Town Planning Review

The changing meaning of urban capacity: A need to reflect on planning for infrastructure

Town Planning Review (2006), 77, (4), 403–422.

Abstract

The Urban Renaissance requires desirable urban housing to encourage people back to English towns and cities. Urban-capacity studies (urban-potential studies) are used to identify possible future housing opportunities in these areas; however, urban capacity originally focused on urban areas' finite capacity to accommodate future housing allocations. This change in meaning is explored through analysing the relevant government texts of the time (1995–2001) and urban-capacity studies. This reveals the continuing importance of the intensity of urban use as an issue, but the seeming loss of its consideration in more recent urban-capacity assessments. Yet the quality of local urban infrastructures and their usage remain important factors in realising the Urban Renaissance. Where housing is most needed, the South-East Region, the question of infrastructural provision has reappeared. A new study assessing and costing future requirements has emerged. This may be a much-needed addition in achieving the Urban Renaissance.

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Gunn, Susannah