Standing on the Shoulders of Giants—Reviving Ecological Approaches in Planning Traditions

  • Carlo RegaEmail author
Part of the Cities and Nature book series (CITIES)


In this chapter, we present the purpose of this book: contributing to a refoundation of spatial planning theories and practices on ecological basis, or framing planning into the paradigm of ecological rationality. We purposely use the term refoundation because deeply ecological thinking has been present in the planning tradition since its inception—thanks to the contribution of prominent scholars and polymath thinkers—but has largely been lost or disregarded in what developed as mainstream theory and practice. We, therefore, start by reviving the contributions of scholars such as Patrick Geddes, Lewis Mumford, Ian McHarg and others, who developed the ecological foundation of planning and elaborate in particular on Mumford’s engagement with historical materialism and other Marxian concepts. We will also discuss the need to advance ecological planning theorization in light of the more recent development of the ecological crisis and the new tools and knowledge we have at disposal. The chapter concludes by presenting an outline of the book.


Patrick Geddes Lewis Mumford Ian McHarg Historical materialism Mega-machine, metabolism 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.ITERAS - Research Centre for Sustainability and Territorial InnovationBariItaly

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