What is it about?

Decision-making under uncertainty is sometimes investigated as a homogeneous problem, independently of the type of decision-maker and the level and nature of the decision itself. However, when the decision-maker is a public authority, there immediately arise problems additional to those that concern any other (private) decision-maker. This is not always clearly recognised in orthodox discussions on decisions under conditions of uncertainty. This article investigates the methodological, strategic and procedural challenges of taking public decisions in such conditions. It focuses mainly on decisions involving urban contexts, such as planning decisions regarding land use and building transformations, by trying to develop some pioneering research studies in this field.

Featured Image

Why is it important?

We suggest that uncertainty can be mitigated on the side of the public decision-maker during the planning process by dismissing a "constructivist" approach and adopting rules that are mainly negative. Moreover, uncertainty can be reduced for urban actors by implementing simple rules and simple systems of rules, which should also be stable, and by fostering the emergence and functioning of social calculation systems.


The paper explore new ways of coping with uncertainty in planning, while at the same time showing how to foster technological innovation.

Stefano Moroni
Politecnico di Milano

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Uncertainty and Planning: Cities, Technologies and Public Decision-Making, Perspectives on Science, January 2022, The MIT Press, DOI: 10.1162/posc_a_00413.
You can read the full text:




The following have contributed to this page