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Sustainable Spatial Policy Mike Raco Department of Geography Kings College London.

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Presentation on theme: "Sustainable Spatial Policy Mike Raco Department of Geography Kings College London."— Presentation transcript:

1 Sustainable Spatial Policy Mike Raco Department of Geography Kings College London


3 Introduction The role of spatial policy in underpinning economic competitiveness and social cohesion Identifying priorities Spatial policy and the meta-narrative of sustainability A new mode/type of spatial policy?

4 Table 1: EU Gini index scores CountryGini index scoreCountryGini Index score Austria 31Latvia 32.0 Belgium 28.7Lithuania 34.0 Czech Republic 25.4Netherlands 32.6 Denmark 24.7 Poland 31.6 Estonia 37 Portugal 35.6 Finland 25.6 Slovakia 26.3 France 32.7 Slovenia 28.4 Germany 30.0 Spain 32.5 Greece 35.4 Sweden 25.0 Hungary 24.4 UNITED KINGDOM36.8 Ireland 35.9 Cyprus, Luxembourg, Malta No data Italy 27.3



7 The Context Globalisation and Londons global city status Backing winners versus supporting laggards Housing shortages Economic competitiveness versus social cohesion A new spatial policy is a coming together of different geographical imaginations about how spaces and places interact The role that spatial planning can play in delivering on policy objectives

8 The Context of Expansion The Barker Review (2004) 3m new homes (at least) in next 20 years 240,000 homes/year 147,082 homes constructed in 2006 Growth Areas Regeneration of the Thames Gateway Foundation of eco-towns and healthy towns


10 Key Questions How do you build new places? Can you make a place? What capacities are there to ensure that development is delivered? Do places evolve (organically) or can they be made by policy? How do you change the behaviour of individuals? Whose responsibility should it be to make growth smart?

11 Historical Lessons Very difficult to plan or engineer ideal towns/cities How do you control the movement of people, jobs, homes etc in a co-ordinated way? History of New Towns one of social inequality Who decides what constitutes balance? Always a very politically-loaded term What should be the relationships between ideals and practice?

12 Definitions 3 pillars of sustainability: Economic justice and efficiency Environmental protection More democratic forms of development politics

13 Thinking About Sustainability A conservative notion (i.e. to sustain or conserve what we already have)? A radical notion (i.e. a transformative idea)? Sustainability as a meta-narrative (Meadowcroft, 2000) Definitions depend on context and power relations

14 Sustainability agendas European frameworks (e.g. A Sustainable Europe for a Better World: a European Union Strategy for Sustainable Development ) Sustainable Communities Plan (2003) Planning Policy Statement 1: Delivering Sustainable Development (2005) Planning Policy Statement 3: Housing (2005)

15 Governments definition of a Sustainable Community sustainable communities are places where people want to live and work now and in the future. They meet the diverse needs of existing and future residents, are sensitive to their environment, and contribute to a high quality of life




19 Sustainable Urban Development Focus increasingly on the re-use of brownfield land Also a focus on compact cities Emphasis on building mixed and balanced communities and places Creating the sustainable city

20 Sustainable Urban Development Focus on place-making: Housing Transport Energy efficiency Resource use Community infrastructure

21 A New Mode of Spatial Policy? Difficult to identify a spatial policy Spatial policy as an active social policy A new emphasis on sustaining growth by providing the means of social consumption Focus on creating the conditions for growth and creating competitive places A new politics of spatial development and an inversion of old priorities

22 The aim of the SC Plan is to: accommodate the economic success of London and the wider South East and ensure that the international competitiveness of the region is sustained, for the benefit of the region and the whole country.

23 Conclusions Living in interesting times A new role for spatial policy and spatial planning Connecting up of diverse discourses – sustainability, community, globalisation, competitiveness, cohesion etc. New thinking about the geographies of economic development

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