The Institutional Behavior of Planners in the Urban Planning Discourse of Tehran Metropolis

Document Type : Research Paper


1 Tabriz Islamic Art University, Tabriz, Iran

2 Department of architecture and urban planning, Shahid Beheshti university, Tehran, Iran


This paper aims to demonstrates the conceptual framework for underastanding and delineating the institutional behavior of planners in the urban planning discourse of Tehran metropolis. By perception of planning culture as a cultural system, decisions and judgements of planners are affected by both individual and collectively shared cognitive frames, represent­ing the ‘habitus’ through which planners perceive the planning context. By considering the objective of this study, which is to develop a middle-range and substantive theory that leads to achieving a better understanding of the institutional behavior of planners in their lived experiences, the constructivist grounded theory has been chosen for this research. In this research, the focus of constructivist grounded theory is on the actions, interactions and social processes of planners. In constructivist grounded theory, my approach is based on the assumption that any theoretical interpretation is an interpretive image of the universe studied, and in this study suggests the institutional behavior of planners rather than a detailed image of it. The constructivist grounded theory practice in this research has been followed in accordance with the proposed Charmaz process. The Data for analyzing of mental elements of planners by semi-structured interviews with 28 planners are provided with experience in the planning environment of Tehran metropolis and answering questions related to their lived experience in the given environment. After performing the pre-coding steps, including data collection and Transcription, the data analysis stage and triple coding spectra: initial coding, focused coding, and finally theoretical coding has been carried out. After the initial data coding process and the production of 771 codes in combination with interview memos, a focused coding process was followed for the production of subcategories. The theoretical coding as the last coding step contributes to the saturation of the central categories identified during coding, and the central phenomenon or core categories were identified. It consists of five main categories with titles: “Expression of practical judgement in the ebb and flow behavior framework”, “evolution of planner’s attitude during the planning experience”, “living of planners values in shadow of discourses”, “planners action on the base of logic of appropriateness in planning environment” and “professional consciousness of planners in the playing field of roles”. The four main categories generated during the theoretical coding field provided the emergence of the final theoretical framework and the emergence of the middle-range theory in relation to the institutional behavior of planners based on their mental rules. This research provides a constructivist theory or a "theoretical abstract understanding" of the planner's studied experiences that this research has led to my substantive theorizing of the institutional behavior of planners in their experiences of the planning environment of Tehran metropolis. The conceptual framework includes such dimensions: practical rationality of planners in the frame of ebb and flow behavior, surviving of planners values in practical ethics, planning logic of appropriateness and the professional consciousness of planners in the playing field of roles which is presented in the form of redefinition of the acting geography in the planning culture of Tehran metropolis.


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