As well as being spatial, planning is necessarily also about the future – and yet time has been relatively neglected in the academic, practice and policy literature on planning. Time, in particular the need for longer-term thinking, is critical to responding effectively to a range of pressing societal challenges from climate change to an ageing population, poor urban health to sustainable economic development. This makes the relative neglect of time not only a matter of theoretical importance but also increasing practical and political significance.

A Future for Planning is an accessible, wide-ranging book that considers how planning practice and policy have been constrained by short-termism, as well as by a familiar lack of spatial thinking in policy, in response to major social, economic and environmental challenges. It suggests that failures in planning often represent failures to anticipate and shape the future which go well beyond planning systems and practices; rather our failure to plan for the longer-term relates to wider issues in policy-making and governance.

This book traces the rise and fall of long-term planning over the past 80 years or so, but also sets out how planning can take responsibility for twenty-first century challenges. It provides examples of successes and failures of longer-term planning from around the world. In short, the book argues that we need to put time back into planning, and develop forms of planning which serve to promote the sustainability and wellbeing of future generations.

chapter |10 pages


chapter Challenge 1|5 pages

Population Change and Urban Development

chapter Challenge 2|5 pages

Climate Change

chapter 3|25 pages

Failing to Face the Future

A Pathology of Failing to Plan (But Why We Still Can)

chapter Challenge 3|5 pages

Economic and Technological Disruption

chapter 4|25 pages

The Rise and Fall of Long-Term Planning

chapter Challenge 4|5 pages

Poor Governance and Political Instability

chapter Challenge 5|5 pages

Systemic Risk

chapter 7|27 pages

Back to the Future

Planning for the Long Term in an Age of Crisis and Short-Termism