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Processes of Innovation: reformation of the English strategic spatial planning system

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Zan Gunn, Professor Jean Hillier


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Using the 2001–2010 reform of the English spatial planning system, this research addresses the key planning theory and practice question of how new agendas travel and are adopted through the planning system. As part of this reform, an extensive range of agencies and texts were used to convey new practices to local planners. Informed by Healey's (2006) model of a concept's capacity to travel, and using an actant network-inspired investigative approach, this research reviews key reform texts and how three key messages—flexibility, evidence-based policy, and infrastructure provision—travelled and were transformed through the intermediaries and mediators entangled in the newly reformed spatial planning assemblage. The research finds that a number of key intermediaries played an educative role in the reformed planning system and that the space of negotiation which would have encouraged exploration and innovation became congested with well-intentioned but prescriptive advice which led local planning authorities to be increasingly circumscribed in their approaches.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Gunn S, Hillier J

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Planning Theory & Practice

Year: 2012

Volume: 13

Issue: 3

Pages: 359-381

Print publication date: 16/08/2012

ISSN (print): 1464-9357

ISSN (electronic): 1470-000X

Publisher: Routledge


DOI: 10.1080/14649357.2012.706630


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