The Role and Scope of Spatial Planning (Vincent Nadin University of the West of England, Bristol, UK)


The emergence of the planning reforms and ‘the spatial planning approach’ have

been influenced by many factors. There is no simple equation showing how the

factors came together. The perceived marginalisation of the planning system from

wider decision making and outcomes, and particularly its limited influence on

the factors that are shaping spatial development provide the context. The spur

for change comes from awareness of the need for a spatial dimension in the task

of joining-up government in order to achieve critical economic and social

outcomes and avoid the costs of non-coordination. This is strongly supported by

advocacy for a renewed approach to planning in support of sustainable

development. In that context, the European spatial planning discourse and

emerging or renewed concepts of space and place have provided some

inspiration for the direction of change. But all this leaves many questions for

how spatial planning is put into practice.

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