As one considers formulating new theory for the fields of environmental design, one sees many dialogues occurring. But in which realm would theory development have the greatest benefit to all and what might such new theory look like? In this chapter, I examine these many dialogues, seek to understand precisely what and why people are taking these positions, and where one might go based on those stances to formulate new theory. This examination is made in the context of the belief that an anarchist existence, free of ownership, is the best hope for a world of the greatest fulfillment and meaning, and the truest morality and equality of people in which planning can and should occur.
Understanding the idea of how “ownership” functions may help one to understand planning and design theory much more fully. In this book, ownership is defined as the claiming of the right to exclusively control a person, place, or thing; capitalism is the systematic application of the ownership construct; and authority is the forced application of ownership. This work also takes the position that — as ownership forms the basis of all authoritarian power, it deeply affects almost every realm of planning theory. Thus, I begin with two sections introducing how ownership functions, what its general affects are, and how an anarchist world without any ownership might function. These explanations are followed by sections revealing how ownership affects postmodern theory, place-design theory, and normative land-use planning theory. The chapter ends by suggesting that new planning theories need to be formulated which will function outside of the construct of ownership and that some of Kevin Lynch’s theories may provide us with some useful stepping stones into such new realms of thought.
An Introduction to Ownership
From my examination of planning and design theory literature at present, almost all of the literature appears to revolve around the nature of ownership and its moralities. To more clearly understand what is occurring, it seems essential to present a basic overview of Marxist and anarchist conceptualizations of how power and morality occur due to ownership.
One way to perhaps conceptualize current planning and design theories is to think of them politically in a circuitous manner. See figure 1, the circle of ownership and anarchy. At the top of the diagram is the political center. As one travels to the right, private ownership and individual rights increase, while to the left, public/government ownership and authority precipitously increase. When they meet at the bottom, they cancel out each other’s ownership and the system of ownership, capitalism, ceases, and at this bottom point of anarchy is the realm in which, without any ownership, postmodernism might fully exist and where normative theory transforms into a proliferation of endless diverse differentiations. I base this diagram in part on the explanations of anarchists Donald Rooum (1992, 10) and Noam Chomsky (1995).
Upon closer examination of this sphere of beginnings, endings, and fusions, the concept of ownership is fundamental and, as will be explained, most current field theories are based on the tension between the right and the left, and also the tension between the anarchist and non-anarchist realms. In relation to this diagram, the debates in postmodern planning theory, place/community design theory, and in normative planning and design theory are deeply affected.
Examining this breadth of debates surprisingly appears to reveal a spectrum of immense theoretical desperation in the fields of planning and design theory, primarily due to the social construction of ownership. Contemporary planning itself fits in this diagram in that, while planners are in an ownership capacity themselves, and driven by visions of a non-ownership based world of complete equality of people, they act to try to mitigate against the exploitation, alienation, and dehumanization which ownership causes, particularly that which private capitalism causes.
Manual Castells has written, “The planning idea, in its modern expression, came out from the movement of social reform aimed at mitigating the human cost of capitalist industrialization” (1982, 3). This quote reveals perhaps a great truth that planners may not always understand, that their job is about mitigating capitalism – but they may also not understand what the “human cost” of capitalism is, nor how it is caused. And not revealed by Castells here is that like the private capitalists, they too (planners), as authoritarian owners, are participating in the “human cost.” In the same article, Castells describes generally some of the human divisions and destabilizing influences of capitalism and said of the field, “Planning ... could be a truly innovative field in our epoch of crisis” (4). These are strong words, “epoch of crisis,” and, as will be argued, this crisis is caused by ownership.
This is imperative to understand as the job of a planner today as set forth in Village of Euclid v. Ambler Realty Company (1926) 71 L.Ed. 303 is to uphold the “health, safety, morals, and general welfare” of the people — that is, while simultaneously preserving and enhancing capital investments. So, the planner acts as a mitigator against the ills of dehumanization, exploitation and societal divisions that capitalism brings, while simultaneously helping to facilitate the spreading and strengthening of that capitalist exploitation. This is a cause of much grief and cognitive dissonance for the planner, that they are trying to do several contradictory things at once, mitigate exploitation while allowing it to occur, and in this way and other ways they are participating in and perpetuating the exploitation and social inequalities themselves. Much current planning literature discusses this very thin line that the practicing planner walks (Innes de Neufville 1983, Lim 1986, Healey 1992, Hillier 1995, Campbell 2006, Hoch 2006), but very few appear to debate, discuss, or bring into question ownership itself, nor its children, capitalism and government (Ward 1990). Among postmodern planning theorists has appeared discussion concerning the ills of capitalism and government, but no discussion is present of how we might move toward their abandonment even toward anarchy, what that day might look like, and what theory might guide us then. This will be discussed in more detail later, but some do appear to see postmodernism as a door leading to this anarchy, but few, if any, speak of crossing that threshold. Such is a symptom of being in an ocean of ownership, drowning beneath the waves, and failing to recognize that one should swim, and even fly free.
So, where instincts are failing, to help aid in filling this great void with dialogue, and to help understand how this circle of ownership versus anarchy functions, the theories of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels during the nineteenth century and Marxist thinkers to present may additionally help one to understand planning and design theory today and the “crisis” of our times. Capitalism itself systematically allows things to be owned as private property. Marxist theory reveals how human exploitation and societal divisions occur as a function of capitalism, as a function of implemented ownership.
In Capitalism, everything, including human beings, is owned and thus everything carries an exchange value. These constructs of ownership and its facilitator, quantified exchange, create a shockwave affecting nearly every part of how people behave in and how they think about themselves and the world. Ownership also resultantly affects us by dividing society, alienating us into unequal economic classes, genders, ethnicities, and religions. Of these unequal divisions, planners and other environmental designers are given the task of mitigating against them. Below is explained how ownership causes these inequalities.
In the following quote, Marx and Engels speak of how human beings are de-humanized by boiling their existence down to a cold, heartless exchange value.
[Capitalism] has drowned the most heavenly ecstasies [of life] ... in the icy water of egotistical calculation. It has resolved personal worth into exchange value, and in place of the numberless indefensible chartered freedoms, has set up that single, unconscionable freedom—Free Trade. In one word, for exploitation, veiled by religious and political illusions, it has substituted naked shameless, direct, brutal exploitation. (Marx and Engels 1972, 475)
In capitalism, human beings become exchangeable commodities. They are bought and sold and exploited as “wage slaves” unto those who own (205). Their lives are stretched thin, working long hours for little pay, and when they return to their dwellings, they must pay other owners to dwell.
Thus, in this world of exchange, society becomes divided into classes of owners and non-owners, who, caught up in the divisive, unequal quantification of their lives, develop other perspectives on their existence which further divide them:
The possessing class and the proletariat represent one and the same human self-alienation. But the former feels satisfied and affirmed in this self-alienation, experiences the alienation as a sign of its own power, and possesses in it the appearance of a human existence. The latter, however, feels destroyed in this alienation, seeing in it its own impotence and the reality of an inhuman existence. To use Hegel’s expression, this class is, within depravity, an indignation against this depravity, an indignation necessarily in this class by the contradiction between its human nature and its life situation, which is a blatant, outright and all-embracing denial of that very nature. (Marx and Engels 1972, 133)
This paragraph reveals how through the social construction of private property, the owner class and non-owner class function as opposites. The owner class certainly wants to preserve its position of owning, for it gives them a feeling of personal power, of empowerment, a feeling of really living a “human existence,” as ownership lends itself to not only having control over one’s own life, but being benevolent to the ‘have nots’. Thus their humanity, their level of humanness, their morality, is based on their levels of control and their charity to non-owners. One can also very well carry this logically into the religious sphere too, of God being the owner of one’s soul, and, in benevolence, having mercy on the depraved human race. The structure of owner/non-owner is everywhere.
In our current society in which Marxist and anarchist ideas are not widely studied by the population or promoted by the mass media, identifying these inequalities as ownership-based can sometimes be difficult. The non-owners (of which there are many types – to be discussed later), transfixed by the swirling, permeating ocean of media around them, appear to be largely pacified into accepting capitalism and ownership as just the way life is, and they may not be as fiercely angry about their situation these days as Marx exhibits they were in hir time. Still, hir points here continue to be applicable in that even if the non-owning masses have generally been pacified, whether or not they are consciously aware of it, or of how that quantification and exploitation specifically function matters not, the exploitation and dehumanization they experience is still real and still plays upon their psyche.
So except for their ownership of their own labor-power, in relation to the quote above, the alienation of being a non-propertied person can create an unconscious cognitive dissonance. For without owned property, a very real inequality exists between having capital/ownership on the one side, and being a non-owning wage-slave unto those with ownership-control. It is a form of slavery, a wage-based slavery. As a slave, being on unequal ground with the owners, logically one could feel that they are in a state that denies their validity as human lives and their equality. This is a “depravity,” a gross perversion of equality of people (133). When we very briefly now relate this all to the circle of ownership and anarchy (see figure 1), we see some other varieties of inequality occuring—government ownership.
In the diagram, the government is an owner of how property is used and how people behave. Government, politicians, planners, etc. are owners by way of the police power, the power of the sword – but they are also touted as having benevolence unto the have nots. Simultaneously, on the other side of the diagram are the private property owners holding their guns to defend their property, but also having mercy and charity unto the have nots. In this case, charity itself could not occur unless ownership first occurs. The “good” occurs because of the unequal evil.
Other inequalities as well, based on “love” and “charity,” sprout from the construct of ownership. Such ownership-based ideals have wrought approaches, reactions, and cures that further divide society, especially in the fields of planning and design. To better explain these resulting, additional inequalities, the attachment theorist Peter Marris (notably also a planning policy analyst, but apparently not an anti-capitalist or anarchist (2001, 2004, 81-83)) has spoken of this:
“We have ... created a society that is embarrassed and uncomprehending of grief and doubtful of bonds of love; neither grief nor love are compatible with the mechanism of its science or the utilitarianism of its policy. Yet at the same time this rationalism provokes in reaction an idealization of love and mothering that endows them with almost sacred qualities. ... [Thus] bourgeois industrial society idealized and romanticized the home as a world apart, where women gave unbounded love to their children and their men, redeeming the emptiness of making money.” (1982, 185-6,188)
Here seen, there are certain experiences of human beings that seemingly cannot occur within the capitalist realm (as they function without expectation of exchange), and so they are exalted in the embodiments of religious beliefs, gender roles, and ideals of community and home. We see this in planning and design in the form of the crazed, holy veneration of a “sense of place” or a “sense of community” — idealizations about home, family, and community, all being places of “unbounded love” (Cresswell 2004, Rose 1993, 55). In contrast to these feminine ideals, the masculine has come to represent all that is capitalism: ownership, authority, cold hearted exchange, domination, and exploitation. Thus by way of capitalism is created the idealized conceptions of the gender binary (Strathern 1985, 194-195, Chambers 2005, 333, 336, Skeggs 2005, 969). In the circle of ownership and anarchy, when one enters anarchy there is no more authority of the sword and no ownership of things to benevolently give, because nothing is owned. Everything just is. And the holiness of place and community are even used as a justification for continued exploitation (Marris 1982, 186) — to do or preserve this great good, we must continue to engage in just a little bad. Politically on the right, we must uphold the sanctity of women, of home and family, of mother-love as they epitomize everything that capitalism is not — and we will not allow anything else but this holy gender binary and family structure (186). And on the political left, we must uphold the embrace of place, the feeling of womb-like community, and by the power of the sword we will destroy and displace existing places and communities and regulate ad finitum to help bring about this great, unbounded good. When ownership and its companion charity enter the picture, they leave a torrent of displacement and alienation in their wake. Capitalist constructions have many other repercussions too.
“Competitive capitalism promotes an ideal of minimal commitment.” (Marris 2004, 78) There are many contemporary tales of cities competing for a large company to move into their jurisdiction. They make every concession possible by waiving all sorts of restrictive laws, and even condemning land and giving it to a company almost for free to draw them in (78-79). People too. Disposable and easily exchangeable, they are at the mercy of the capitalists, the owners. This kind of environment can be rather high stress, because levels of commitment are so low, and thus uncertainty so high. There is little if any security or stability because such low commitment levels facilitate easier exchange of owned things (79-80). And so as capitalism’s uncertainty permeates society, it leads people to seek that which they can perceive as stable: Idealizations about home, family, gender, femininity, mother-love, spirituality – all slyly based on capitalism (80-81, 1982). Deceptively driven to these by the lack of commitment elsewhere, they act as a body of values that oppositely carries the ultimate in commitment; and thus their embodiments are glorified (Rose 1993, 55). To experience long-term commitment, many may choose to not only affiliate strongly with these idealized embodiments of gender and home/work divisions, but also with other things that seem stable, a socio-economic class, an ethnic group, a religious order, or other social body. This further divides society. (Marris 2004, 80)
And so we see in this brief summary of how ownership functions, how capitalism (the systematic application of ownership) has divided society and how it generally affects certain aspects of planning and design theory. In quantifying everything to make it all exchangeable, human beings are boiled down to a cold dollar value. This divides society the further: Owners, slaves unto them. Human, inhuman. Righteous, depraved. Sacred, exchangeable. Irrational, rational. And thus the idealization of home, of community, of femininity, becomes a righteous justification for “shameless ... exploitation” (Marx and Engels 1972, 475). Commitment and stability vs. capitalist uncertainty — driving in feminine, masculine, black, white, Muslim, Christian, American, North Korean, righteous, perverse. One can see how capitalism not only divides, but drives an ever deepening cycle of division.
The implications of these divisions are vast. As
this chapter progresses, it will be explained in much more detail how various
aspects of planning and design theories are connected to this understanding
of ownership and oppression and then how we might escape it.
Before entering a discussion of postmodern theory, to more fully understand a realm where postmodernism might exist, I believe it would be helpful to convey a greater understanding of what anarchy is as talked about in the circular spectrum of ownership and anarchy, and to speak briefly, as well, about the current approaches toward creating that anarchist world and then to round into how postmodernism may be reflected in that pursuit.
As mentioned, when one enters this point on the circle, in this realm of anarchy there is no ownership and no authority (Rooum 1992, Chomsky 1995). Thus, anarchy as defined in this book is not about a lack of order, but about a lack of authority. Anarchy is the absence of ownership. Authority is the forced application of ownership. Some might define anarchy as an absence of authority and thus a condition of “every man for themselves,” a lawless world in which the gun or sword of every person rules. Clearly in this definition there is still a form of ruling/ownership, individuals ruling over other individuals by the power of the sword, killing anyone who would stand in their way toward their personal liberation. This may seem closer to capitalist libertarianism than anarchy, but this may be how some define it and approach it (Merriam-Webster 1991, 83). This text though defines anarchy simply as there being no owners, rulers, or other authorities, individually or in governmental forms; a stateless society, ruled neither by individuals nor by a group (Black 2004, 6). As well, in this anarchy, there may be “authorities,” of a sort, who possess great knowledge of a certain topic, such as about how to design a structure so that it will not fall down in an earthquake, but there are no authorities who, in acts of ownership, will fine you or send you to jail for not building a structure a certain way. There are no authorities to heap guilt or shame upon you or to limit your thinking, because even if someone bears a lot of knowledge, there is no one to say for sure that they are right. People are empowered to listen and interpret the world however they will. Authority based on ownership, whether that ownership is claimed by the power of the sword or brainwashing words that manipulate with non-physical guilt and fear, it is the same.
For the planner in a position of authority, they may speak of right and wrong, but in anarchy their words may only be taken as knowledgeable possibilities. And without ownership, there would be no capitalism to mitigate against, only infinite possibilities. But why is authority so important to some then? It keeps certain people in power. The government authorities and the capitalists with the police and military, at their disposal, they are the kings. They own and rule their ownership by the power of the sword. If there were no ownership or authority, a great many people might be most happy with this. And one may absolutely have peace, order and cooperation in an anarchist world. But, some might say, would not violence break forth, would not the buildings fall down, and the streets, they might not end up being straight?!
In an anarchist world, if someone behaves “badly,” is that so wrong? No one can actually say that they are “bad” or “ill-of-mind” as no one is an authority. As well, the idea of any sort of designations of gender or race or whatever would be absent except perhaps if you told people what your self-defined designation is, and even then if they call you something different, you really cannot get mad at them, because you do not own them (have no authority over them) nor do they over you.
Well, what if someone steals your food, pollutes your river, or brings harm to your child? The following examples exhibit how no thing is owned. They actually cannot steal or do harm to your things because you do not really own them. They do not really belong to you. They just are. They just exist.
In this world without ownership, you might live in
a house or in a community. Say some stranger to you walks into the house,
sits down and takes a nap on the couch. Perhaps later they wake up and
go to the kitchen and consume some food. Perhaps you tend a large garden
in the yard. This stranger goes into the backyard and plucks some carrots
out of the ground and consumes them. You do not own the carrots, the food
in the kitchen, couch, or the house. You are no authority and they are
not either. Nobody is. You have the freedom to settle in one spot, or to
live like the bird.
In such a setting, naturally one would think that some would want to take advantage of the “system.” If one were to suddenly pick up a sword, literally or in manipulatory words of guilt or shame, then the anarchy ceases to be. Is such a world possible? Will it come in our lifetimes? Maybe, but maybe not. This work argues that, very much, it is possible, and even necessary to be pursued. This next example gives one a good picture of how anarchy is both libertarian in the right to live and be however one feels, yet also how it is an endeavor of thinking people who collectively choose to live without ownership of anything, including other human beings.
Suppose you live along a river that you get water from to drink and water crops. Suppose someone dumps a pollutant in that river that poisons you and others who live along it. If the river was poisoned deliberately, one person is claiming ownership over the lives of every person and many other life-forms along the water’s course, and in such a case they have broken the anarchy. In the path toward an anarchist world, one would certainly want to stop such pollution, but through exercising the least amount of ownership possible or no ownership at all. In anarchy, if the act was not deliberate but merely someone not understanding this larger infringement on others’ right to live, then people would work collectively to solve the problem, and upon finding the polluter when learning of the devastation which they are causing that person or group, they would immediately and consciously cease that behavior and find an alternative which would not endanger the lives of others. Clearly seen here are the libertarian and socialist sides of an anarchist world in action. The next example is more personal concerning ownership over your tribe or collective and the alienation occurring out of such behavior.
Say that there is a child who you have birthed and/or reared. In defense of that child who, let us suppose, is being verbally or physically abused by an adult, as soon as you raise a hand or pick up a weapon to bring injury to that abuser, you are claiming ownership over both that person and your child. You own the venerated body of your child (as you have exalted hir), and you obviously own the life of the one you kill for verbally or physically assaulting or molesting that child. Reciprocally, the abuser claims ownership of, and exploits, the mind and/or body of that child. I do not advocate exploitation of any kind, but with every step taken into capitalism – the world of ownership – the more you alienate your child from you through your authoritarian exaltation and sanctification of hir, and the more you alienate yourself from all other beings through your righteous ownership of them by the power of the sword.
Stealing would not exist in anarchy because no one owns anything, except perhaps themselves. Abuse would not exist in anarchy because it is a form of a person having authority over another through their ownership and exploitation of that person. In our current authoritarian world – on the path to anarchy, if someone were to poison a river or abuse a child, of course one would immediately want to end this particular instance of authority (the poisoner, or the abuser) and help them understand what they have done, but do so by using the very least amount of authority possible or none at all (Meyers 2000, 15). The more that people feed the beast of authority and control, the more it persists.
Community and cooperation take on completely new meanings in anarchy. In the ownership society, tending to take on meanings opposite of capitalism, “community” embodies a world of giving what is owned without expectation of return. In anarchy, everything just is. You are merely passing something to another, it is nothing that you own. And regarding cooperation, no one is obligated to do anything, but you can agree with others to accomplish tasks, and especially without the fear of chastisement or punishment if you fail (Anti-Mass: Methods of Organization for Collectives, Meyers 2000).
Would everyone steal in an anarchist society? It would no longer be stealing. And the people would reciprocally want to mold the physical world, its buildings and landscape to be as easy and giving of sustenance as possible. As nothing is owned, knowledge is not either. Would organizations cease? Certainly not. We can agree to keep them going, but if we see that the organization is unproductive or unchanging to our needs and wants, then we have the freedom to leave it and do something else, form something else. As there is not money, nor ownership and authority, there is nothing to bind us economically. We are free. When we are a part of something, it is because we feel it important to be, or that it is a productive and fulfilling aspect of our lives.
In this anarchy, the only way that the anarchy can continue in peace is if there is consensus regarding the anarchy. If ownership and resultantly capitalism step into the picture in the least, it ceases to be. Certainly we can be sedentary caretakers, but we can also live like the bird. Anarchy requires a major shift in how people think about and conceive of the world. Yes, some may argue that it is just too big a shift for human beings to make. Capitalism is a construction that humans have created. I do not believe it is too huge, and as huge as it may be, that does not mean I nor anyone else cannot work to try to conceptualize what that day might be like and work for it to happen. And thus this text.
Some anarchists do believe that visceral violence may have to be taken to overthrow the systems of authority that exist (Bonanno 1977). Yes, once one has killed all of the owners, a form of anarchy may be, but if people have not learned how ownership functions to oppress and destroy them — they may be likely to quickly revert to that old system of which they are so familiar (You Can’t Blow Up a Social Relationship: The Anarchist Case Against Terrorism 1998). Unbounded knowledge and thinking frees human beings. And as might be concluded, not having authority, ownership and thus capitalism, such are rules that a civilization might agree to have. The anarchy has “rules,” but they are rules that are not based on fear or the forced controlling of and oppression of others, but on agreeing to have lives of real, true equality and freedom for all.
Personal approaches to anarchy
To create this world, as one might conclude from the circle, there have evolved two predominant bodies of anarchists: individualist/lifestyle anarchists and social anarchists (Bookchin 1995). This is not to say that there are other varieties of anarchists or those that choose not to be labeled at all (Black 2004), but these two groups are the most primary. Both of these groups could be discussed extensively, but to summarize their perspectives, both base their views on the ownership system being the core of all human inequalities and of many human psychological dysfunctions.
The first group, lifestyle anarchists, focus on the libertarian side of anarchist thought. Most often they critique how people are disconnected from the means of production and they respond through libertarian acts of independence to subvert that system. Their critique actively expresses that people live their lives in capitalism not seeing how and where owned, material goods are coming from, nor do people immediately, if ever, see the consequences of their purchase locally and globally, all while living a life where their desire for most things is artificially created to prompt their continued purchasing to own and use those created goods. In mind numbing amounts, massive numbers of the exact same thing are produced to quench these created needs. Lifestyle anarchists oftentimes also critique technology itself as helping to fuel that mass purchasing of goods, the resultant psychological disconnections for people, and even the destruction of the planet. (Cross-Nickerson 2007, Prieur 2005, Debord 1973) Some anarchists involved in the critique of technology even consider themselves primitivists, and seek to promote and live their lives as hunter and gatherers (RedWolfReturns 2004, Feral Forager). For the lifestyle anarchist generally, with the world around them being so industrially repetitious and distantly controlled and produced by titanically larger capitalist forces, amid these immense personal disconnections, it can be very disconcerting to people to the point of driving many to want to break from it through an embrace of a more libertarian, independent life, in which one’s personal self-reliance and self-determined uniqueness is most valued. And thus the unique individuality and independence of personal expression often associated with lifestyle anarchism. Among this group, as well, there are some who have sought perspectives of postmodernism in which immense diversity is celebrated, thus seeking to break apart and destroy the repeated standardizations, idealizations, compounded personal disconnections, and even the oppressive technologies associated with the ownership system. Some, experiencing a sense of powerlessness in the face of the ownership machine, embrace nihilism, in which they conclude that anything they do is useless, except perhaps taking up arms and to sabotage the deranged capitalist machine (A! 2004, An Anonymous Nihilist 2004, Bookchin 1995, Bonanno 1977). All of these perspectives, related predominantly to discontent over such large scale disconnection, encompass the libertarian side of anarchy.
The second group, social anarchists, often most value a critique of how inequalities occur among people due to capitalism. Many of these critiques were discussed in the preceding section so they will not be expounded on much further here, but the social anarchist’s personal response to that critique in the form of action, many times unlike the lifestyle anarchist, comes as an effort to educate and organize people, forming labor unions, intentional communities, and other forms of collectives of people – to the point of eventually collectively abandoning or destroying that system of inequality which ownership causes (Bookchin 1995). Collectives of people agreeing to work together in consensus toward common goals aids in dissolving the system by helping to create environments where people are politically equal in their power and where ownership scarcely or does not exist, only the values that people freely agree about. Other activities they engage in are to create other types of environments where ownership does not exist, such as creating and advocating permaculture (landscaping the environment so that all plants are edible, bear an edible fruit, or are useful in some other manner), using natural, local building materials in construction (such as cob or strawbales), encouraging the use of open source software, contributing to or advocating non-commercial radio, pirate radio, or other independent media, feeding the homeless, or simply leaving things one does not need on the street for others to freely take. Many, if not all of these acts are also lifestyle anarchist endeavors as such actions help destroy global exploitation and power structures by connecting people with local means of production. Some social anarchists may also be very active in the political left, simply as a way to help spread knowledge and discontent among the democratic/socialist left. This is the socialist side of anarchism, to critique social inequalities and act to end them primarily through collective action.
The dialogue above is not to say that collectives do not occur among lifestyle anarchists or that the critiques of lifestyle and social anarchists do not overlap. They absolutely do, but some people value one avenue of critique over the other. The current literature suggests that, most anarchists very much appear to carry philosophic characteristics of both, yet altogether carry the same goal, the destruction of the ownership state:
It doesn’t matter if I, for instance, may have gotten more out of situationism than syndicalism, whereas another anarchist has gotten more out of feminism or Marxism or Islam. Where we have visited and even where we come from is less important than where we are and where ... we are going.... (Black 2004, 6)
From the quote above, situationism is an individualist anarchist perspective, syndicalism and Marxism dwell among social anarchist perspectives, feminism and Islam carry some aspects of both. The unity of anarchists toward a stateless society, owned and ruled neither by individuals nor by a group is the common goal.
With these understandings now of how ownership functions, how a world without ownership might function, and the philosophical avenues and advocacy that anarchists often take, this book will now examine the currently dominant theories in the fields of planning and environmental design and examine the forms of their severe theoretical desperation as they relate to ownership.