Monitoring spatial planning policies: towards an analytical, adaptive, and spatial approach to a ‘wicked problem’
This paper considers the complex issue of how to monitor spatial planning policies. Unlike some forms of spatial policy intervention (eg, area-based urban policy), spatial planning is not time or space bound and is therefore more difficult to assess. Furthermore, it is imbued with a variety of normative and political complexities which frustrate attempts to understand whether or not it is ‘working’. Therefore, we suggest an alternative approach to monitoring what is in many ways a ‘wicked problem’. The paper begins with an overview of past and present approaches to policy monitoring before moving on to consider the nature of spatial planning and the use of indicators as monitoring tools. Strategic indicator bundles are then explained with reference to practitioner input. The twin issues of spatial context and spatial flows are discussed before we reflect upon the implications of such an approach for monitoring spatial planning policy in practice. Keywords: spatial planning, policy, monitoring, evaluation, wicked problem
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