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In this chapter, human organisation of the built and natural environment is outlined, from ancient times up until the present day. Approaches to planning from around the world are used to aid understanding of where we are today, and help to highlight changes in the urban form of towns and cities in the UK. The main focus then turns to planning in the ‘modern’ post-1947 era up to the present day, highlighting the principal influences and issues. Planning in the ‘public interest’ is considered in the context of changing market forces and political direction. The chapter concludes by reflecting on the tensions inherent within the planning system currently operating in the UK.

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This chapter explores the delivery of projects. The focus is on both governance and funding, together with a consideration of the barriers to implementation and theory associated with this. From a governance perspective, approaches such as Urban Development Corporations and Urban Regeneration Companies are introduced, together with smaller scale models such as Enterprise Zones and Business Improvement Districts. Finance is briefly discussed via, for example, Tax Increment Financing.

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The governance of planning in the UK is examined in this chapter. The hierarchy of spatial scales at which planning operates, from the international and national tiers down to district and neighbourhood level, is set out as a basis for understanding how planning decisions are made. We summarise the agencies of planning, their role in planning decision making and the dimensions of integration between parties, alongside an exploration of changes in approach to public involvement in the process. The crucial role of negotiation is highlighted, with a particular focus on the role of the planner in this process.

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This chapter is concerned with the decision-making space: how are decisions made? Through what process? And based on what legal construct? We explore how policy is used in decision making, as well as reviewing the different ways in which applications and decisions are made and managed. The chapter looks at the different forms of decision making, including permitted development, prior approval and permission in principle, as well as full, outline and reserve matters approaches. We also look at the wider aspects of practice, including conditions, planning gain, appeals and enforcement.

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This chapter introduces the role of plans and policy in the making and management of place and space. It refers to some of the key components of a typical plan, and outlines some key plan-making principles, such as the need for an effective evidence base and proactive community and stakeholder involvement. The chapter introduces the concept of the UK’s plan-led system and the role of the statutory development plan. It introduces key policy goals and outlines some of the plan-making activities that planners need to engage with. It identifies the need for plans to be sustainable, and outlines how planners seek to ensure different social economic and environmental goals are being met.

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The fully updated Short Guide to Town and Country Planning provides an concise introductory overview of the practice of planning for those with little or no prior knowledge. This second edition considers who planners are and what they do, showing how planning - as an art, science and system - has evolved as an organised action of the state.

The book discusses the planning system, processes, legal constructs and approaches, taking into account the recent regulatory changes within the UK nations. Restructured to improve readability, it explores the interactions of government and society with the planning system, and the relationship between urban planning, the environment, and placemaking. It encourages the reader to adopt a reflective and inquisitive outlook, and features:

• case study boxes;

• further reading and resources;

• guidance on the recent policy and system updates, including those through devolution.

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This opening chapter provides an overview of what planning seeks to achieve and the type of outcomes that can be achieved if it is practised successfully. It presents some of the global challenges that planners are having to respond to, such as those relating to climate change, urbanisation, environmental degradation, and deteriorating health and wellbeing. The chapter presents some of the goals and principles that are being advanced for planning today, and exposes some of the tensions that can arise when planning for the ‘public good’. The planning profession is also introduced, with the chapter providing some insight about the education and training of planners and the knowledge, skills and behaviours they are expected to have.

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There was no discrete ‘built capital’ in Bourdieu’s triad of economy–society–culture. But those base capitals become objectified or embodied in material things or human capacities. Modern economies, for example, require an infrastructure of fixed and mobile objects: places of economic production, means of connectivity and transportation, and other apparatus, to enable that production. Likewise, society is rooted in a material world: places of home, of private and public dwelling, of interaction and the formation of social bonds, which host the development of meaning and shared culture. It was noted in Chapter 1 that later extensions of Bourdieu’s thinking transformed his fundamental capitals into public goods and community resources (Coleman, 1998), tying them to particular places and therefore arriving at the notion of ‘place capitals’. Taking this line of logic further, these capitals became ‘assets’ that advance or restrict the economic, social and cultural lives of different places. How places develop will depend on whether they are asset-rich or asset-poor, whether they have the means to get ahead or are more likely to be left behind. Social capital has become a key signifier of place-based development potential but is often, we would argue, invoked as a shorthand for a constellation of linked capitals, material and non-material. A combination of many things – capacities, skills, knowledge and infrastructures – produces that potential, all of which centre on people, what they do individually and collectively, and what resources they have to hand. Emery and Flora (2006) list only one item under ‘built capital’ in their own expansion of Bourdieu’s triad: infrastructure.

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We began this book by articulating the ambition of making future rural places better or at least thinking through the different ways in which those places might become better through actions that respect the unique characteristics and dynamics of place. Our approach to analysing current rural places and place-based interventions has been guided by Bourdieu’s theory of capitals (1986) – and especially by the proposition that social energy, transmutable from economic resources, is at once a source of development opportunity and spatial and social inequalities. More broadly, and like other researchers (for example Castle, 1998; Emery and Flora, 2006; Courtney and Moseley, 2008), we have explored the ‘placing’ and spatial interaction of a broader array of capitals as a basis for unpacking the complex realities of rural places – their materiality, symbolism and socio-economic practices. We have sought to understand how the ‘spatial energy’, rooted in capitals, can be channelled by planning and brought centre stage in the co-production of rural places with communities.

The book has been structured around four capitals that ‘make’ rural places: built, economic, land-based and socio-cultural capital. Our efforts to break these capitals into their constituent parts (a task undertaken in each thematic chapter) illustrates how each is inextricably linked to the others – the built with the economic, land with socio-cultural and so on. There can be no compartmentalising of these capitals; and yet in order to see how the smaller pieces, the assemblages, come together in the whole, it has been necessary to expose the individual parts and map the connections through case studies that hopefully reveal something of the nature of place capitals and also draw attention to the role of planning in its many guises, as a connective tissue that bonds and mobilises such capitals, framing the actions of different groups.

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Within Bourdieu’s (1986) essay on forms of capital, economic capital refers to material assets that are ‘immediately and directly convertible into money and may be institutionalised in the form of property rights’ (Bourdieu 1986, p 242). Economic capital includes all kinds of material resources such as financial resources or resources with exchange value including land and property. However, key to Bourdieu’s analysis was his observation that other forms of capital (social and cultural) can be convertible to economic capital through enabling processes, such as education or social obligations or connections. Moreover, economic capital afforded opportunities for developing or acquiring further stocks of social and cultural capital, providing a positive feedback loop, suggesting that the complex interplay of economic, social and cultural capital could be mutually reinforcing.

Understanding and exploiting this complex interplay between economic capital and other forms of capital has been hugely influential as both an explanation of the differential economic performance of rural places and also for rethinking rural development policy and practice. This implies moving beyond traditional economics to focus on the economic potential of tangible and intangible resources or assets. The variable economic performance of rural regions and localities has been the focus of much debate over the last two decades or more. As recorded by Bryden and Munro (2001), differences in economic development success between rural localities may be explained by the interplay of global and local factors. The external environment of rural regions, for example, is affected by current globalisation processes and by macro-economic conditions.

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