Town Planning Review

The ‘Cambridge Phenomenon’ and the challenge of planning reform

Town Planning Review (2016), 87, (1), 31–52.

Abstract

The ‘Cambridge Phenomenon’ has achieved global recognition as an exemplar of economic success. After decades of post-war planning restraint, a major shift in the strategic planning framework saw the city region enthusiastically backing future growth. Faced, subsequently, with abolition of formal strategic planning at a national level and when many local councils took the opportunity to scale back development proposals, Cambridge reasserted its commitment to growth. The new ‘localism’ and the 2012 National Planning Policy Framework, however, leaves this strategy – and the Cambridge Phenomenon itself – potentially vulnerable. This article explains the continuing momentum behind growth in the face of radical planning reform and looks at the potential tensions between this and the new localism. It provides an updated account of this iconic, high-tech cluster. It also aims to contribute to our conceptual understanding of strategies for growth.

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Author details

Boddy, Martin

Hickman, Hannah