Stevenage Ltd Aspects of the Planning and Politics of Stevenage New Town 1945-78
A study of particular aspects of the politics of planning a new town, this book, originally published in 1980, covers events from the inception of Stevenage in 1946 up to 1978. As a case study, the focus is on two expansion schemes, which were intended to extend the designated area of the town, and on the public protest that the two schemes engendered. Emphasis is placed on the structure and action of three groups of people: the ‘urban managers’ – the Stevenage Development Corporation; Stevenage industrialists; and local organisations engaged in protest. The theoretical focus is on the thesis of ‘urban managerialism’: the book examines the constraints placed upon both the structure and action of the Stevenage urban managers over the previous thirty years. In showing how matters work in practice, it directs light on issues of theory which other sociologists of planning, such as Pickvance and Castells, had only discussed in the abstract.
The author argues that the experience of Stevenage illustrates a case of urban policy (particularly in housing and employment) being determined by the interests of industry alone, while at the same time pointing to the interrelationship of Stevenage industry and the town’s Development Corporation. He examines the membership, strategies and aims of the various protest groups involved over the years, and casts considerable doubt on the notion that the groups were ‘for democracy’ and ‘against bureaucracy’. Finally, he concludes, controversially, that in Stevenage’s case, public participation and protest were basically irrelevant to the decision-making processes.
Preface. Acknowledgments. Introduction. Abbreviations. Part One 1. Some Themes in Urban Planning 2. The London New Towns: An Overview Part Two 3. Stevenage 1945-60: Beginnings 4. Stevenage 1960-9: Consolidation and Contradictions 5. Stevenage 1970-1: Rumours of Things to Come 6. Stevenage 1972-3: ‘Expansion of ‘73’ – the Case is Presented 7. Stevenage 1972-4: The Struggle Begins 8. Stevenage 1974: ‘Expansion ‘74’, and the Struggle Continues 9. Stevenage 1974-6: The Public Enquiry 10. Stevenage 1976-7: Confusion Abounds Part Three 11. Stevenage: Constraints on the Urban Managers 12. Urban Managerialism 13. Public Participation in Planning: Illusion or Reality? 14. Prospects for the New Urban Managers? Appendices. Notes. Bibliography. Index.