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About this book

This is a wide-ranging and internationally-focussed introduction to planning for the urban landscape. It provides an up-to-date account of planning, reflecting throughout on the need for sustainable, efficient and equitable solutions to planning problems. Taking account of the sometimes conflicting expectations of markets, citizens, public organizations and planners, it demonstrates the similarities of challenges faced in different national planning systems.

The author traces the historical evolution of planning and urban governance, and explores the range of urban problems and policies likely to be found in almost any city in the developed world. Combining the latest theory in the field with practical insight and numerous illustrative case studies, the author comprehensively addresses issues of economic change and development; retailing and the role of urban centres; housing provision and neighbourhood renewal; urban design and conservation; green and blue infrastructure; and mobility and accessibility.

Assuming no prior knowledge of the subject, this text is the ideal accessible introduction to the planning field, giving equal focus to both theory and practice. Whilst celebrating the work of planners, it also provides essential critical analysis of how key decisions are made and implemented, the benefits and limitations of planning, and ultimately its potential in achieving 'good city form'.

Table of Contents

Introduction

Abstract
As urban areas have grown and become ever more complex systems of interconnected activities, so the unfettered interplay of market forces has proved insufficient to avoid increasing inefficiencies in urban development and form. Without some element of planning, growing cities would probably sprawl ever further into the surrounding countryside and declining cities would see valuable urban land abandoned. Both would result in inefficient patchworks of fragmented urbanism, difficult and expensive to service and inequitable in their impacts on the economies of firms and the life chances of individuals. Environmental degradation and natural resource depletion would go unchecked. Today, across the developed world virtually all governments recognize the importance of urban planning in ensuring efficiency and equity in the use of land and other resources. Planning is seen to support economic growth by ensuring the availability of developable land and by coordinating the provision of infrastructure (highways, utilities, etc.). It also plays a key role in the protection and conservation of the natural, built and historic resources and environments. Furthermore, a well planned urban area contributes to the development of inclusive communities and the opportunity to live in attractive, safe and healthy neighbourhoods (DCLG, 2012).
Chris Couch

Chapter 1. The Evolution of Urban Change and Planning

Abstract
Before considering the nature and purposes of contemporary urban planning it is important to understand the foundations upon which the modern city and modern planning systems have been built. Under-standing this history is important for a number of reasons. First, anyone who is making a claim to be a professional in any subject, including urban planning, might reasonably be expected to know something of the origins and evolution of their own profession. Second, an understanding of history allows the professional planner to learn from the achievements of earlier generations — how places have been created and how the use of space has been mediated — and from their mistakes. Much of urban policy is devised through what is known as ‘incremental adaptation’, that is to say, taking a previous or existing solution and applying it, perhaps in modified form, to some new problem. In order to engage in this form of policy making it is necessary to know and understand the nature of previous rounds of urban planning and design — to know what worked well, why and how it worked and in what circumstances.
Chris Couch

Chapter 2. Governance and the Implementation of Planning

Abstract
Urban planning is essentially a part of the process of governing cities, that is to say, part of the formal institutions and processes through which the state (whether central or local) exercises authority, makes and implements policies to influence or determine the conduct of society. In the vast majority of developed countries government is by democracy, in the sense that the population at large influences and shapes the decisions of government through selecting representatives to make decisions (elections) or directly making decisions (referenda). As discussed in Chapter 1, urban planning emerged as an element of urban government in many western countries around the beginning of the twentieth century. The range and scope of government concerns with urban matters has subsequently evolved and expanded, so that today’s urban planning agenda is vast and complex with many overlapping and potentially competing objectives.
Chris Couch

Chapter 3. Sustainable Development and the Goals of Planning

Abstract
This chapter starts with some consideration of the nature of various threats to the environment, including: population change; land use change, urbanization and urban sprawl; global warming, climate change and urban pollution; and natural resource depletion. This is followed by a discussion of key ideas in sustainable development, then a more specific focus on sustainable urban development, including the policies for energy, water, waste and conservation of nature. Case studies from Copenhagen and Freiburg illustrate contemporary planning practice with regard to climate change adaptation and sustainable urban development respectively. These are then followed by some concluding discussion.
Chris Couch

Chapter 4. Economic Change, Development and Urban Planning

Abstract
There are various possible goals for urban planning with regard to local economic activity. These might include a desire to increase output per capita, to correct a skewed or unbalanced economic structure, to increase economic activity rates, to improve wage levels or tackle high unemployment. Other reasons might include underused social infrastructure or concern about the geographical balance of economic performance or contribution between regions. Which of these becomes the focus of planned intervention will be determined by the political imperatives of the public authorities concerned. But urban planning also has to deal with the social and environmental costs, the externalities, of economic development and has a responsibility to adopt the precautionary principle in making decisions about the nature and scale of economic development that should be permitted in any particular location.
Chris Couch

Chapter 5. Retailing, Central Areas and Urban Planning

Abstract
This chapter discusses trends in retailing and changes in the economic and cultural functions of town and city centres, and planning responses to the issues that arise from these changes. The discussion considers the evolving pattern of retailing, the revitalization of town and city centres, the control of retail and commercial development, and the new economy of urban centres. It is supported by case studies drawn from Liverpool, Bristol, London and Paris.
Chris Couch

Chapter 6. Housing and Neighbourhood Issues in Urban Planning

Abstract
This chapter first considers the aims of housing policy and the scope for urban planning to intervene in the housing system. The first part of the chapter examines population trends and their relationship with household formation and housing requirements before going on to consider the provision of housing: what should be built and where should it be built? This is followed by two case studies that illustrate the planning and development of housing in different situations: new towns in China and a large new urban extension in the Netherlands. Following this, the chapter goes on to discuss issues around housing obsolescence and neighbourhood renewal before looking at two further case studies of area regeneration: housing refurbishment in an inner urban neighbourhood and remodelling an outworn peripheral social housing estate.
Chris Couch

Chapter 7. Placemaking: Urban Design and Conservation in Urban Planning

Abstract
Through the Leipzig Treaty (2007) the European Union acknowledges the importance of high quality public spaces, urban landscapes and architecture in the living conditions of urban populations, as well as their role in attracting knowledge industry businesses, a qualified and creative workforce and tourism. The treaty argues for the creation of a ‘baukultur’ in European cities. ‘Baukultur is to be understood … as the sum of all the cultural, economic, technological, social and ecological aspects influencing the quality and process of planning and construction’ (CEC, 2007, p. 3). The UK Government also attaches great importance to the design of towns and cities, seeing good design as a key aspect of sustainable development and indivisible from good planning (National Planning Policy Framework, paras 56–57).
Chris Couch

Chapter 8. Mobility, Accessibility and Urban Planning

Abstract
There is a symbiotic relationship between land use and transportation. Traffic is generated and journeys are made in relation to the nature and disposition of land uses. That is to say, different land uses generate and attract different amounts and types of traffic. This in turn generates pressure for investment in transport infrastructure and systems: for short journeys — footpaths and cycle routes; for longer journeys — roads, parking facilities and public transport. On the other hand, investment in transport generates demand for land use change and development at accessible locations that can take advantage of the infrastructure and systems provided, for example near motorway junctions, airports, railway stations and on bus routes.
Chris Couch

Chapter 9. Conclusions: A Future for Urban Planning

Abstract
Modern town planning emerged around the beginning of the twentieth century as various countries began to establish a legal basis for intervention. This led to the founding of professional organizations, academic programmes and a growing body of literature and professional discourse. Initially the majority of planners were architects, surveyors or civil engineers by original training, although it took a scientist, Patrick Geddes, to establish the basic tenets of planning method: ‘survey — analysis — plan’ (Geddes, 1915). In that era planning was principally concerned with land use and the physical structure of cities. Planners offered two principal and distinct utopias for urban living in the twentieth century: one, perhaps favoured more in the UK, was based upon Ebenezer Howard’s notion of the low density ‘garden city’ bringing together the best of town and country; the other, initially more favoured in continental Europe, was based upon the ideas of Le Corbusier and the modern movement, using technology to build high density, efficient and healthy cities.
Chris Couch
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