Key Concepts in Planning


Gavin Parker & Joe Doak

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  • Key Concepts in Human Geography

    The Key Concepts in Human Geography series is intended to provide a set of companion texts for the core fields of the discipline. To date, students and academics have been relatively poorly served with regard to detailed discussions of the key concepts that geographers use to think about and understand the world. Dictionary entries are usually terse and restricted in their depth of explanation. Student textbooks tend to provide broad overviews of particular topics or the philosophy of Human Geography, but rarely provide a detailed overview of particular concepts, their premises, development over time and empirical use. Research monographs most often focus on particular issues and a limited number of concepts at a very advanced level, so do not offer an expansive and accessible overview of the variety of concepts in use within a subdiscipline.

    The Key Concepts in Human Geography series seeks to fill this gap, providing detailed description and discussion of the concepts that are at the heart of theoretical and empirical research in contemporary Human Geography. Each book consists of an introductory chapter that outlines the major conceptual developments over time along with approximately twenty-five entries on the core concepts that constitute the theoretical toolkit of geographers working within a specific subdiscipline. Each entry provides a detailed explanation of the concept, outlining contested definitions and approaches, the evolution of how the concept has been used to understand particular geographic phenomena, and suggested further reading. In so doing, each book constitutes an invaluable companion guide to geographers grappling with how to research, understand and explain the world we inhabit.

    RobKitchin, Series Editor


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    For Sandra, Gemma, Becky and Alex: the past, present and future flows through you.

    About the Authors

    Gavin Parker is Professor of Planning Studies at the University of Reading, UK.

    Joe Doak is Senior Lecturer in Urban Planning and Development at the University of Reading, UK.


    Thanks to Sarah-Jane Boyd and Katherine Haw at Sage for their patience, and to Lotika Singha for her tolerant copy editing. We would also like to thank our colleagues and students at the University of Reading for their support in writing this book. Meiko and Mandy suffered and supported us in getting this produced amongst the interstices of life.

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    Useful Websites
    ACSP – Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning:
    AESOP – Association of European Schools of Planning:
    DCLG – the Department for Communities and Local Government: This is the UK (England) government department responsible for planning.
    Egan review: The 2004 report on skills for sustainable communities.
    English Heritage: (see web pages on Conservation Areas)
    RTPI – Royal Town Planning Institute, the professional institute for town planning. The website includes a range of information about planning, planning education and practice:
    RUDI – Resource for Urban Design Information:
    TCPA – Town and Country Planning Association, a campaigning organisation aiming to inform planning practice:

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