Non-Fiction Books:

A Future for Planning

Taking Responsibility for Twenty-First Century Challenges



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A Future for Planning by Michael Harris
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As well as being spatial, planning is necessarily also about the future - and yet time has been relatively neglected in the academic, practice and policy literature on planning. Time, in particular the need for longer-term thinking, is critical to responding effectively to a range of pressing societal challenges from climate change to an ageing population, poor urban health to sustainable economic development. This makes the relative neglect of time not only a matter of theoretical importance but also increasing practical and political significance. A Future for Planning is an accessible, wide-ranging book that considers how planning practice and policy have been constrained by short-termism, as well as by a familiar lack of spatial thinking in policy, in response to major social, economic and environmental challenges. It suggests that failures in planning often represent failures to anticipate and shape the future which go well beyond planning systems and practices, rather our failure to plan for the longer-term relates to wider issues in policy-making and governance. This book traces the rise and fall of long-term planning over the past 80 years or so, but also sets out how planning can take responsibility for twenty-first century challenges. It provides examples of successes and failures of longer-term planning from around the world. In short, the book argues that we need to put time back into planning, and develop forms of planning which serve to promote the sustainability and wellbeing of future generations.

Author Biography

Michael Harris is an independent researcher and writer who has worked across numerous sectors including education, technology, innovation, government, public services and urban planning. Most recently he was Deputy Head of Policy and Research at the UK Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI). This book was inspired by a series of reports published by the RTPI, and the Institute has kindly supported his work on this book. Michael has produced more than a hundred leading reports for organisations, both his own writing and working with some of the most important scholars across many fields. Michael's research interests have included reforming education so it harnesses the latest technologies, how leading businesses and organisations innovate in radical new ways, rethinking how public services can be organised to better serve people's needs and save money, and challenging the closed way in which much government policy is developed. Most recently, motivated by his work at RTPI, he has focused on planning for the most challenging future trends, such as climate change, population growth, economic and technological disruption, and the worldwide collapse in trust in political institutions.
Release date Australia
May 24th, 2019
Country of Publication
United Kingdom
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