This paper draws on planning experience in ten nations, at different territorial levels. These nations vary by degrees of urbanization, industrialization, and political systems. Since such differences make tight comparisons problematic, the author focuses on the case studies of planning practice in each setting. The first part is a historical analysis of why and how placing cultures emerged as an object of inquiry in international planning discourses. This analysis sets the background to the second part of the paper: the questions of the title are considered drawing on the evidence provided by case studies. Even though planning contexts vary among the ten nations, such differences are the result of an unpredictable process of social change influenced by politics, and not the inevitable outcome of static planning cultures. So, the paper concludes that Planning Culture is not an independent variable, even though the word Culture identifies a domain separated from economy and politics.