This is not so outlandish as one might think as the city of Houston demonstrates. In this Texan city of over 2 million people the traditional free market philosophy is subscribed to, with public sector planning (in the form of US 'zoning') seen as a violation of private property rights and individual freedoms. One can imagine public sector planning being termed 'too socialist' in these parts! Qian (2008) provides an excellent study of how Houston has developed as a city with no zoning and the role played by the private sector, as well as neighbourhood residents groups.
Despite this, Qian finds that Houston displays little difference to a comparative city such as Dallas which is traditionally zoned for land uses. In fact Houston is characterised by a urban form that could easily have been the result of state planning. Whilst not perfect, and still dominated by car-dependency and urban sprawl, the city demonstrates that other bodies and actors can step into the void left by the public sector. Most interestingly, neighbourhood organisations play a strong role in the types and character of land uses in the city.
But unfortunately planning is more than just land use policy - as the current move towards spatial planning demonstrates. The danger is that with a lack of state planning 'joined-up' thinking is overlooked and planning fails to engage with a wide range of parties, especially those vulnerable groups that have little representation or power in the private sector.
Qian (2008) World Cities and Urban Form. Routledge: London.