Implementation in the planning process: A case study of Strathclyde Park

Prior, Alan Alfred (1985) Implementation in the planning process: A case study of Strathclyde Park. MLitt(R) thesis, University of Glasgow.

Full text available as:
[thumbnail of 10646082.pdf] PDF
Download (22MB)
Printed Thesis Information:


There has been a renewed emphasis in town and regional planning in recent years on implementation and "getting things done". This has arisen partly as a consequence of (i) sociological critiques of the effects of planning decisions in the 1960's and 1970's, and (ii) the reduced status for the activity and profession of town planning in the context of a political-economic milieu which restricts public spending programmes and emphasises a market economy approach to the distribution of goods and services (including the development of land). Although implementation has become an "idea in good currency", there is little general agreement among theorists and practitioners of policy planning as to what implementation involves, or its role in decision-making processes. Chapter I identifies and discusses a wide range of interpretations and definitions based on different conceptualisations of planning and of the relationship of planning to action. The burden of recent research and practice focusses on the "pathological" nature of implementing policies and plans, on improvements to policy design, and on management strategies, as central to improving the prospects for "successful" implementation. Little attention has been given to pluralist/structuralist conceptions, and the role of key individuals, emphasising the politics of decision-making and the dynamics of competing interests and value-systems in which planned action is shaped, modified, and occassionally subverted. Chapters II to IX provide an in-depth, historical analysis of a major, long-running development project in west central Scotland. They seek to identify the detailed processes of bargaining and negotiation in the evolution and implementation of the project in relation to (a) the power relationships between, and patterns of influence brought to bear by, participating individuals and organisations; (b) the changing context for action provided by wider policies in regional development planning, and in planning for leisure and recreation, over the post-war period; (c) the effects of combinations of circumstance on the course of implementation, and on the scope for action and manoeuvre as perceived by participants. The evolution and development of Strathclyde Park, in the middle Clyde valley was, at the time of its construction, one of the largest and most significant physical planning projects in Scotland. The development history of the park is interwoven with the history of post-war physical and economic planning in Scotland, from the early regional plans, through the high growth/low inflation 1960's and low growth/ high inflation 1970's, to the severe economic environment of the 1980's. This changing context for action, and the behaviour of participating interests, significantly influenced the course of implementation of the park idea. The final chapter concludes with a reformulation of the main characteristics of public planning processes, and considers current trends in British planning practice, particularly the pursuit of "effective" planning and the search for new styles, addressed to the current political-economic context for action. It may be a misconception of the implementation process to judge the effectiveness of planned action by the extent to which stated objectives and intentions are realised. A more sophisticated method of evaluating the outcomes of planning efforts is required which takes account of the complex environments in which planning is pursued. In research and education, there is a need for a greater understanding of (a) the political nature of implementing public policies; (b) the organisational and resource requirements of planning processes; (c) the implications of both for how decision-makers approach the planning task, in particular how they address the inherent problems of future uncertainties.

Item Type: Thesis (MLitt(R))
Qualification Level: Masters
Keywords: Urban planning.
Colleges/Schools: College of Social Sciences
Supervisor's Name: Forbes, Jean
Date of Award: 1985
Depositing User: Enlighten Team
Unique ID: glathesis:1985-72265
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 24 May 2019 15:12
Last Modified: 06 Jul 2022 09:47
Thesis DOI: 10.5525/gla.thesis.72265

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item


Downloads per month over past year