Regional political movements which involved activist opposition groups in Wales and Appalachia
Opposition Planning in Wales and Appalachia
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This book about territorial political movements and planning encompasses cases and events that involve activist opposition groups. In addition to advocacy on specific issues, these groups engaged in long-range planning which allowed them to challenge central authority in fundamental ways and to raise issues vital to the future of the modern state. Agitation in Wales helped motivate schemes to reorganize central government. In Appalachia, it fostered a new awareness of the choices between dependence on corporate development and local control. In both regions, new relationships between workplace and community organizing developed.
The argument has three connected parts, First, two case histories describe opposition groups in stark and fundamental disagreement with the course of modern history Second, these case studies reveal the theoretical basis for opposition organizing. Finally, the experience described in them indicates new directions for planning. The possible futures for Wales and Appalachia were expanded because of the disagreement between government planners and emerging opposition planners.
The experience of peripheral regions such as Wales and Appalachia challenges accepted political and planning doctrine in the West. Suggesting possible new roles for planning, the author argues that the difficulties and disasters encountered in regions like these are not only avoidable, but indicate a more general set of mistakes.
The author concludes by examining the wider applications of his planning approach. Ultimately, he suggests, any opposition must confront official planning in a fundamental way, connecting specific with general issues. Opposition groups should adopt a goal of broadening their base, linking with the poor, the working class, and even parts of the middle class in a territorially-based coalition. Thus, as happened in parts of the Appalachian coal fields, workplace organizing can be consciously linked to community organizing.
Pierre Clavel is a Professor in the Department of City and Regional Planning Cornell University. He has also written (with Norman Krumholz) Reinventing Cities: Equity Planners Tell Their Stories (Temple).