Town Planning Review

Taking sustainability forward: Relating practice to policy in a changing legislative environment

Town Planning Review (2004), 75, (3), 309–335.

Abstract

Sustainability has become a clichéd term that is in danger of meaning everything and thus nothing. In land use planning it has become the new 'amenity' – a catch-all term that can be used to justify a refusal of permission or imposition of conditions notwithstanding a lack of professional consensus over its definition, interpretation or application. If sustainability is thus not to become a devalued and ineffective term, we need to develop ways in which the concept can be applied in a transparent and consistent way so that all stakeholders in the planning process can see how sustainability criteria have moulded the decision. Radical changes to planning in 2004 offer an important opportunity to appraise development policies and proposals in ways that ensure that individual decisions help to take sustainability forward in a cumulative way. These changes are viewed from the perspective of two academics and a senior planning officer in order to generate insights into how practice and policy might interact under the revised system.

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Author details

Kelly, Mike

Selman, Paul

Gilg, Andrew