Academic journal article The Town Planning Review

The European Dimension of British Planning

Academic journal article The Town Planning Review

The European Dimension of British Planning

Article excerpt

The European Dimension of British Planning, Mark Tewdwr-Jones and Richard H. Williams, London, Spon Press, 2001, 190 pp., £19.99 (p/b)

The EU is moving towards `ever closer union', resulting in a growing Europeanisation of national and regional planning systems. Taking the special case of the UK, Mark Tewdwr-Jones and Dick Williams set themselves the difficult task of tracing both real and perceived changes in British planning since the early 1990s. Although formulated as `topics' rather than questions, the cover text promises the tackling of four highly complex research questions-What are British political attitudes to Europeanisation? What are the changing relationships between different levels of government? What are the interdependencies between tiers of governance? And how are British definitions of urban and regional planning changing?

Tewdwr-Jones and Williams knew about the impossibility of conclusively answering any one of these difficult questions within the limits of a 190- page book, so no real attempt is made in The European Dimension of British Planning to provide comprehensive answers. Instead, they take a case study approach, using qualitative document and interview material gathered during a Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions (DETR) research project undertaken in 1996-98 (DETR, 1998). Wary of the methodological diffi- culty of `identifying when influence has occurred, . . . establishing the true direction of causation' and aware that the British definition of planning is `narrow in statute but considerably wider in practice' (p. 11), Tewdwr-Jones and Williams use the first chapter to explain the context of the original research and to provide key defnitions. After that, Part I (The European Context) presents the development of EU regional and spatial policy, summarises the gestation and relevance of the European Spatial Development Perspective (ESDP), develops a typology of formal and informal EU influences on national planning systems, and specifies these European impacts for the particular case of British national and regional planning. Part II (British Planning in Practice) is also primarily descriptive, presenting six local authority case studies from Kent, Northamptonshire, Strathclyde, Mid Glamorgan, Leicester and Gwynedd. In Part III (Changing Agendas and Trajectories), the authors revisit the double question that formed the backdrop of the original DETR researchDHow is British planning a ected by Europe, and how does British planning relate to European initiatives? The concluding section introduces a new, six-fold typology of spatial planning scales into supranational, transnational, national, regional and interregional, cross-border and local planning, and ends with an outline for a new research framework for European spatial planning and governance.

The length and depth of the analysed case studies vary considerably, ranging anywhere from two to 15 pages. In the end a deeper analysis of fewer cases would probably have been preferable. The range of the identified European aspects in the local planning systems also varies, although most are quite predictably linked to Trans-European Network projects and EU Structural Funds (including URBAN and INTERREG). …

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.