This decision-centred approach has been widely hailed as a breakthrough in planning thought. It bridges the difficult gap between the aspirations of strategic planning and the realities of day-to-day management. The approach is specifically designed to help people plan under the familiar pressures of uncertainty, shortage of time, limited resources and conflicting interests. Since it first emerged from a pioneering study of British city government at work by operational researchers and social scientists, the approach has been applied to a wide range of organizational and interorganizational planning problems and has proved especially effective as an aid to interactive working in interdisciplinary groups throughout the world. This extensively illustrated book offers an authoritative, up-to-date guide to the subject. It is written not just as an introduction to the philosophy and techniques of strategic choice, but also as a handbook for quick reference by users. It includes illustrations from practical applications in several countries and will be invaluable not only to students of planning and academics, but also to practitioners working in any field of business management or public policy.
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...this is an authorative text, on the ideas behind, and the application of strategic choice, based on twenty years' accumulated experience of two authors who were centrally concerned with the development of this unique approach to practical planning problems...it is exemplary in its use of examples throughout the book and thus recommended as a text book for students on all levels.
Professor Andreas Faludi, Professor of Planning, Universiteit Van Amsterdam
...offers a range of practical, effective methods which will enable people to analyze interconnected problems and work adaptively towards decisions.
Planning under Pressure confronts the realities which planners must face when tackling complex decisions in a strategic way: uncertainty, shortage of time, limited resources and conflicting interests and demands. It offers a range of practical, effective methods which will enable people to analyze interconnected problems and work adaptively towards decisions...especially useful in stimulating collaboration between people of different disciplines, outlooks and skills.
An excellent book, admirably updating the earlier book by Friend and Jessop. This will be the main 'rational methodology' text for the next 2 years at least.
Mr T B Smith, Department of Urban Planning, Leeds Polytechnic
What is original about this book is that it provides an elegant and coherent framework for working in this mode in a way that turns out to be both rigorous and flexible... Planning under pressure is both a clear introduction and an authoritative manual. In addition to informing and guiding, it may well play a third and equally important role: that of provoking... the authors challenge educators to design appropriate learning programs based on the philosophy and methods of strategic choice. I believe that this book provides ample stimulation for such a response. If it serves also to provoke re-appraisal of the ways in which many planning teams currently operate, and of the ways in which decision-making is currently taught, Planning under Pressure will be successful beyond its stated aims.
Urban Policy and Research
...inspection of the text does reveal not only a logic,but a rich experience of hundreds of talkshops in which real-world planning problems are subjected to an operations research,managerial treatment.
Environment and Planning A
This book represents a milestone in the history of an approach to decision aiding which is now over 20 years old... The book gives a clear impression of how strategic choice works and the types of situations in which it has been used by its proponents... There are many ideas and observations in the 300 pages of this book, which many readers of this journal will find valuable and interesting... There is a complete discussion of earlier literature at the end of the book and selected readings drawn from this will enable any reader to become fully aware of the history, theory, practice, and potential of an example of systems practice.
The strength of this book is that it gives a systematic exposition of the whole approach: the better known parts are placed in the whole. And the skill with which this is done cannot be too highly praised. The book is long, but clearly and logically structured. The text is easy to read and the meaning never obscure.
Town Planning Review.
There is little doubt that this is an important book, and a welcome one too: for it motivates, describes and illustrates the strategic-choice approach. It will undoubtedly become a classic of operational research, a constant source of reference for those working with and facilitating groups of strategic decision-makers. It is a book full of ideas and suggestions to enable decision-makers to identify, focus upon and think constructively about aspects of the issue before them... It has many subtitles, bit its strength derives, in the main, from the marvellously direct way in which the many diagrams it uses relate complex concepts to the issues at hand... I welcome and value this book. It is well written, and full of sound advice and experiences. It deserves a wide readership.
The Journal of the Operational Research Society. VOL 39 (1988)
It is of course nothing new to have the members of planning teams out of their chairs and working with newsprint and gusto. What is original about this book is that it provides an elegant and coherent framework for working in this mode in a way turns out to be both rigorous and flexible... Planning under Pressure is both a clear introduction and an author-itative manual. In addition to informing and guiding, it may well play a third and equally important role: that of provoking... The authors challenge educators to design appropriate learning programs based on the philosophy and methods of strategic choice. I believe that this book provides ample stimulation for such a response. If it serves also to provoke a re-appraisal of the ways in which many planning teams currently operate, and of the ways in which decision-making successful beyond its stated aims.
Urban Policy and Research. VOL 6 NO 3.
John Friend's contribution to the study of public policy has never been as fully acknowledged in either the academic world or the world of practice as the quality of that work would lead one to expect... This book, with his colleague Alan Hickling who has worked with John Friend on many projects, is the latest product of that work. It is designed as an 'introductory guide and a quick reference hand book' to the strategic choice approach. It is very much a practical guide. Well-presented, the text is supplemented with 89 full-page diagrams spread through the book, summarizing and illustrating the approach. The book is clear, easily followed and readily understood... For the very real merits of this work, its clarity of exposition and the importance of ideas suggests that an exposition of the relevance of the approach in other fields (for which some of the basic work has been done, as references in the book show) would bring rich dividends.
Inspection of the text does reveal not only a logic, but a rich experience of hundreds of talkshops in which real-world planning problems are subjected to an operations research, managerial treatment.
Environment and Planning A, VOL 21 PAGES 549-566 1989
Allen Hickling has a professional background in architecture and city planning, and practised in North America before joining the Tavistock Institute in 1971. From 1980 he worked for two decades as an independent decision process consultant, focusing in particular on multi-cultural projects to engage stakeholders in the development of environmental policies at local, national and international levels. He has designed and facilitated planning workshops in 29 countries in six continents, while introducing many of his collaborators to the skills of process management he has acquired. John Friend is co-author of two earlier books on strategic choice and inter-organizational planning. Gradually forsaking his early schooling in mathematics, he spent a decade in industrial operational research before joining the Tavistock Institute in 1964. Since becoming a freelance consultant in 1986, he has held visiting research professorships at the universities of Sheffield and Lincoln. He has recently developed interactive software based on the Strategic Choice Approach, while also pioneering the use of participatory decision-centred methods in international development and community empowerment.
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