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Transactive planning

Round table - participative planning

Round table - participative planning

Transactive planning is one alternative to comprehensive rational planning. The transactive planning model is based on communicative rationality. This type of rationality is based on human communication and dialogue between planners and the people affected by planning (Kinyashi 2006; Larsen 2003).

Central assumptions

  • There exist various interests within society.
  • The interpersonal dialogue triggers a mutual learning process leading to an intensive communication about measures.

Assumptions and role of the planner

  • Planners act as supporters and participants among many (Mitchell 2002).
  • Equipped with technical knowledge, communicative and group-psychological skills, planners are able to reduce the disparities between the participants and reach consensus (Kinyashi 2006).
  • Planners are the centre of systematic knowledge; they also mediate between different interests and communicate information between the actors in the planning process (Larsen 2003).

Role of the population

  • The population bring a central contribution to the planning process with their traditional knowledge and experiences. They plan and steer actively (Kinyashi 2006).

Planning process

Planning is carried out decentrally. In an open atmosphere the expertise of the planner and the experimental knowledge of the population are combined and transformed into shared measures (Kinyashi 2006). The planning process is characterised by:

  • interpersonal dialogue and mutual learning (Mitchell 2002);
  • a central focus on individual and organisatorial development (see capacity building) (Larsen 2003; Mitchell 2002);
  • partnership building;
  • incorporation of traditional knowledge (Mitchell 2002).

Planning in this model is considered less as a scientific-technical activity than in the comprehensive rational planning model. In fact, planning is considered as a ‘face-to-face’ interaction between planners and the local population affected by plans. Thus, planning is more a subjective endeavour than an objective process.


  • Participation takes time which parts of the population do not have, especially the poorer ones. Their interests may be ignored;
  • high participation costs;
  • Sometimes the population may not be prepared to plan for the long run and thereby to postpone short-term satisfaction (Hostovsky 2007).

You can study further planning models (incremental planning, mixed scanning) or proceed your learning with planning units.

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