Planning as a 'Market Maker'

27 November by


In a new report published by the RTPI entitled; Planning as ‘market maker’: How planning is used to stimulate development in Germany, France and The Netherlands, it is argued that the three countries have successfully tackled housing and regeneration by using planning skills and tools to stimulate rather than just regulate development.

It explores what planning in the UK can learn from this overseas experience, stating that upfront infrastructure investment can be used to shape future development and build support for urban extensions. 

The report says that "only strong planning institutions, where planning professionals are well resourced, empowered, and both culturally and societally supported can routinely deliver" the best outcomes for places".

"By contrast in the UK planning is routinely held accountable for our poor or limited development outcomes," the report said.

Michael Harris, head of research at the RTPI, said that the UK is not making enough use of these tactics, which "are essential to building the kind of places with access to jobs, good infrastructure and green spaces, at the kind of scale and density required to tackle the UK’s pressing housing crisis."

He added that "planning is so much more than just about regulating the use of land, but somehow this has become the dominant thinking here and has led to the perception that planning is anti-growth, cumbersome and bureaucratic".

European cities which have charged planning by engaging the market and providing responses to market failures have seen "startling results in terms of development quality, laying the foundations for sustainable, positive economic outcomes".

Planning as ‘market maker’: How planning is used to stimulate development in Germany, France and The Netherlands is available here.