New paper CONCUR WSL Project: Governance arrangements, funding mechanisms and power configurations in current practices of strategic spatial plan implementation

Governance arrangements, funding mechanisms and 

power configurations in current practices of 

strategic spatial plan implementation

  • Eduardo Oliveira and 
  • Anna M. Hersperger 
  • Highlights

    Current strategic spatial plan implementation practices are characterized by governance arrangements, funding and power configurations.
    Negotiations, interest groups involvement and multi-level government cooperation are pivotal governance arrangements in planning practice.
    Private interest groups as developers and retail representatives have been increasingly involved in negotiations during plan implementation.
    The law of the market is unrelenting in current strategic spatial plan implementation practice.
    Spatial governance in contemporary urban regions is increasingly being co-opted into the dominant neoliberal agendas.

    Abstract
    Implementing strategic spatial plans is a complex task. The process involves strategy formation, institutional capacity building, funding mechanism establishment and governance arrangements, which take shape within complex power configurations. Based on empirical evidence gathered by interviewing regional planning experts, this paper focuses on the role of governance arrangements and funding mechanisms in current practices of strategic plan implementation in 14 European urban regions. This investigation was completed bearing in mind power configurations, which shape and frame governance arrangements and funding mechanism in planning practice. A cross-case comparison provides evidence that, among the governance arrangements influencing plan implementation, negotiation and interest groups involvement are pivotal. Negotiation involves private interest groups, such as real estate agencies and environmental non-governmental organizations. The paper shows that in some case studies private interest groups have a substantial bargaining power to negotiate, for example, the development of a new housing settlement or a retail facility, while other groups struggle to safeguard natural areas. It is also during negotiations that plan implementation intentions are prioritized, strategic urban projects are formulated and funding mechanisms are established. The paper demonstrates that to truly grasp plan implementation praxis it is necessary to go beyond multi-actor involvement and inter-scalar government cooperation. It is necessary to scrutinize the funding sources, investigate who wins and who loses while negotiations are happening, and how plan implementation decisions are actually made.
    Open access


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