Cultural Planning and Sustainable Development

Graeme Evans*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterAcademic


A decade or more has elapsed since the notion of cultural planning was distinguished from the more functional planning for arts and culture within amenity, heritage, land use and economic resource planning systems. The ‘cultural turn’ in town and spatial planning which emerged from the 1970s and 1980s has taken longer to establish itself than say in geography (Barnes 2001, Crang 1997), political economy (Soja 1999) and sociology (Chaney 1994). Planning as a hybrid practice has adopted culture - at least partially - to better inform more sustainable approaches to scarce land use and amenity needs and to respond to diversity and planning cultures. On the other hand it has also rediscovered culture in order to address aspirations and visions of city planning itself as a ‘work of art’ (Boyer 1988, Munro 1967, Talen and Ellis 2004). Different approaches and rationales for cultural planning have therefore emerged, rather than a single grand theory or conceptual model (see also Bianchini, Chapter 22, this volume). This is in part due to the epistemological and definitional differences evident in these approaches towards ‘culture’ and ‘planning’ and their combination, and in part to cultural politics that views the very idea of planning for culture as inherently instrumental in maintaining cultural and growth hegemonies - both market and state-led. Kunzmann’s aspiration (above) towards creativity in planning also conflates the practice of town planners withcomplex notions of city culture, environment and identity. The notion of the creative city has also extended the cultural planning sphere to the creative industries (‘economy’) and issues of place-making, design quality and sustainability. Place-making - like New Urbanism (CEU 2004) - whilst usefully focusing on the street, urban design, mixed-use, local accessibility, ‘sense of place’ and so on, can also be seen as a rejection or failure of planning in terms of the wider scale and the whole, distributed population (Evans 2010). Everywhere is a ‘place’, not just the valorized spaces which tend to feature in place-making agendas and guidance (APA 2011, Markusen and Gadwa 2010), and which are preoccupied with town centres and regeneration sites (physical, economy) at the expense of the everyday, residential areas and cultural activity (people).
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Ashgate Research Companion to Planning and Culture
EditorsGreg Young, D. Stevenson
Number of pages16
ISBN (Electronic)9781315613390
ISBN (Print)9781317042167, 9781409422242
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2013


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