chapter
6 Pages

INTRODUCTION

BySIMIN DAVOUDI, IAN STRANGE

The latter part of the twentieth century witnessed the resurgence of strategic spatial planning at various scales from pan-European to the local level. In the UK, this ‘spatial turn’ in planning was contingent on two significant developments which have come to epitomise the demand for new ways of conceptualising spatial planning and making spatial strategies in practice. The first of these developments was the Royal Town Planning Institute’s (RTPI) New Vision for Planning (RTPI 2001: 1), which was built around the core idea of planning as Spatial, Sustainable, Integrative and Inclusive. The second impetus for change came from new legislation, in the form of the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act in 2004, which, for the first time, defined a statutory purpose for planning, stating that planning should ‘contribute to sustainable development’ (ODPM 2004). These developments were complemented with the reform of planning education which placed the emphasis on ‘seek[ing] to promote critical thinking about space and place as the basis for action or intervention’ (RTPI 2003: 1, our emphasis). It was this renewed enthusiasm for spatiality in planning that motivated us to embark on this book project. Although there is widespread support for reorienting planning towards space and place, there is little common understanding about what constitutes ‘spatial planning’ and what conceptions of space and place underpin approaches to spatial plan making. It is the latter question that lies at the heart of our inquiry. Hence, the aim of this book is to examine which conceptions of space and place have been articulated, presented and visualised in the making of spatial strategies.