Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Community Planning (MCP)


Community Planning and Area Development

First Advisor

Marcia Marker Feld


There is a discrepancy between what planners in a general sense wish to accomplish and what they practice in the field. Similar to incrementalism, contingency planning threatens the widely accepted notion that planning should be rational and comprehensive. Contingency planning has no broad, long term goals and it focuses on solving problems in a short time frame. Yet, contingency may best characterize the day-to-day bureaucracy and situational compromises in which planners make decisions. This study examines contingency planning through an analysis of the current literature and by a survey of practicing planning professionals in the State of Rhode Island. The findings show that contingency theory, implemented through strategic planning, generally describes planning practice in Rhode Island.