Theory versus practice in planning education: the view from South Africa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Colleges, School and Institutes

External organisations

  • University of Huddersfield
  • University of the Free State


This paper reflects on the ongoing debate between theory and practice in planning, using the example of South Africa. Based on survey responses, it discusses how planning education in South Africa is perceived to prepare students for practice. While we acknowledge that the majority of respondents view their planning education positively, the results reveal challenges regarding the practical application of theory, especially in the case of land-use management. We then respond to calls for contextualised practices of knowing, emphasising the ‘local’ in planning education so that theory and practice can be combined across contexts.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-17
Number of pages17
JournalPlanning, Practice and Research
Early online date12 Mar 2020
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 12 Mar 2020


  • planning education, South Africa, planning practice, planning theory

ASJC Scopus subject areas