Associate Professor Michael Gunder



Michael Gunder: Frequently cited as a leading planning theorist in the literature, Michael has established an international reputation in this academic field by introducing Lacanian psychoanalytical philosophy and subjective linguistic deconstruction to the analysis of public policy and planning. This is an approach able to displace traditional understandings of the sociology of knowledge with a more explanatory perspective, predicated on a more fine-grained poststructuralist understanding of social reality, language, emotion and ideological formation that generate many of the motivations behind human action. Michael has attained a global profile for his critical deconstructions of dominant built environment related discourses/movements such those of sustainable development, smart growth, new urbanism and urban design, as reflected in his many publications. He is a former president of the New Zealand Planning Institute. He is currently the Managing Editor of the ISI-ranked international journal Planning Theory.

Research | Current

  • Philosophy and theory of planning


Fellow New Zealand Planning Institute


Director Research Engagement

Areas of expertise

Planning theory

Committees/Professional groups/Services


Selected publications and creative works (Research Outputs)

  • Gunder, M., Madanipour, A., & Watson, V. (Eds.) (2017). The Routledge handbook of planning theory. New York, United States: Routledge.
  • Gunder, M. (2016). Planning's “Failure” to Ensure Efficient Market Delivery: A Lacanian Deconstruction of this Neoliberal Scapegoating Fantasy. European Planning Studies, 24 (1), 21-38. 10.1080/09654313.2015.1067291
  • Gunder, M. (2015). Planning as the ideology of (neoliberal) space. In A. Madanipour (Ed.) Planning Theory, Vol. 4, Planning with Contingency, Critical Concepts in Built Environment Series (pp. 172-190). London: Routledge.
  • Gunder, M. (2015). Critical Planning Theory. In J. D. Wright (Ed.) International Encyclopedia of Social and Behavioral Sciences, Volume 5 (pp. 255-260). Oxford: Elsevier. 10.1016/B978-0-08-097086-8.74026-8
  • Gunder, M. (2015). The Role of Fantasy in Public Policy Formation. In R. Beunen, K. Van Assche, M. Duineveld (Eds.) Evolutionary Governance Theory: Theory and Applications (pp. 143-154). Dordrecht: Springer. 10.1007/978-3-319-12274-8_10
  • Gunder, M. (2014). Fantasy in Planning Organisations and their Agency: The Promise of Being at Home in the World. Urban Policy and Research, 32 (1), 1-15. 10.1080/08111146.2013.835261
  • Gunder, M. (2014). Commentary: Is urban design still urban planning? An exploration and response. In T. Banerjee (Ed.) Urban design: Critical concepts in urban studies, Volume 1: The idea of urban design (pp. 645-665). New York: Routledge.
  • Gunder, M. (2011). A metapsychological exploration of the role of popular media in engineering public belief on planning issues. Planning Theory, 10 (4), 325-343. 10.1177/1473095211413754


Contact details

Primary office location

Level 7, Room 705
New Zealand

Web links