Town Planning Review

Culture, planning and path dependence: some reflections on the problems of comparison

Town Planning Review (2011), 82, (1), 13–28.

Abstract

Comparative research in spatial planning and urban policy runs the risk of being undertaken with insufficient awareness of the extent to which they are culturally embedded. This article reflects on some of the theoretical and methodological implications of approaches that accept the cultural embeddedness of planning, taking in particular work by Tilly (1984) and Brenner (2001) to explore typologies of comparative research, and the concept of path dependence as the means for articulating causality. It concludes by considering some of the consequences of such approaches for the conduct of research.

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Booth, Philip