The Bartlett School of Planning


Theory in Planning Research

By Yvonne Rydin

Theory in Planning Research cover

3 June 2021

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  • Comprises a unique focus on the relationship between theory and research within planning studies
  • Comprehensive coverage of a wide range of different theoretical perspectives
  • Offers concise summaries of diverse theoretical approaches relevant to planning studies


Doing research is an essential element of almost all programmes in planning studies as well as related areas such as geography and urban studies, from undergraduate, through Masters to doctoral programmes. While most texts on such research emphasise methodologies, this book is unique in addressing how theoretical frameworks and perspectives can inform research activity. Providing both a concise introduction to a wide range of such theories and detailed engagement with cases of planning research, it provides the reader with the insights necessary to conduct theory-informed research. It offers an understanding of how the choice of a theoretical framework has implications for the focus of the research, the precise research questions addressed and the methodologies that will be most effective in answering those questions. Through practical advice and published examples it will support planning researchers in doing stronger, more widely-applicable research, which answers key questions about planning systems and their role within our societies.


Yvonne Rydin is Professor of Planning, Environment and Public Policy at the Bartlett School of Planning, University College London. She has some forty years’ experience of undertaking research on planning processes across a number of policy domains but with a particular emphasis on environmental and sustainability issues. Her previous books include The Purpose of Planning (2011) and The Future of Planning (2013) as well as Governing for Sustainable Urban Development (2010). She has also been director of research degree programmes at both LSE and UCL and supervised many research students over the years.