This introduction presents an overview of the key concepts discussed in the subsequent chapters of this book. The book illustrates the robust nature of planning in some European countries, the changes which have recently taken place, and the modernization of planning to address contemporary issues. It examines carefully selected innovative examples of how this has been achieved in different countries and at different spatial levels. The book focuses on the spirit of planning in 2000, which seeks to cope with new challenges by adding new dimensions which have been lacking or need strengthening. Globalization processes have an impact on the state’s capacity to govern and this, in turn is leading to a recomposition of the role of the state and to a search for new forms of regulation. Planning is embedded in social relations and is therefore heavily dependent upon a mix of cognitive, cultural, social and political institutions. Planning theory and planning practice are provided with new approaches.