A ‘Planning Revolution’ or an ‘Attack on Planning’ in England: Democratisation, Digitisation and Digitalisation

Philip Boland*, Abigail Durrant, Justin McHenry, Stephen McKay, Alexander Wilson

*Corresponding author for this work

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This article focuses on the planning-technology nexus. Recently, scholars have begun to explore the potential of digital technology in overcoming the long-standing limitations of a lack of public engagement and citizen empowerment in the planning process. In England, White Paper to democratise, digitise, and digitalise the planning system. In this article, we unpack and interrogate whether these radical reforms constitute a ‘planning revolution’ or an ‘attack on planning’; to do so, we focus on two important issues: democratic deficit, and digital divide. More broadly, we examine expressed value statements about how developments in digitisation and digitalisation may meet the Government’s desire to make the planning process more inclusive (i.e. equitable, fair, just) by empowering greater numbers of ordinary people to engage with and, more importantly, influence planning decisions that affect the future of their local communities. Our motivation in this agenda- setting article is to reflect on these contemporaneous perspectives on the English planning landscape, and more broadly critically reflect on the values and political rhetoric expressed in embracing the latest technological innovations in process and practice, and how these intersect with societal concerns.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to) 155-172
Number of pages22
JournalInternational Planning Studies
Issue number2
Early online date27 Sep 2021
Publication statusPublished - 01 Apr 2022


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