Theses Master's

The fallacy of consensus: How conflicts can be essential to determine community participation

Estefam, Aline Faiwichow

The purpose of the research is to contribute to an emerging body of critique of community participation in planning practice. The critiques in this research are grounded in the analysis of two situated planning practices in New York City. One of them followed the normative decision of the communicative planning, and the other followed the agonistic methodology. The research starts with background research of what aspects led to or helped shape the planning process in both cases. It follows an in-depth analysis of the negotiation and participation processes, outlining differences, and similarities. Several critiques were offered regarding power and the idea that communication can suspend power relations. First, it outlines the importance of previous conditions – political scenario and community power – to shape planning decisions. Second, it argues that power holders generally lead the negotiation in communicative planning. Third, it argues that communicative practice does not create spaces for the expression of conflictual ideas and end up excluding segments of the population. It concludes that conflicts are fundamental to an equity-driven planning practice and outlines several recommendations that planners or government agencies should follow to ensure meaningful community participation.

Geographic Areas


  • thumnail for EstefamAline_GSAPPUP_2020_Thesis.pdf EstefamAline_GSAPPUP_2020_Thesis.pdf application/pdf 3.39 MB Download File

More About This Work

Academic Units
Urban Planning
Thesis Advisors
Devlin, Ryan T.
M.S., Columbia University
Published Here
August 11, 2020