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Jon Pugh All Planned Out? - The Worldwide Impact of the British Town and Country Planning System
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All Planned Out?
The Worldwide Impact of the British Town and Country Planning System

18 and 19 May 2007

Jonathan Pugh

Jonathan Pugh is a Senior Academic Fellow in Territorial Governance at the Institute for Policy and Practice, Global Urban Research Unit, School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape, Newcastle University. He has produced over forty articles on public participation in planning in the developed and developing world. He is presently giving a series of talks on participatory planning at Harvard, Cornell and other institutions in the United States.

Jonathan is also co-director of the academic network The Space of Democracy and the Democracy of Space which explores the relationship between how we conceive of place and space and democratic theory. (Further details below) The network is co-directed with Chantal Mouffe, Doreen Massey, Francoise Verges, Noortje Marres, and Oliver Moss as co-ordinator

click here for the School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape, University of Newcastle Upon Tyne

School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape, University of Newcastle Upon Tyne, Claremont Tower, NE1 7RU



11.30 to 13.00 on Saturday 19 May 2007

Finding the public in the British planning process

In this session, chaired by Jon, Andrew Calcutt, Nick Hubble, Jules Lubbock, and Cany Ash will discuss how the public relates to planning policies. While government is keen to see "social engagement", and promotes various kinds of public participation in planning, are government policies and the localised decision making processes that surround individual land use applications really democracy in action?

Andrew CalcuttNick HubbleJules LubbockCany Ash

clickAndrew Calcutt, Principal Lecturer, University of East London, editor of Rising East, and author of Arrested Development: pop culture and the erosion of adulthood (1998) - Seeing Through Transparency: the plight of planners without the public

clickNick Hubble, Research Fellow of the Centre for Suburban Studies, Kingston University, Kingston, and author of Suburban Futures (2006) - The Utopian Dialectic of Housing Development

clickJules Lubbock, Professor at the Department of Art History and Theory, University of Essex, architecture critic for the New Statesman, speechwriter to the Prince of Wales, author of The Tyranny of Taste (1995), and Concepts of Self in the Theory and Practice of Architecture and Town-Planning since 1945 (2006) - Can English Planning be Reformed?

clickCany Ash, Partner of Ash Sakula Architects - Empowering the public as a positive force for good design

Finding the public in the British planning process

More to follow shortly...


clickWhat priorities do we want reflected in land use planning?

clickHas the notion of a distinct town and country become unsustainable?

clickCan planners reconcile government policies with where and how people actually want to live?

clickIs it justified to describe policies based on constraining building activity as "planning"?


The Space of Democracy and the Democracy of Space is a series of conversations being developed by Jonathan Pugh, Chantal Mouffe, Francoise Verges, Doreen Massey and Noortje Marres, and an increasing number of academics from various disciplines, in many countries. It is being directed by Jonathan Pugh, with assistance from Oliver Moss, who is the Space of Democracy and Democracy of Space co-ordinator.

These conversations will bring together those who have explored the political aspects of spatial practices, with others who have developed constructivist approaches to democratic theory, particularly those concerned with radical politics. The aim is to bridge a divide not only across these concerns, but to also reflect upon what radical politics means for different generations of academics, across the disciplines, as the spatialisation of politics throws up new challenges.

The re-organisation of spaces of politics is re-shaping our understanding of the concepts of space, democracy and the political themselves. The very meaning of space, democracy and the political is often different, contextual; specific to different locations. This pluralisation in how we think about such basic concepts, so central to our underlying, human forms of life, has massive implications for how we think about the territorial institutions of governance which we engage with on a daily basis. As well as for how we understand distributions of opportunity, responsibility and the emergence of new technologies or social movements, for example.

We are concerned with what "work" the different concepts of space, democracy and the political do, as we encounter with, engage, and transform them through practices:

  • Do they demand that we reject, or celebrate, territorial spaces of democracy, for example?
  • What conceptualisations of spatial practices, politics and the political are strong enough to address the challenges of inequality and inertia?
  • How does critique of, and public engagement through, different geo-political concepts and practices, become transformative, into something positive and progressive?

In order to explore these questions, the interdisciplinary network is presently concentrating upon establishing "nodes" from a core group of around 30 people, working across each of the following disciplines:

  • political philosophy
  • politics
  • planning
  • geography
  • anthropology
  • technology
  • sociology
  • international relations
  • development studies

This core group will eventually take the conversations through the different disciplines via academic workshops, academic journals, public debates, the general media and website interfaces, for example.

Academics involved so far include Tim Ingold, Frank Furedi, Jenny Robinson, David Chandler, Steve Rayner, Joe Smith, Gerry Stoker, Hilary Wainwright, David Howarth, Uma Kothari, Nina Laurie, Scott Lash, John Forester, Patsy Healey, Susan Owens, Susan Fainstein, Susan Christopherson, Deborah Thien, Maarten Hajer, Jean Hillier, Oren Yiftachel, Oliver Marchart, and Yannis Stavrakakis. We are also in discussions with David Featherstone, Nigel Thrift, AbdouMaliq Simone, and David Wood, who have also expressed an interest in participating in this project.

So far conversations are being organised for Harvard, Cornell, California, Newcastle, The Centre for the Study of Democracy, Goldsmiths, the Institute of British Geographers, Royal Geographical Society, and the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences. Support is coming from these institutions, as well as the Economic and Social Research Council, and through the public debating forum, the Great Debate.

click here for The Great Debate

If you are interested in The Space of Democracy and the Democracy of Space, please contact us via e-mail:

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