Over the last 5–10 years, marine spatial planning (MSP) has emerged as a new management regime for national and international waters and has already attracted a substantial body of multi-disciplinary research on its goals and policy processes. This paper argues that this literature has generally lacked deeper reflexive engagement with the emerging system of governance for our seas that has meant that many of MSP’s core concepts, assumptions and institutional arrangements have not been subject rigorous intellectual debate. In an attempt to initiate such an approach, this article explores the relationship between MSP and its land-based cousin, terrestrial spatial planning (TSP). While it is recognized that there are inherent limitations to a comparison of these two systems, it is argued that the tradition of social science debate over the purpose and processes of TSP can be used as a useful stimulus for a more rigorous reflection of such issues as they relate to MSP. The article therefore explores some of the parallels between MSP and TSP and then discusses some of the key intellectual traditions that have shaped TSP and the implications these may have for future marine planning practice. The article concludes with a number of potentially useful new avenues that may form the basis of a critical research agenda for MSP.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law