Document Type : Article Review
Department of Geography, Humanities, and Social Sciences Campus, Yazd University, Yazd, Iran
A B S T R A C T
Different approaches to spatial planning are a way to make our surrounding world meaningful. The Structural-Functional Dynamic approach (SFDA) has recently been articulated within the context of Iranian geographers to provide an alternative meaning for spatial planning concerning the socio-spatial context of Iran. We have interpreted some methodological aspects of this approach in Structural-Functional Dynamics Approach to Spatial Planning ("planning") published in Spatial Planning journal in 2016. The main argument was that the conceptualization of the two essential concepts of space and man in SFDA needs to be revised based on consistent assumptions. Although SFDA, following humanism, has rejected objectivism, an elitist top-down spatial planning, the idea of threshold in the neoclassical economy, and universal laws of human behavior, it reproduced them due to its tendency to positivism and the paradigm of geography as a spatial science. In 2018, the author of SFDA in scientific critique and the critique of the Structural-Functional dynamic approach ("Scientific Critique") criticized the way of interpretation presented in planning because of the incorrect translation and misinterpretation of scientific texts, the secondary referencing; and the misunderstanding of the concepts articulated in SFDA. The present article aimed to clarify arguments and interpretations presented in the planning to reply to the Scientific Critique
Different approaches to spatial planning seek to make meaningful our surrounding world. The Structural-Functional Dynamic approach ("SFDA") has been recently articulated within the context of Iranian geographers to provide an alternative meaning to spatial planning concerning Iranian social and spatial context. Because of the various social and economic effects of spatial planning on different groups, individuals, and spaces, it is always necessary to interpret and analyze the theoretical assumptions and practical implications of multiple alternatives of spatial planning. Accordingly, the interpretation of the methodological dimensions of SFDA in the paper Structural-Functional Dynamics Approach to Spatial Planning ("planning") published in Spatial Planning journal in 2016 showed that the conceptualization of space and man as essential concepts of spatial planning in SFDA is based on inconsistent assumptions. Although SFDA, following humanism, has rejected objectivism, an elitist top-down spatial planning, the idea of threshold in the neoclassical economy, and universal laws of human behavior, it reproduced them due to its tendency to positivism and the paradigm of geography as a spatial science. In 2018, the author of SFDA criticized in his scientific critique and the critique of Structural-Functional dynamic ("scientific critique") the way of interpretation presented in planning because of the incorrect translation and misinterpretation of scientific texts; the secondary referencing; and the misunderstanding of the concepts articulated in SFDA. The present article aimed to clarify arguments and interpretations presented in the planning to reply to the Scientific Critique.
In order to make clear responses, the study will first quote a statement or a paragraph from the Scientific Critique, and then related responses to that critique follow.
Results and discussion
The present article reconsidering the texts used in planning, has shown that the translation and interpretation of scientific texts correspond with the view of their authors, and the critiques of misinterpretation and mistranslation of them discussed in the scientific critique need to be corrected. In contrast, it is the scientific critique at the exposure of critiques due to misunderstanding and mistranslating English-language scientific texts and concepts such as plastic space, soft spaces, fuzzy boundaries, and postmodern spatial planning. Surprisingly, according to SFDA, plastic space is unreal and unmeasurable. For example, SFDA, contrary to original texts, has argued that soft spaces refer to new human settlements, and hard spaces refer to old or existing human settlements. As presented by Allmendinger and Haughton, soft spaces and fuzzy boundaries refer to informal and indicative spaces of spatial planning. While plastic space, according to Forer, is a natural, measurable, and metric space, SFDA has argued that Forer's plastic space is ideal and non-measurable to conclude that the translation and interpretation of Forer's plastic space are false. We agree with the scientific critique on the critique of secondary referencing in some cases in planning. It is better to refer to original scientific texts as far as possible.
In addition, the present article, through the explanation of the logical structure of arguments presented in planning, has shown that the critique of misunderstanding the basic assumptions and concepts of SFDA needs to be more precise. In contrast, the application of SFDA is difficult because of the inconsistent notions articulated in SFDA. For example, SFDA, following Hegel and German idealism, has argued in favor of change-oriented spatial planning. However, it has accepted positivist assumptions that space governed by universal laws is fixed, predictable and unchangeable. It is still being determined how we can predict changing phenomena as precisely as assumed in SFDA. The exact prediction is only possible for unchangeable situations and spaces.
The internal consistency of concepts is an essential criterion for the validity of any scientific approach. Internal consistency refers to the logical coordination between ideas and concepts articulated in a specific approach. In the case of conceptual contradiction and inconsistency, it can be argued that a theory is not valid and coherent. The main argument developed in planning and the present article is that SFDA needs conceptual consistency. The conceptual inconsistency is not in itself a problem. It may be the reflection of contradictions and inconsistencies in the real world. However, as Lefebvre pointed out, Hegel did not discover the contradiction. He discovered a third moment that is produced when the contradiction has been transcended due to the enrichment of determination by its negation. The logical contradictions make an approach difficult to understand and apply. For this, SFDA should explain in the coming papers how it can remove the conceptual contradictions and inconsistencies in theory and practice to provide a comprehensive and integrated network of concepts to deal with spatial planning issues.
There is no funding support.
All of the authors approved thecontent of the manuscript and agreed on all aspects of the work.
Conflict of Interest
Authors declared no conflict of interest.
We are grateful to all the scientific consultants of this paper.