The growth prerogative: how does an objective of economic growth influence local planning policy?

Longlands, Sarah L.J. (2016) The growth prerogative: how does an objective of economic growth influence local planning policy? PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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This research aimed to explore the privileging of growth and its influence on planning in England. The research examined two contrasting case studies: Middlesbrough Borough Council and Cambridge City Council. The analysis of growth privileging is rooted within a constructionist ontology which argues that planning is about the way in which people construct value relative to the function of land. This perspective enables the research to position growth privileging as a social construction; a particular mental frame for understanding and analyzing place based challenges and an approach which has been increasingly absorbed by the UK planning community.

Through interviews with a range of planning actors, the first part of the research examined the state of planning in the current political and economic context and the influence that a privileging of growth has on planning. The second part of the research investigated the merits and feasibility of the capabilities approach as an alternative mental frame for planning, an approach developed through the work of Amartya Sen and Martha Nussbaum.

The research results disaggregate the concept of economic growth, based on the responses of interviewees and conclude that it is characterized by homogeneity. Growth is valued, not only because of its economic role, for example, supporting jobs and income but its potential in creating diversity, enriching culture and precipitating transformative change. Pursuing growth as an objective has a range of influences upon planning. In particular, it supports a utilitarian framework for decision-making which values spatial decisions on their ability to support aggregate economic growth.

The research demonstrates the feasibility and merits of the capabilities approach as a means with which to better understand the relationship between planning and human flourishing. Based on this analysis, the research proposes that the capabilities approach can provide an alternative ‘mental frame’ for planning which privileges human flourishing as the primary objective or ‘final end’ instead of economic growth.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Additional Information: Due to copyright restrictions the full text of this thesis cannot be made available online. Access to the printed version is available.
Keywords: Economic growth, growth, planning, human capabilities, growth privileging, utilitarian.
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
J Political Science > JS Local government Municipal government
Colleges/Schools: College of Social Sciences > School of Social and Political Sciences > Urban Studies
Funder's Name: Economic & Social Research Council (ESRC)
Supervisor's Name: Kintrea, Professor Keith
Date of Award: 2016
Depositing User: Dr Sarah L J Longlands
Unique ID: glathesis:2016-7327
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 27 May 2016 08:45
Last Modified: 27 Jun 2016 12:58

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