Town Planning Review

Commentary: What is this thing called spatial planning? An analysis of the British government's view

Town Planning Review (2010), 81, (2), 193–208.

Abstract

Unlike most other disciplines concerned with the built environment, town planning has been given various titles and re-brandings in its history, of which the most recent example is the term 'spatial' planning. Focusing on the British government's view of spatial planning, as spelt out in the 2004 Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act and its accompanying planning policy statements, this Commentary describes what spatial planning is said to be and then analyses whether, as its proponents claim, it is a different kind of planning from town or land use (etc.) planning. The Commentary argues that, with the possible exception of the aspiration to integrate and plan the spatial dimension of all government policy, there is no significant difference between spatial planning and town/land use (etc.) planning, and, hence, that this latest term is nothing more than a re-branding of an old activity, albeit one that has itself changed and evolved significantly over the last half century.

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BAINS REPORT (1972), The New Local Authorities: Management and Structures (Report of the Study Group on Local Authority Management Structures), London, HMSO. Google Scholar

BARRETT, S. AND FUDGE, C. (eds) (1981), Policy and Action: Essays on the Implementation of Public Policy, London, Methuen. Policy and Action: Essays on the Implementation of Public Policy Google Scholar

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CHADWICK, G. F. (1971), A Systems View of Planning, Oxford, Pergamon Press. A Systems View of Planning Google Scholar

CHAPIN, F. STUART (1965), Urban Land Use Planning (2nd edn), Urbana, IL, University of Illinois Press. Urban Land Use Planning Google Scholar

DCLG (DEPARTMENT FOR COMMUNITIES AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT) (2008), Planning Policy Statement 12: Local Spatial Planning, Norwich, TSO/HMSO. Google Scholar

DOE (DEPARTMENT OF THE ENVIRONMENT), scottish development department and the welsh office (1969), People and Planning: Report of the Committee on Public Participation in Planning (Chairman, Mr A. Skeffington), London, HMSO. Google Scholar

HALL, PETER (1974), Urban and Regional Planning, Harmondsworth, Penguin. Urban and Regional Planning Google Scholar

JACOBS, J. (1964 [1961]), The Death and Life of Great American Cities: The Failure of Town Planning, Harmondsworth, Penguin. Google Scholar

KEEBLE, L. B. (1952), Principles and Practice of Town and County Planning, London, The Estates Gazette. Principles and Practice of Town and County Planning Google Scholar

MCLOUGHLIN, J. B. (1969), Urban and Regional Planning: A Systems Approach, London, Faber & Faber. Urban and Regional Planning: A Systems Approach Google Scholar

NADIN, V. (2007), 'The emergence of the spatial planning approach in England', Planning Practice and Research, 22, 43–62. The emergence of the spatial planning approach in England Planning Practice and Research 22 43 62 Google Scholar

NEEDHAM, B. (2005), 'The new Dutch Spatial Planning Act: continuity and change in the way in which the Dutch regulate the practice of spatial planning', Planning Practice and Research, 20, 327–40. The new Dutch Spatial Planning Act: continuity and change in the way in which the Dutch regulate the practice of spatial planning Planning Practice and Research 20 327 40 Google Scholar

ODPM (OFFICE OF THE DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER) (2004a), Draft Planning Policy Statement 1: Creating Sustainable Communities, Norwich, TSO/HMSO. Google Scholar

ODPM (OFFICE OF THE DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER) (2004b), Planning Policy Statement 12: Local Development Frameworks, Norwich, TSO/HMSO. Google Scholar

ODPM (OFFICE OF THE DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER) (2004c), Creating Local Development Frameworks: A Companion Guide to PPS 12, Norwich, TSO/HMSO. Google Scholar

PAG (PLANNING ADVISORY GROUP) (1965), The Future of Development Plans (the PAG Report), London, HMSO. Google Scholar

PRESSMAN, J. L. AND WILDAVSKY, A. (1973), Implementation, Berkeley, CA and London, University of California Press. Implementation Google Scholar

READE, E. (1987), British Town and Country Planning, Milton Keynes, Open University Press. British Town and Country Planning Google Scholar

SHAW, D. AND LORD, A. (2007), 'The cultural turn? Culture change and what it means for spatial planning in England', Planning Practice and Research, 22, 63–78. The cultural turn? Culture change and what it means for spatial planning in England Planning Practice and Research 22 63 78 Google Scholar

TAYLOR, N. (1998), Urban Planning Theory since 1945, London, Sage. Urban Planning Theory since 1945 Google Scholar

TAYLOR, N. (1999), 'Anglo-American town planning theory since 1945: three significant developments but no paradigm shifts', Planning Perspectives, 14, 327–45. Anglo-American town planning theory since 1945: three significant developments but no paradigm shifts Planning Perspectives 14 327 45 Google Scholar

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WILLIAMS, R. H. (1996), European Union Spatial Policy and Planning, London, Paul Chapman Publishing. European Union Spatial Policy and Planning Google Scholar

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Author details

Taylor, Nigel