Planning Theory And Practice Social Policy Essay

To state I was originally enthusiastic about the beginning of analyzing planning theory would be an hyperbole. I had come back into my surveies holding merely completed a placement twelvemonth in the populace sector feeling that I had experienced a more relevant history of be aftering issues than I would be able to derive cognition of from analyzing reading stuff on theory. I took the attitude that the placement twelvemonth presented far more existent and hence pertinent experiences than the commentary of the writers, whom I saw as being on the exterior of pattern.

In honestness, this sentiment persevered in the early hebdomads of the faculty. I struggled through the passage of get downing disputing theory based work once more after a twelvemonth of what had become everyday responsibilities on arrangement. I was dying at the chance of undertaking theoretical contemplations holding ab initio read Archibugi ‘s ( 2008 ) suggestion that a ‘creeping edginess has pervaded all the participants of this subject ‘ . Yet, as the class progressed I became satisfied by how my apprehension of many of the subjects and single subjects developed, through both talks and group based seminars. I have found that the treatments during these Sessionss have finally called into inquiry much of the cognition and prepossessions of be aftering that I had laid down as portion of the basis of my practical experience during my placement twelvemonth.

My apprehension of many of the subjects that were introduced was instead limited during the introductory talks. So whilst trying to develop a mechanism to beef up my apprehension, I found it of sense to research subjects that I could underscore with from my clip in pattern. I have found that because of my anterior experience sing the public involvement, and that I consider this to be a cardinal thought of planning, I have afforded this more clip and my constructs of the subject have developed significantly. The same can be said of the subject of aims and the subjects of preservation, saving and heritage. It is these two subjects and how my personal apprehension of each has developed that shall research in more deepness.

Key Ideas: The Public Interest

Throughout my experience of working for a local planning authorization, I was really much made to be cognizant that functioning in the populace sector means functioning in the public involvement. I was witting of the public involvement every bit good known thought that be aftering should arguably be built upon, and this impression was forced upon me from my really first twenty-four hours on arrangement. When geting at Council offices, the mark above the edifice read: ‘working together for the greater good of the public demand ‘ and this message was pressed into me throughout my initiation to the authorization.

As planning is a public service, be aftering officers in the local authorization ‘s of Britain are duty bound to include the populace in the assorted phases of the system. Whilst working in my arrangement within enforcement and development control I was good informed of this. I was frequently thrown in at the deep terminal, often covering with breaches of be aftering statute law and holding to see whether it was expedient to prosecute a redress to a affair with respect to non merely be aftering statute law but the public involvement every bit good.

Subsequently in the twelvemonth whilst holding the chance to help in the production of the local development program, I was informed that one of the ends of the section in making the papers was for it to be prepared integrating an increased degree of public engagement. Acting as a interpreter of the development program squad at public audiences and hearing many of the occupants ‘ concerns and representations with respect to the program, I was surely cognizant of the troubles and delicate nature of seeking to work towards a public involvement.

The state of affairss that I encountered peculiarly during the public audience exhibitions resonated with me whilst reading around the subject for this faculty. Many members of the public go toing the meetings were unhappy at some of the proposals included in the development program. It is widely accepted in pattern and theory that the planning system has held a cardinal aim of operating towards the involvement of the public of all time since the production of the 1947 Town and Country Planning Act ( Campbell and Marshall, 2002 ) . However, it is clear to me from such experiences that it can non ever achieve this end.

The work of Campbell and Marshall ( 2002 ) was the first piece of literature I was introduced to for a seminar on the construct of the public involvement. I noted that Campbell and Marshall were able to separate assorted attacks to the public involvement by sorting them into different groups, such as unitary public involvement and ultitairianism. Yet, to me this begged the inquiry as to whether this theory of categorization allowed contrivers to handle the topic superficially. Acting in, for illustration, the unitary public involvement, in my reading, is sing the populace as a whole and as one stakeholder, this instead than on an single footing or sing the involvements of a wider society. Therefore, is this non in kernel get the better ofing the very motivations of a public involvement?

In reflecting upon the literature in a greater deepness, I finally began to appreciate the problems in specifying a standard public involvement. I considered that the piece may hold been introduced to reflect the point that I may non be able to happen a individual definition at all, with it argued that ;

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‘Given the deep divisions of involvement in society, the continuity of dissension and the prevalence of strife and struggle it seems improbable that a consensus can be constructed ‘ ( Campbell and Marshall 2002 ) .

Given this, one could propose that as there are deep divisions in society, it may be impossible for the public involvement to see everyone and accordingly it may disregard the involvements of different groups. To this terminal, possibly the theory of set uping different classs of the public involvement that Campbell and Marshall ( 2002 ) promoted, is a practical solution to include different groups? Through this initial piece I had determined several issues of significance that I was acute to look into farther to broaden my apprehension of the construct of the public involvement.

From readings subsequently in the semester, I was given the platform to discourse the facet of different groups and divisions that Campbell and Marshall ( 2002 ) had before mentioned. It rapidly became more evident to me that the involvements of different minority groups clearly were n’t being represented in the ‘public involvement ‘ and in the current planning system. I found relevancy by reading the work of Peach and Gale ( 2003 ) who speak of the public involvement in a present twenty-four hours context, with the statement that cultural minorities and certain spiritual constructions are non represented rightly. The planning system is supposed to move towards a public good, but how can this be said of a system that does non adequately represent minority groups who account for an of all time increasing portion of society.

It became apparent whilst analyzing the work of Peach and Gale ( 2003 ) that the public involvement that the British planning system is geared towards is the mostly ‘traditional ‘ , white, in-between category contingent of society. This was possibly true of the context of non merely my arrangement, but the broad country of where I studied and was brought up in, with the system arguably non stand foring the different elements of society as a whole. I wanted to happen illustrations of this to associate to and was stunned by the huge sum of intelligence narratives refering minority groups protesting the manner in which their planning applications had been handled and frequently rejected either by be aftering officers or Council members ( Planing Resource, 2003 ) .

It has become clear to me throughout the faculty, that although Britain is non peculiarly representative of minority groups in the public involvement, its European neighbors could positively take lessons from our system in footings of following policy to let for difference. Peach and Gale ( 2003 ) here propose that states including Italy and Spain are stuck in a province of denial and opposition in the interaction between minority religion groups and the planning procedure.

In add-on, the recent referendum determination of the Swiss to censor the edifice of minarets emphasises a feeling of denial across much of Europe to see difference in the public involvement. These states notably take a different and far more utmost stance on the affair than Britain. Although Islam is the most widespread faith after Christianity in Switzerland, it remains comparatively concealed with supplication suites and planning applications for new minarets normally refused even prior to the new statute law being passed ( BBC News, 2009 ) . I was surprised to read of such troubles in these European states. I had ever considered Britain to be well less accepting of difference in non merely its planning system but society in general.

Although I have discovered that Britain ‘s system may look comparably stronger than its European equivalents in this sense, I still perceive the planning system in Britain as a conservative and restrictive 1. It would look that the current system in this regard is arguably outdated. Many determinations still ignorantly reflect the ideals portrayed in elements of Sharp ‘s ( 1945 ) work of the ‘traditional ‘ British town environment. Although certain local governments in Britain are get downing to encompass and observe alteration, such as in Birmingham City Council, I am still cognizant that applications are by and large refused for new spiritual edifices as Peach and Gale ( 2003 ) have presented.

Davidoff ( 2003, cited in Miles, 2008 ) suggests that merely the sentiments of the powerful are heard, and finally the demands of different groups and the hapless are ignored in the planning procedure. He argued that contrivers should stand for the positions of different communities suggesting to work straight with a assortment of groups to see planning in a multi cultural society in the signifier of protagonism planning ( Miles 2008 ) . It was considered from treatments from my equals that these statements are now renowned as a forepart smuggler, and I emphasise with many of the principals that are promoted. I agree that the planning system should endeavor to see society in its entireness as the public involvement, and authorise different voices. However, I am besides really cognizant from non merely my clip in pattern, but the literature, that the application of such theories behind these thoughts is non ever realistic or accomplishable.

Prior to this faculty, and throughout what I studied in my placement twelvemonth, I was accepting of the statement that the public involvement is a cardinal thought of significance, and should stay the pivot around which the intent of planning should turn ( Campbell and Marshall 2002 ) . Although I still agree with this, I have found it difficult to admit that the public involvement may finally pretermit many different groups in society. My idealistic and, in contemplation, naif construct of the public involvement that I enjoyed working toward whilst on arrangement has been transformed.

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Ultimately I now perceive the public involvement to be a cardinal thought of much skin color, and agree with Forester ( 1999, as cited in Campbell and Marshall, 2002 ) that the thought that it can be defined and known should be cast as a Chimera.

I recognise the words of Friedmann ( 2003 ) who suggests that be aftering demands to be brought into line with what is go oning in a ‘dramatically changing universe of globalization, multiculturalism and station modernness ‘ . This is important to guarantee that society as a whole is represented in the planning system. Otherwise, it can non be said that the procedure is working to a public good.

Planing Aims: Conservation, Preservation and Heritage

During my placement twelvemonth I was given the chance to work in the Conservation subdivision of the planning section. Throughout my clip in the division I helped reexamine elements of listed edifices and acted as a communicative nexus between Development Control, describing unauthorized plants on these listings for probe. I used this experience subsequently when returning to Enforcement Planning, to publish a Listed Building Enforcement Notice for unauthorized plants.

My clip in the section was brief and busy. One effect of this was that I was non allowed sufficient range to familiarize myself with much of the section ‘s background or how and why listings are made. I was hence eager to construct upon these limited experiences by researching these aims in more deepness. I thought it of usage to get down this procedure by analyzing the distinctions between the three issues and found by reading Larkham ‘s ( 1999, cited in Cullingworth, 1999 ) reading that:

“ Preservation tends to be the older construct and implies keeping without important alteration… Conservation is really much a 20th century use, implies a demand for alteration but consciousness that alteration should be directed in order to retain cardinal valued elements… Heritage has come to connote the procedure of rating, choice and reading of things in the yesteryear. ”

I had prepossessions prior to the relevant talks of what type of environment may represent ‘heritage ‘ . Yet, my positions were merely galvanised through the cognition I had acquired from the above definitions and talk stuffs. These continue to be chiefly traditional and stereotyped, that of baronial places, images of memorials and facets of national Parkss. I appreciate that peculiar characteristics of the built environment have to be protected, so the history of the country can be ‘conserved ‘ for future coevalss to bask and larn from. For illustration, it became obvious whilst on arrangement that the section aimed to protect pieces of the former industrial excavation civilization that dominated the country as these are seen to be representative of the part ‘s history. Partss of pits and illustrations of via-ducts had hence been protected for societal and aesthetic grounds.

However, I shortly realised the extra demand for edifices and countries to be protected in more of a national involvement to potentially heighten the economic system. It is hence possibly in the involvement of non merely the part but the state as a whole to forestall alteration to Welsh icons such as elements of the coal industry. Features such as this take the signifier of an image of national heritage and history, and can be presented as a type of tourer attractive force much to the benefit of the economic system.

Although I can associate to these grounds for edifices being listed, whilst working in industry I was at times surprised that certain types of edifices had been given protection and others non. From reading Larkham ( 1996 ) later in the semester, I considered the issues that may originate if there are inconsistent positions between those act uponing determinations sing such development in an country and those life in, or affected by the country. On arrangement, I was told narratives of frequent jobs in the section, with different stakeholders holding different sentiments and so at times when edifices ear marked for protection or alteration did non run into the blessing of the population who use the country. From this I went on to gain that the grounds for appellation of certain edifices for protection are sometimes misunderstood and ill-defined. It is argued in Cullingworth ( 1999 ) that:

“ … one of the jobs with the listing system over clip has been the secretiveness in which it has operated… no grounds were given for listings or refusal to list, and there is no entreaty. ‘

The transition goes on to depict the contention of station 1945 listings. I was shocked to larn that the Secretary of State for the Environment of the so Conservative authorities listed merely 18 of the 70 edifices suggested by English Heritage in 1987 ( Cullingworth, 1999 ) . From this I reflected that the aims of persons, and in this case political influence, can greatly impact the system and I was able to associate to more localized illustrations of this that I had seen in pattern.

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‘The Planning ( Listed Buildings Conservation Areas ) Act 1990 ‘ has gone some manner to chase away many of the statements sing enigma and secretiveness. I was interested to larn how current Heritage establishments operate in advancing transparence in determination devising. One suggestion, as presented by the Institute of Historic Building Conservation ( IHBC, 2007 ) is to incite a wider public engagement, therefore making a more representative agreement. It is argued in the Heritage White Paper ( IHBC, 2007 ) that integrating the heritage system in the planning procedure to a greater grade, will assist to avoid elements of uncertainness in the system. One of the purposes of a new construction would be to ;

“ … provide an accessible system to the populace for pull offing the appellation procedure, equilibrating reactivity, transparence, answerability and control ” ( IHBC, 2007 ) .

I agree that an component of transparence is required for an agreement such as the heritage or naming procedure to work efficaciously. As I continued to read the pertinent literature, I was taken by the initial contrasting stance of Miles ( 2008 ) , who states that, ‘planners as professional public retainers will frequently do disinterested opinions in the involvement of the populace ‘ . It has become apparent in reflecting on my treatments with my equals, that the single aims, sentiments and ideas of contrivers will impact the determinations that they make within the planning system. Historically I have found, through analyzing the literature, that this can be the instance when finding what is required to be ‘listed ‘ . Therefore, I can non accept the before mentioned theory of Miles ( 2008 ) . I would reason from my experience that it is merely natural for the contriver to do ‘interested opinions ‘ based upon the principals and aims that he is familiar with.

I have ever been of the sentiment that the great strength of the British Planning System is its allowance for an component of discretion and flexibleness. However, in reflecting on what I have found here, and upon the work of Booth ( 1996 ) that I read earlier in the semester, I accept that it is this really strength that can besides be its failing. It is apparent that it is the values act uponing contrivers, possibly encouraged by this flexibleness, which may finally impact the determinations that they make. Forester ( 1999, cited in Campbell and Marshall 2002 ) puts frontward a instance for this statement by proposing that ‘ethical opinions are at the really Centre of much daily work of practicians ‘ . I have learnt that there are a assortment of grounds for why different edifices and facets of the reinforced environment should be protected. Despite this, I have realised that it is unrealistic to propose that these determinations will non ever be influenced by the personal aims of persons.


I commenced the faculty reflecting on my hesitancy of the significance that theoreticians can present to the practical side of planning. However, I realised that my practical experiences are evidently non brooding of be aftering as a whole and it has been a utile exercising to reflect upon the lessons that I learnt in pattern. My anterior consideration of the public involvement has been well altered by analyzing the literature of different theoreticians. I have been able to construct upon my limited cognition of three aims that contrivers may meet in pattern by discoursing the theoretical background of the subjects.

I remain diffident if many of the theories and ideals that I have encountered in the faculty can realistically be transferred into the assorted twenty-four hours to twenty-four hours responsibilities of be aftering sections. However, I acknowledge that contrivers can take benefit from analyzing be aftering theory and my apprehension of non merely these two subjects but pattern and theory by and large has doubtless developed throughout the faculty. Friedmann ( 2003 ) suggests that analyzing theory is indispensable to the verve and continued relevancy of the profession, and in reflecting as an aspiring practician, I can finally back up this sentiment.


  • Archibugi, F. ( 2007 ) Planing theory: from the political argument to the methodological Reconstruction. Milan: Springer Verlag
  • Booth, P. ( 1996 ) Controling Development, chapter 6 ( ‘Flexibility, discretion and answerability ‘ ) London, UCL Press
  • Campbell, H. and Marshall, R. ( 2002 ) ‘Utilitarianism ‘s bad breath? A re-evaluation of the public involvement justification for be aftering. Planing Theory 1 ( 2 ) : 163-187.
  • Friedmann, J. ( 2003 ) ‘Why make Planing Theory? ‘ Planing Theory 2 ( 1 ) : 7-10.
  • Institute of Historic Building Conservation ( 2007 ) , The Heritage White Paper, IHBC Members Consultation.
  • Larkham, P. ( 1996 ) Conservation and the City. London: Routeledge.
  • Larkham, P ( 1999 ) ‘Preservation, preservation and heritage: development constructs and applications ‘ , in Cullingworth, B. ( explosive detection systems ) British Planning: 50 old ages of urban and regional policy, Athlone Press
  • Miles, M. ( 2008 ) ‘Planning and Conflict ‘ , in Hall, T. , Hubbard, P. And Short, J.R. ( explosive detection systems ) The Sage Companion to the City. London Sage: 318-333
  • Peach, C. and Gale, R. ( 2005 ) ‘Muslims, Hindus and Sikhs in the new spiritual landscape of England ‘ . The Geographical Review 93 ( 4 ) : 469-490.
  • Sharp, T. ( 1945 ) Town Planning Revised edition. Harmondsworth, Penguin: 12-76

Website Linkss

  • BBC News. ( 2009 ) ‘Switzerland ballots on minarets ban ‘ , BBC News hypertext transfer protocol: // ( Accessed 04/12/2009 ) Planning Resource. ( 2003 ) ‘ Islamic group protests after mosque rebuff ‘
  • Planing Resource. hypertext transfer protocol: // ( Accessed 03/12/2009 )