The editors of Town Planning Review (TPR) have selected the following paper as the Featured Article in TPR 92.5.
This paper will be free to access for a limited time:
‘Rethinking regulation: the mundane turn in planning’ by Katie McClymont and Adam Sheppard
When asked to describe the paper and highlight its importance, the authors stated the following:
As the debate around planning reform in England continues apace, with suggestions of a quasi-regulatory approach and a further reduction of the discretionary scope of place management that has been a defining feature of the system since the 1947 Act, it is important to reconsider the limits, possibilities and impacts of the system we have now. Doing so allows us to reflect upon the characteristics and implications of the current construct, with which a measured and considered debate around change may be instigated and informed. Too long and too often overlooked by researchers and the professional press, we hope that this introduction to the ‘Rethinking Regulation’ Special Issue, and the other papers in the SI, will bring the importance of regulations and decision-making tools more to the fore of the debate on the purpose and values of planning.
Katie McClymont said ‘As someone who has taught planning theory to groups of masters students including part-timers already in development management practice, I have had fascinating debates about the relationship between visions or values and implementation. There is much scope to think further about what rules are aiming to achieve, and whether in practice, these get the intended results.’
Adam Sheppard said ‘I think it is really important to understand, analyse, debate, and consider the nature of the regulatory construct and decision-making arena. It is such a critical space in the context of planning implementation, and impacts significantly upon outcomes and the nature of place – both positively and in ways that raise series questions about the effectiveness of the planning system in England today.’
Although there are rumours that the current tranche of reforms suggested by the government in August 2020 may be quietly ditched or watered down after backbench disgruntlement and the Tories’ loss in the Amersham and Chesham by-election, questions about the nature of the system will remain. Who has the scope to shape, influence, impact, and decide in the development of the built environment, and on what grounds, is critical to planning. If we want to achieve more just and sustainable places, we need to have the tools we require for the job.