The Bartlett School of Planning


Planning in an Age of Consumers

Town Planning Review

3 September 2012

Benjamin P Clifford (2012) in 'Town Planning Review' 83(5), pp. 553-574

The rise of the ‘customer’ concept within public services has been a hallmark of ‘New Public Management’ style reforms seen widely since the 1990s.  As local authority employees, planners in Great Britain have been impacted by this but, drawing on extensive empirical evidence, the author finds that planners are redefining the customer concept as they embed it in practice in ways which are far removed from the traditional model of the ‘sovereign customer’.  In doing so, planners draw on older conceptions of planning serving society which form a key part of their professional identity, resulting in a weakening of the customer concept.

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