Town Planning Review

‘Cultural work’, spatial planning and the politics of renewing public sector planning professionalism in England

Town Planning Review (2012), 83, (5), 513–532.

Abstract

This paper assesses the effects on local government practice of attempts by the planning profession in England to reinvent its role and redefine the disciplinary field by promoting a shift from land-use to spatial planning. Drawing on work that investigated the rationale for the move to a spatial planning approach and two case studies of emerging practice in the south-east of England in 2006-8, the article explores the ‘cultural work’ required to realise spatial planning, i.e. its capacity to reshape the knowledge, social relations and identities of public sector planning practice. It concludes that the promotion of spatial planning has highlighted enduring tensions within the planning-professional project, and discusses what this means for the future of the profession in the public sector.

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Author details

Inch, Andy