their model-like perfection and correctness, have proved to be quite vulnerable. Often these cities are too much the embodiment of one idea, too much the product of one system, too much a reflection of one moment in time and too inflexible. The introduction of a degree of ‘unplannedness’ could improve this situation. A study of the unforeseen transformations of 20th Century New Towns and of ‘unplanned’ cities might yield the necessary know-how to achieve this. The design of future cities requires a form of plan- ning that is lighter and at the same time richer and more varied. This book gives an overview of different approaches to analyze the diverse relations of the planned and the unplanned in existing New Towns and the lessons of selforgan- ized cities for the planning profession.

New Towns for the 21st Century; the Planned vs. the Unplanned City, Amsterdam: SUN, 2010. ISBN 9789085068051, English edition Paperback, illustrated 288 pages. €29,50

• To purchase the book send an email to