APL Banner

Planning and Environmental Dynamics

The Planning and Environmental Dynamics (P&ED) theme builds on Newcastle's position as an internationally-renowned centre for critical research into the theory and practice of spatial planning and environmental management.

The theme investigates both the dynamic context in which governance interactions occur, and the dynamic interactions in terms of conflicts and synergies within and between urban systems and environmental performances themselves.

Within this changing context, this theme focuses on the drivers of these changes: shifting power relations, revised legislation and procedural requirements, altered governance arrangements, changed professional remits and expectations, and the growth of partnership working and consultancy.

The theme looks at the role of planning in managing "change", as a:

  • driver for development and reform, including the formulation of public law and policy and wider governance issues relating to professionals' remit, expertise, cultural understandings, guiding concepts and theories, and;
  • potential constraint and risk to development, due to the alteration of natural cycles and systems and of the interface between human and natural landscapes as a result of human-induced activities and pressures. This includes the consideration of direct and indirect on a range of environmental receptors (including landscape), ecosystems (including marine environments), as well as cumulative and synergistic impacts such as climate change.

This theme is interested in the contexts of the interactions occurring within planning and environmental management, the interactions themselves, and the substance of these interactions.

Our work has been informed through a wide range of research projects in the UK, Europe and beyond to:

  • improve the evidence-base that informs territorial governance and spatial planning practices;
  • improve our awareness and understanding of how the environment, in terms of its assets, resources and services, responds and reacts to change through ex-ante and anticipatory environmental assessment;
  • improve the way in which the environment is integrated and mainstreamed into planning for sustainability and informs policy, to optimise the potential for synergies in changing environmental dynamics and co-benefits for the environment and/or human quality of life;
  • promote theoretical ideas, concepts and methodologies for analysing such practices through a focus on institutional capacity and institutional transformation in urban and regional governance initiatives, and where necessary, a reform or review of required approaches, skills and knowledge.

Key continuing questions for this theme are thus:

  • How do the agencies associated with contemporary governance practice conceptualise ever-changing policy issues and questions and intervene in attempts to shape place and space?
  • What roles do different stakeholders and their networks play in such work?
  • What practices, arenas and processes, both formal and informal, may be involved?