Academic journal article The Town Planning Review

Improving the Effectiveness of Scottish Structure Planning on Urban Regeneration

Academic journal article The Town Planning Review

Improving the Effectiveness of Scottish Structure Planning on Urban Regeneration

Article excerpt

The need to regenerate many urban areas is one of the most pressing concerns facing all tiers of government in Scotland. Given that regeneration has a physical dimension, planning could be expected to have an important part in this process. Indeed national guidance, issued by the Scottish Executive, sets out the role that planning is expected to play. This paper considers how the seven structure plans covering Scotland's urban areas have dealt with regeneration. The analysis indicates that some plans see planning as having a very limited role while others are far more proactive. The paper then makes a number of recommendations intended to enable structure plans to improve their effectiveness in regenerating Scotland's urban areas. This is to be done within the context of improved guidance from the Scottish Executive in the form of an Urban Regeneration National Planning Policy Guideline and associated Planning Advice Note.

Public policy in the United Kingdom has had, for many years, a strong emphasis upon trying to overcome inequality (Ambrose, 1994, 147). This has produced a host of sectoral programmes-for example, public housing policies to address the poor housing conditions created by, among other things, laissez faire capitalism in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries; regional policy which from the 1930s tried to address disparities in employment opportunities; and a range of policies with broader social aims. Over time, the collective name for the issues policy was trying to tackle has changed. In the 1970s and 1980s the nexus of problems was described as multiple deprivation. There was then talk about regeneration, implying 'a possibility of "self renewal" ' (Healey, 1997, 105), particularly during the Thatcher era when attention focused more upon physical solutions to inequality. More recently the terminology has become less passive so that now policy is trying to tackle social exclusion, the implication being that there are forces at work which actively stop some members of society taking advantage of available opportunities. Yet, while the terminology, and specific policies, may change, there has tended to be one constant-the emphasis upon spatial targeting. This has involved selecting areas, generally because of the above average incidence of indicators of, for example, unemployment, poor housing conditions or even the amount of derelict land. Within these areas specific interventionist policies have then been implemented, often involving additional resources as with the Urban Programme, or spatially specific legislation as with much housing policy. There is a lengthy list of these spatial initiatives (Oatley, 1998a, 24). The justification for such targeting is that problems are geographically concentrated. Focusing action upon specific areas therefore allows policy to be more effective and e. cient, despite evidence to the contrary (Kitchen, 1997; Robson et al., 1994, 54).

Given this strong spatial emphasis one would expect that land use planning would play a role in combating what is now termed social exclusion. Clearly planning cannot be expected to solve all of the problems that result in exclusion, given its economic, financial and social dimensions. However, planning could be expected to have a key role in addressing the physical and spatial aspects of exclusion (Allmendinger and Watkins, 2001). Often this does not seem to have been the case. When talking about the relationship between development plans and regeneration Kitchen and Whitney (2001) claim that the literature falls into two categories. There are those works which ignore development plans (Robson et al., 1994; Rydin, 1998). There is then a body of work which presents the relationship in negative terms (Deakin and Edwards, 1993) or sees development planning, especially structure plans, as being irrelevant, as it has been superseded by agencies and initiatives that have far more to offer (Thomas, 1999, 223; Wannop, 1995, 130). …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.