The Bartlett School of Planning


Planning systems and planning reform

A forum to discuss, explore and disseminate knowledge and critical perspectives on planning reform.

Building site showing diggers and a concrete foundation being laid

1 April 2024


The cluster aims to bring together researchers within the Bartlett School of Planning at all stages of their academic career along with external partners and provide a forum to discuss, explore and disseminate knowledge and critical perspectives on planning reform. The cluster provides a site of expertise on statutory planning systems, primarily in the UK but where appropriate also in comparative international context, thinking through the practice of regulating development and governance of the built and natural environments, how such systems and practices have developed and changed over time and the proposals and pressures for further change in the future.

Given the explicit links to questions of housing supply and infrastructure provision, it is likely that the immediate future will continue to see concerted efforts to reform the town and country and national infrastructure planning systems as a key foci of state modernisation activity. The ‘housing crisis’ is increasingly linked to the planning system in the UK but as deregulatory reforms fail to resolve it, there appear to be yet ever more calls for planning reform. Less obviously part of public discourse around planning, there are a wide range of other issues such as the climate and biodiversity crises which can and should be linked to planning systems.

As the UK’s largest planning school, the primary aim of this research cluster would be to provide a forum to bring our relevant research and critical scholarship into debate about planning reform agendas. This will not necessarily involve members of the cluster having any one view on planning reforms, but rather taking a common point of the importance of academic evidence and research in informing such debate.

We will host a series of roundtable discussions and public events to facilitate debate on planning reform, drawing on our own research expertise but also drawing on external partners to ensure a wide range of perspectives on the issues as well as supporting further scholarship in relation to statutory planning, particularly research focussed on planning practices, governance of planning systems, and legal perspectives on planning considering both the UK and comparative international contexts.



Professor Ben Clifford, The Bartlett School of Planning
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Professor Nick Gallent, The Bartlett School of Planning
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Dr Janice Morphet, The Bartlett School of Planning
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Dan Durrant, The Bartlett School of Planning
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Dr Jessica Ferm, The Bartlett School of Planning
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Dr Lucy Natarajan, The Bartlett School of Planning
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William Walton, The Bartlett School of Planning
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Oliver Carr, The Bartlett School of Planning
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Key forthcoming activities for our cluster will include hosting a series of roundtable discussion events including academics and professionals to consider the current issues and debates in relation to UK planning systems; hosting a major public event on planning reform, aiming at bringing together relevant BSP academics with a broad audience; coordinating responses to any significant government consultations or select committee inquiries on planning reform in which we provide research-informed, evidentially-led commentary; an international academic symposium bringing together scholars who look specifically at planning system reform to consider these issues in comparative perspective and reflect on broader theoretical explanations and abstractions which help understanding.

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Photo by Ben Clifford