Worlds Lost and Found: Regional Science Contributions in Support of Collective Decision-Making for Collective Action

  • Kieran P. DonaghyEmail author
Living reference work entry


In this chapter I present a survey of contributions made by regional scientists in recent decades that provide capacity to spatial planners and urban designers to engage in collective decision-making and design leading to collective action by bringing into view relevant aspects of the world – as it is and as it could be. I begin by identifying critical features of analytical frameworks intended to support collective decision-making for collective action. I then offer an argument for why we need a more complete ontology than what has traditionally been invoked in spatial planning and discuss the sophisticated ontology in the planning data model of Lewis Hopkins, Nikhil Kaza, and Varkki George Pallathucheril. Noting that this ontology is noncommittal on underlying social behavior, I further discuss contributions from behavioral economics that might be integrated into Hopkins et al.’s framework and illustrate from the work of Yannis Ioannides how the determination of social structure in space can be endogenized. While acknowledging that the framework of Hopkins et al. supports analyses of transition paths to alternative futures, I argue for formalizing analyses of subjunctive reasoning, drawing on an important but neglected contribution by Walter Isard and Blane Lewis. I then proceed to a discussion of causal analysis in general that draws on the work of Nancy Cartwright and consider an example of how such analysis can be conducted in the planning support system of Brian Deal, Haozhi Pan, Stephanie Timm, and Varkki Pallathucheril. In the chapter’s final substantive section, I briefly consider how Michael Batty is modeling collective decision-making in urban design.


Social ontology Behavioral economics Social interactions Possible worlds Spatial planning Collective action 


  1. Batty M (2013) The new science of cities. The MIT Press, Cambridge, MACrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Brandom RB (1994) Making it explicit: reasoning, representing, and discursive commitment. Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MAGoogle Scholar
  3. Cartwright N (2007) Hunting causes and using them. Cambridge University Press, CambridgeCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Coleman JS (1964) Introduction to mathematical sociology. The Free Press, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  5. Dawnay E, Shah H (2005) Behavioural economics: seven principles for policy-makers. New Economics Foundation, LondonGoogle Scholar
  6. Deal B, Haozhi P, Timm S, Pallathucheril V (2017) The role of multidirectional temporal analysis in scenario planning exercises and planning support systems. Comput Environ Urban Syst 64:91–102CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Donaghy KP, Hopkins LD (2006) Coherentist theories of planning are possible and useful. Plan Theory 5:173–202CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Durlauf S (2005) Complexity and empirical economics. Econ J 115:F225–F243CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Friedmann J (1988) Planning in the public domain: from knowledge to action. Princeton University Press, PrincetonGoogle Scholar
  10. Galliani P (2013) The dynamification of modal dependence logic. J Logic Lang Inference. [published online 14 May 2013] 22(3):269–295CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Grin J, Rotmans J, Schot J (2010) Transitions to sustainable development: new directions in the study of long term transformative change. Routledge, New YorkCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Hopkins LD (2001) Urban development: the logic of making plans. Island Press, Washington, D.C.Google Scholar
  13. Hopkins LD, Kaza N, George Pallathucheril V (2005) Representing urban development plans and regulations as data: a planning data model. Environ Plann B Plann Des 32:597–615CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Ioannides YM (2013) From neighborhoods to nations: the economics of social interactions. Princeton University Press, PrincetonGoogle Scholar
  15. Isard W, Lewis B (1984) James P. Bennett on subjunctive reasoning, policy analysis, and political argument. Confl Manag Peace Sci 8:71–112CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Kahneman D (2011) Thinking fast and slow. Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  17. Kaza N (2007) Reasoning with plans: inference of semantic relationships among plans about urban development. Dissertation, University of Illinois at Urbana-ChampaignGoogle Scholar
  18. Olsson G, Gale S (1968) Spatial theory and human behavior. Papers Reg Sci Assoc XXI:229–242CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Ostrom E (2000) Collective action and the evolution of social norms. J Econ Perspect 14(3):137–158CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Quine WV (1953) On what there is. In: Quine WV (ed) From a logical point of view. Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MA, pp 1–19Google Scholar
  21. Runde J (1998) Assessing causal explanations. Oxf Econ Pap 50:151–172CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Searle JR (1995) The construction of social reality. The Free Press, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  23. Sen AK (1977) Rational fools: a critique of the behavioral foundations of economic theory. Philos Public Aff 6(4):317–344Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of City and Regional PlanningCornell UniversityIthacaUSA

Personalised recommendations