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Reimer M.,ILS Research Institute for Urban and Regional Development
Sustainability (Switzerland) | Year: 2013

This paper aims to critically review current discussions on the "reinvention" of spatial planning, postulating an all-encompassing and unproblematic shift towards new rationales, scopes, actors and instruments in planning practice. Buzzwords are, among others, "governance", "collaborative planning" and the "communicative turn". To overcome the somehow normative bias of these terms, the term "planning culture" is introduced to define a complex, multi-dimensional and dynamic institutional matrix combining formal and informal institutional patterns. Used in an analytical sense, it can help to better understand institutional change in spatial planning. Referring to recent conceptual debates about institutional transformation, the paper presents a six-stage model for institutional change in spatial planning, supporting it with an example from the Cologne/Bonn metropolitan region in Germany. The latter serves as an example for illustrating the institutional dynamics, but also the rigidities of planning cultural change. The paper concludes that a more thorough, "fine-grained" and empirically-grounded investigation of institutional transformation in spatial planning is necessary. © 2013 by the authors; licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.

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