Exploring the usefulness of structural-functional approaches to analyse governance of planning systems

Ruth Potts, Karen Vella, Allan Dale, Neil Sipe

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

    Abstract

    Existing planning theories tend to be limited in their analytical scope and often fail to account for the impact of many interactions between the multitudes of stakeholders involved in strategic planning processes. Although many theorists rejected structural–functional approaches from the 1970s, this article argues that many of structural–functional concepts remain relevant and useful to planning practitioners. In fact, structural–functional approaches are highly useful and practical when used as a foundation for systemic analysis of real-world, multi-layered, complex planning systems to support evidence-based governance reform. Such approaches provide a logical and systematic approach to the analysis of the wider governance of strategic planning systems that is grounded in systems theory and complementary to existing theories of complexity and planning. While we do not propose its use as a grand theory of planning, this article discusses how structural–functional concepts and approaches might be applied to underpin a practical analysis of the complex decision-making arrangements that drive planning practice, and to provide the evidence needed to target reform of poorly performing arrangements.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1-28
    Number of pages28
    JournalPlanning Theory
    Volume1
    Issue number1
    Early online date9 Oct 2014
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2016

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    planning system
    governance
    planning
    strategic planning
    planning theory
    reform
    planning practice
    system theory
    planning process
    evidence
    stakeholder
    decision making
    interaction
    analysis

    Cite this

    Potts, Ruth ; Vella, Karen ; Dale, Allan ; Sipe, Neil. / Exploring the usefulness of structural-functional approaches to analyse governance of planning systems. In: Planning Theory. 2016 ; Vol. 1, No. 1. pp. 1-28.
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    Exploring the usefulness of structural-functional approaches to analyse governance of planning systems. / Potts, Ruth; Vella, Karen; Dale, Allan; Sipe, Neil.

    In: Planning Theory, Vol. 1, No. 1, 01.05.2016, p. 1-28.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

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    AB - Existing planning theories tend to be limited in their analytical scope and often fail to account for the impact of many interactions between the multitudes of stakeholders involved in strategic planning processes. Although many theorists rejected structural–functional approaches from the 1970s, this article argues that many of structural–functional concepts remain relevant and useful to planning practitioners. In fact, structural–functional approaches are highly useful and practical when used as a foundation for systemic analysis of real-world, multi-layered, complex planning systems to support evidence-based governance reform. Such approaches provide a logical and systematic approach to the analysis of the wider governance of strategic planning systems that is grounded in systems theory and complementary to existing theories of complexity and planning. While we do not propose its use as a grand theory of planning, this article discusses how structural–functional concepts and approaches might be applied to underpin a practical analysis of the complex decision-making arrangements that drive planning practice, and to provide the evidence needed to target reform of poorly performing arrangements.

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