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

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  2. Dr Zan Gunn
  3. Professor Jean Hillier
Author(s)Gunn S, Hillier J
Publication type Article
JournalPlanning Theory & Practice
ISSN (print)1464-9357
ISSN (electronic)1470-000X
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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.
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