UNDERSTANDING PLANNING UNDER LABOUR
Chapter 2 highlighted some different views on the nature of New Labour and how planning evolved and changed during the Labour era. There is a diversity of perspectives that vary depending upon the focus (e.g. policy sector), the time period and the normative standpoint of those undertaking the assessment. This chapter develops a framework to help explain the nature of change in planning during this period. It is easy to place the practices and changes within broader literatures on, for example, governance and policy networks and to depict planning as a sub-set of such accounts. Planning is, after all, embedded within a range of wider, evolving contexts, including state restructuring (Held, 2005; Beck, 2002) and rescaling (Jessop, 2002a; Jones, 2001; Goodwin et al., 2005) and shifts towards what Stoker terms the ‘post-elected, local government era’ (2004: 9). However, we should be wary of the lure of reductionist approaches to planning. Such contexts provide an important though partial understanding, as planning is unique in a number of important respects.