A Future for Planning : Taking Responsibility for Twenty-First Century Challenges book cover
1st Edition

A Future for Planning
Taking Responsibility for Twenty-First Century Challenges

ISBN 9781138708808
Published May 10, 2019 by Routledge
208 Pages

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Book Description

As well as being spatial, planning is necessarily also about the future – and yet time has been relatively neglected in the academic, practice and policy literature on planning. Time, in particular the need for longer-term thinking, is critical to responding effectively to a range of pressing societal challenges from climate change to an ageing population, poor urban health to sustainable economic development. This makes the relative neglect of time not only a matter of theoretical importance but also increasing practical and political significance.

A Future for Planning is an accessible, wide-ranging book that considers how planning practice and policy have been constrained by short-termism, as well as by a familiar lack of spatial thinking in policy, in response to major social, economic and environmental challenges. It suggests that failures in planning often represent failures to anticipate and shape the future which go well beyond planning systems and practices; rather our failure to plan for the longer-term relates to wider issues in policy-making and governance.

This book traces the rise and fall of long-term planning over the past 80 years or so, but also sets out how planning can take responsibility for twenty-first century challenges. It provides examples of successes and failures of longer-term planning from around the world. In short, the book argues that we need to put time back into planning, and develop forms of planning which serve to promote the sustainability and wellbeing of future generations.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1. The Rise of the New Right and the Attack on Planning Challenge 1. Population Change and Urban Development Chapter 2. The New Right and Urban and Regional Planning Challenge 2. Climate Change Chapter 3. Failing to Face the Future: A Pathology of Failing to Plan (But Why We Still Can) Challenge 3. Economic and Technological Disruption Chapter 4. The Rise and Fall of Long-Term Planning Challenge 4. Poor Governance and Political Instability Chapter 5. Planners and Policy-Makers Planning for the Future (Part I) Challenge 5. Systemic Risk Chapter 6. Planners and Policy-Makers Planning for the Future (Part II) Chapter 7. Back to the Future: Planning for the Long-Term in an Age of Crisis and Short-Termism

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Michael Harris is a researcher and writer who has worked across numerous sectors including education, technology, innovation, government, public services and urban planning. His research interests have included reforming education to harness the latest technologies, how businesses and organisations innovate in radical new ways, rethinking public services to better serve people’s needs, and challenging the closed development of government policy. Most recently he has focused on planning for future trends, such as climate change, population growth, and economic and technological disruption.


"This book sets out an important agenda for the future of planning – spearheading long-term responses to the biggest challenges faced by our societies. Planners need to reassert their role as public advocates and influencers at the top table of local and national government, as well as reflecting the communities they serve. A crucial call-to-action for today’s, and tomorrow’s, planners." -Victoria Hills MRTPI, Chief Executive, Royal Town Planning Institute, UK 

"We face massive planning challenges such as urban growth and climate change on the one hand and yet a denial of the urgency to forward plan on the other. In promoting ‘radical optimism’, this book is a timely reminder to planners to ‘believe again in our ability to shape the future’." -Barbara Norman, Professor of Design & Built Environment, University of Canberra, Australia

"A Future for Planning is a long-overdue call-to-arms for politicians, governments, environmentalists, social campaigners and planners to reassert themselves; it shows what can be achieved through a proactive planning regime that challenges hegemonic economic and political forces; and acts as a rallying-call to stand up against the dispossessed, with the marginalised and the polarised and use planning as a new political and democratic weapon." -Mark Tewdwr-Jones, Professor of Town Planning, Newcastle University, and Director of Newcastle City Futures, UK