Presentation on theme: "Infrastructure and spatial planning - Analysis November 2009."— Presentation transcript:
Infrastructure and spatial planning - Analysis November 2009
Contents General understandings Specific features Institutional design (strategies and projects) Imaginaries and state spatial projects European Union dimensions
The big picture Standard theory of two eras, Keynesian to 1980s, and neoliberal since then. Clearly has powerful explanatory force. But always have to look both at geographical and historical specificities and at the specialness of infrastructure.
Special aspects of infrastructure Special features brought out by range of theorists, e.g. Harvey and Helm. Capitalism finds infrastructure difficult, but needs it; neoliberal capitalism finds especially difficult. This is for old reasons – big and risky, infrastructure is spatially and temporally difficult. Helm justifies his infrastructure programme from productivity or factors of production perspective – UK falls behind on this analysis.
Specific features 1 Infrastructure moments – big forces come through variably in each country, e.g on rail systems, or aviation, or energy arrangements. So although some tendency for an infrastructuralist moment to come up in every European case in recent years, takes different forms, and intensities, depending on sectors. In UK the moment was late 1990s to 2010 but especially c 2005-2008.
Specific features 2 Geographies have powerful influence – obvious, but useful to bring out. Geographical concentration index an example – states (and continents) have variably dispersed urbanisation – Australia high, France low. Affects infrastructure needs. Global (and continental) positioning matters – relation to sea (port ranges) or to aviation hubs. Many more examples, and continuously evolving.
Specific features 3 Politics, including the form of neoliberalism in each country, how far contested, and the strength of green movements over decades. The forms of states within which these work, including constitutions (especially federal, unitary etc), party systems and pressure group or lobby politics.
Institutional design How are planning and governing systems set up to deal with infrastructure decisions? Divided simply into two parts, strategies and projects.
Institutional design - strategies Strategies – analysis of national spatial strategies, of national sectoral strategies, and of no strategies systems. Analysis of territorial articulation of systems, mainly interplay of national and regional (did not do work on local level). Strong sectoral variation. Some are typically very localised (waste) – but this is always deliberately framed this way.
Reminder on invisible strategic work Spatial framings are always constructed. UK history - the way this happened with the motorway system – worked up over decades, to implicit plan – versus rail, where Beeching moment was the only plan within long set of gradual reorderings. Or waste, decisions spatially delegated to localities, but with central steers encouraging spatial solutions.
Institutional design - projects Projects – common features from EU membership (EIA etc), and from globalisation and Europeanisation pressures of business – to make more predictable and faster. Concern with project speed and decision certainty correlates mainly with privatisation dynamic in each country. So only UK-England has made root and branch reform. Other countries/regions have made more modest reforms, though of significance. Netherlands unusual in making biggest projects national schemes. France unusual in public debates system of non binding early form.
Institutional design overall End result – Dutch system appears best, though the Dutch are heavily critical. Scotland may move in that direction with experience. Mixed systems of France, Germany and Spain all have strong points, though no easily replicable features. UK-England system could have merit, if run properly, but not much sign that sectoral strategy side will be very advanced in early days. UK-England project side may evolve towards good practices, time will show.
National imaginaries and state spatial projects 1 I still see effective analysis of these features as central to output of research. But far from clear the methods used were up to dealing with this effectively. May be scope for further more carefully designed research later.
UK high level spatial planning The absence of such planning has been a main feature since 1945. Two periods of regional planning have been the exceptions, in the 1960s-70s, and 1990s-2000s. But this regional planning has been only partially linked to planning of major infrastructure
National level thinking This means that the way national spatial change and relationships are implicitly conceptualised and constructed becomes of central importance. Just as locally and regionally, it is clear national decision makers of all kinds do have structuring ideas of territories, however disjointed
National imaginaries and state spatial projects 2 For the moment – each country has an idea of its future, or at least elites do. These are partly spatialised, and inform non spatial policy domains, if unconsciously. Famous UK examples, north south differences, urban and rural, positioning in relation to Europe. This intersects with the state spatial projects (Brenner), which have been towards less equal national treatment across the national territories – most so in UK-England.
The real NPF 2011 South of England has priority. HSR2 abandoned, all London airports to expand. Energy upgrades only for southern areas. Plans for low carbon path abandoned, as incompatible with market led, slimmed state model. Housing growth areas retained in south east, otherwise for local decisions.
Why there will be no (real) UK- England NPF Politically it will always be too difficult. Admission of spatial public investment patterns into the future would be damaging, especially after first year of a parliament. One value of localist rhetoric, this can make the large national and regional decisions less visible.
European and EU dimensions Of increasing importance. Before very recently, was mainly about non spatial aspects (pro privatisation and liberalisation, EIA etc). Now with revision of TEN-T and of TEN-E and other energy arrangements, may well become nearer to some sort of multinational planning model.
TEN-T Ran 1994-2010 as bundle of EU validated projects, presented by states as priorities, tied together at borders. Now proposed that should be more strategic, as necessary to hit other targets (security of supply, low carbon). Too early still to say, but may well start filling some of the strategic gap, especially in central band of Europe (?less so on western fringes like us and Iberia). Example would be better coordination of east- west and north-south freight systems.
TEN-E and energy as a whole 1 Making of new energy infrastructure instrument proposed for 2011, after 2 years work. Relates to third energy package (full liberalisation). Realisation that separation of generation and transmission problematic – stops effective planning.
TEN-E and energy as a whole 2 So – will EU take stronger lead? – already apparent in some regional projects, in Baltic zone, in North Sea (supergrid) and in Mediterranean. Also beyond EU borders. Will be controversial – could threaten power of the liberalised corporations, now the forces in Europe on energy, more than governments. But some states (Nl, Germany) very aware of strategic void created, virtual impossibility of present system delivering on desired goals. Experts like Helm calling for strong EU system for some time, to match the new paradigm.
Overview on analysis Hardly a general theory of infrastructure creating, governing and planning. Russian doll system – planning within the governing within the provisioning. But complexity as always on state theory – interrelations of powers and scales in a liberalised infrastructure landscape. Not surprising that planning stutters or struggles for coherence.