(January 2010) Abstract

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The spatial planning domain in Denmark has been subjected to important shifts since the early 1990s. Until recently, policy makers framed spatial principles and concepts in national planning reports through different planning processes that led to legally-bound outcomes at the regional and municipal levels. A reform of local government structure and the modification of the Planning Act in Denmark are transforming spatial planning not only in terms of its contents but also to the extent of who takes part on policy development and how actors go about policy implementation. This transformation entails a new logic of spatial intervention that is founded on shifting planning processes and a different governance landscape that includes the participation of new actors in emerging arenas (Healey, 2006, 2007; Hajer & Wagenaar, 2003).

The aim of this research is to understand how spatial planning policy has evolved in Denmark by placing emphasis on policy contents (i.e. spatial policy concepts) and processes (policy-making and outcomes). In other words, the objective is to address how spatial policy and practices evolve, how ideas rise to planning agendas, how they are incorporated into planning policy and how they are framed and re-framed (Salet & Gualini, 2007; Hajer, 2006; Fischer, 2003).

The research project is divided into two major stages. The first stage seeks to understand how this overall transformation in spatial planning has taken place and what it consists of. The main source of evidence is spatial planning policy at the national level covering a 20-year span. The idea is to determine the extent to which national spatial planning policy rationales are consistent as conceptual orientations and institutional practices have come to change. The second stage of the project zooms into the transformation of spatial planning taking place at the regional level. Regional planning as formerly conceived is being replaced by regional development and growth strategies, thereby implying a new way of understanding space. Focusing on North Denmark, this stage aims at analysing how regional spatial development planning is being framed and how actors are going about its implementation (Glasson & Marshall, 2007).

The project takes on a social-constructivist approach, leaving research questions rather open-ended to construct meanings based on interpretation. Sources of evidence include the analysis of policy documentation (i.e. national and regional planning reports) and undertaking unstructured and semi-structured interviews with key policy makers to understand how planning processes are shifting. The project's framework in its first stage is inspired by ideas such as conceptual framing, policy discourse and elements from Healey's institutionalist approach.

 

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Is There a Changing Logic? The Evolution of Spatial Planning Policy in Denmark is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial-No Derivative Works 2.0 UK: England & Wales License.