chapter  2
27 Pages

Muddling through: an anatomy of British urban sprawl

According to Lindblom (1959, 1979), the norm in policy-making is ‘muddling through’. Lindblom (1959) contrasts the ‘branch’ method of decision-making (as one of ‘successive limited comparisons’) with the ‘root’ method of the comprehensive search for an optimal solution to any given problem. 1 Britain must surely be one of the best examples of this branch mode of decision-making in public policy, including land-use and spatial planning. As Cullingworth described the history of post-war planning in Britain: ‘It would be pleasant . . . if the events which together make up the history of environmental planning followed a logical path from the identifi cation of problems, through studies of alternative ways of meeting them, to neat solutions in legislative and administrative action. Unfortunately, the true story is complicated and confused’ (Cullingworth, 1975: xi).