Town Planning Review

Only a town planner would run a toxic-waste pipeline through a recreational area: Planning and planners in the British press

Town Planning Review (2006), 77, (4), 423–455.

Abstract

Given the many planning reforms underway, including the increasing emphasis on public participation, and the many high-profile issues to which planning can be linked, it is an important time to reflect on the media image of planning and planners. This paper draws on the results of a survey of newspaper coverage in British national and local papers in 2003–04 to illustrate how planning and planners are being represented and framed in the media. The results of the survey suggest a frequently stereotypical and critical image in the national print media, with more of a focus on planning in action in the local press. A similar survey of the professional journal Planning suggests a mismatch in public and professional images of planning. Taken together, these results give cause for concern as to how planning is represented in the public press and it is argued that such 'planning pessimism' highlights the need for greater attention to media representations of planning and planners.

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Clifford, Ben