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This article was downloaded by: [Daniel Galland] On: 25 July 2012, At: 07:22 Publisher: Routledge Informa Ltd Registered in England and Wales Registered Number: 1072954 Registered office: Mortimer House, 37-41 Mortimer Street, London W1T 3JH, UK European Planning Studies Publication details, including instructions for authors and subscription information: http://www.tandfonline.com/loi/ceps20 Understanding the Reorientations and Roles of Spatial Planning: The Case of National Planning Policy in Denmark Daniel Galland a a Department of Development and Planning, Aalborg University, Aalborg, Denmark Version of record first published: 04 May 2012 To cite this article: Daniel Galland (2012): Understanding the Reorientations and Roles of Spatial Planning: The Case of National Planning Policy in Denmark, European Planning Studies, 20:8, 1359-1392 To link to this article: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/09654313.2012.680584 PLEASE SCROLL DOWN FOR ARTICLE Full terms and conditions of use: http://www.tandfonline.com/page/terms-andconditions This article may be used for research, teaching, and private study purposes. Any substantial or systematic reproduction, redistribution, reselling, loan, sub-licensing, systematic supply, or distribution in any form to anyone is expressly forbidden. The publisher does not give any warranty express or implied or make any representation that the contents will be complete or accurate or up to date. The accuracy of any instructions, formulae, and drug doses should be independently verified with primary sources. The publisher shall not be liable for any loss, actions, claims, proceedings, demand, or costs or damages whatsoever or howsoever caused arising directly or indirectly in connection with or arising out of the use of this material.


European Planning Studies Vol. 20, No. 8, August 2012 Understanding the Reorientations and Roles of Spatial Planning: The Case of National Planning Policy in Denmark DANIEL GALLAND Downloaded by [Daniel Galland] at 07:22 25 July 2012 Department of Development and Planning, Aalborg University, Aalborg, Denmark (Received October 2010; accepted January 2011) ABSTRACT Spatial planning commonly adopts a diversity of functions and logics in contributing to the handling of growth and development. Being influenced by an array of contextual driving forces that result in specific institutional practices and policy agendas, spatial planning seems to be constantly reoriented in terms of its purposes and reasoning. This article sets out to explore the diverse orientations and roles that spatial planning has assumed in Denmark over a 50-year period. In doing so, the article examines the evolution of national planning policy by means of a multi-disciplinary framework comprising analytical concepts drawn from planning theory, state spatial theory and discourse analysis. Based on an in-depth study, the article then attempts to qualify, illustrate and synthesize the diverse roles that spatial planning has assumed in Denmark throughout that timeframe. The article concludes that spatial planning initially assumed a steering role, which has been either supplemented or substituted by balancing and/or strategic roles over the course of the past two decades. As a whole, this case is thought to contribute to current discussions regarding how spatial planning is shaped in different parts of Europe. Introduction Since the 1990s, scholars have argued that the orientation and practices of spatial planning throughout Europe have changed in relation to its traditional role (Healey et al., 1997; Hajer & Zonneveld, 2000; Albrechts et al., 2003). A common argument has been that the conceptual logic and the institutional mechanisms of spatial planning shift as a result of the constant pressure that a series of economic, socio-cultural and political driving forces exert upon them (Healey et al., 1999; Albrechts et al., 2003). This line of reasoning has developed in accordance with the awareness that spatial planning has moved to operate away from its innately regulatory and managerial modes towards more strategic ones (Salet & Faludi, 2000; Albrechts, 2004). However, such driving Correspondence Address: Daniel Galland, Department of Development and Planning, Aalborg University, Fibigerstræde 11, Aalborg 9220, Denmark. Email: dgalland@plan.aau.dk ISSN 0965-4313 Print/ISSN 1469-5944 Online/12/081359–34 http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/09654313.2012.680584 # 2012 Taylor & Francis


1360 D. Galland Downloaded by [Daniel Galland] at 07:22 25 July 2012 forces seem to only account for recent shifts informed by studies undertaken at the level of the city and city-region during short timeframes. In addition, current planning debates appear to leave aside the combination of roles that spatial planning could potentially assume. In attempting to explore the different orientations that spatial planning adopts throughout larger spatial and temporal frames, this paper takes on a multi-disciplinary approach comprising three analytical stances—institutionalism, economic geography and political science. In doing so, a framework is proposed by pulling together specific notions drawn from planning theory (Healey et al., 1999; Albrechts et al., 2003), state spatial theory (Brenner 2004, 2006) and discourse analysis (Hajer, 2003), and the interplay that several of their variables exhibit with regards to how and why spatial planning evolves. By delving into the case of national planning policy in Denmark, the aim of the paper is therefore to address the different roles that spatial planning has taken up as a result of its several development reorientations since the 1960s. The first section of the paper provides a general overview regarding the traditional role of spatial planning in European countries. It then moves on to discuss the changing character and emerging roles of spatial planning. Secondly, the paper describes the main mechanisms and factors that comprise the above-mentioned multi-disciplinary framework. The third section presents an in-depth analysis concerned with the evolution of national planning policy in Denmark from its origins until the most recent shifts. It addresses the condition and shifting orientations of national planning reports, legislation and other spatially relevant policy during the past 50 years. Based on these three sections, the paper proceeds to qualify, illustrate and synthesize the diverse roles that spatial planning seems to have adopted in Denmark throughout that period. Finally, the paper offers some concluding remarks. Spatial Planning Systems and Policies Under Change Steering: The Traditional Role of Spatial Planning Several planning systems in Europe, particularly those in the Nordic countries, have been traditionally organized via formal and hierarchical top-down structures wherein national policies have been meant to guide lower territorial scales (CEC, 1997). As a result, the traditional role of spatial planning at the national level in such contexts has been to guide spatial development by means of policy instruments throughout different tiers of government wherein planning practice is undertaken. As a policy tool, then, national spatial planning aimed at allocating public sector investment and social welfare resources between regions (CEC, 1997, 1999). These hierarchical arrangements and the traditional function of national planning can be portrayed as an outcome of post-war welfarist models, where the public sector was meant to “...undertake, manage and regulate development in line with a generalized and unitary conception of the ‘public interest’ (and) ...acted as a ‘provider’ of a coordinated stable framework for the making of development investment decisions, as well as a provider of serviced land and development” (Healey et al., 1997, p. 11). In Denmark, planning mechanisms as depicted until recently seemed to resonate with such systematic attributes. In practice, this was carried out through a planning system based on the principle of


Understanding the Reorientations and Roles of Spatial Planning 1361 framework control (rammestyringprincip), which meant that plans at lower levels must not contradict planning decisions made at higher levels (CEC, 1999, p. 17). Spatial planning agendas in European settings have conventionally focused on land-use allocation, its geographical distribution, growth management and improving quality of settlements (Healey et al., 1999, p. 348). Such agendas have commonly resulted in an array of overlapping policies and practices, such as population balance between urban and rural areas, regulation of land-use and development, urban and regional economic development measures, development of transport infrastructure and coordinating the spatial impacts of other sectoral policies, amongst others (Tewdwr-Jones, 2001, p. 16). To a considerable degree, spatial planning in Denmark aligned with most of these policies until new agendas emerged during the 1990s and 2000s. Downloaded by [Daniel Galland] at 07:22 25 July 2012 The Shifting Nature of Spatial Planning: The Emergence of Balancing and Strategic Roles Throughout their existence as a cross-sectoral policy field and practice occurring within and across different territorial levels, spatial planning systems and policies across Europe have been subjected to change and adaptation resulting in a diverse array of institutional forms and ways of performing (CEC, 1997; OECD, 2001). An important shift relates with the way in which spatial planning has moved to operate away from its innately regulatory and steering modes towards more strategic ones. The “strategic turn” that emerged during the 1990s has portrayed spatial planning both as an innovative placemaking activity and a relational process for decision-making (Healey et al., 1997; Albrechts et al., 2001; Healey, 2007). In this sense, strategic spatial planning can be understood as “...a socio-spatial process through which a vision, action and means for implementation are produced ...” (Albrechts, 2004, p. 747), thereby entailing how cityregions or metropolitan areas could potentially develop. Shifts regarding the nature of spatial planning such as the above imply that this domain has increasingly become more differentiated. This is often observed in terms of its shifting agendas and objectives. In parallel to this strategic turn, spatial planning underwent important policy shifts influenced by the sustainable development agenda introduced by the Brundtland Commission in the late 1980s. Based on the premise that limits should be placed on growth, this agenda stressed the need to undertake radical political shifts to facilitate the simultaneous pursuit of economic prosperity, environmental quality and social equity. Since then, spatial planning has also assumed the role of contributing to foster a better environment while promoting business development objectives throughout national territories. While these sustainability-oriented shifts certainly came to supplement the defined steering and strategic positions of spatial planning, it is convenient for the sake of this paper to ascribe them a “balancing” character. Seen in this light, the “balancing role” of spatial planning emerges when the policy domain becomes rather differentiated as compared to the predominant social welfare objectives conducted through steering capacities. This role would then consist of introducing new policy agendas, most notably those dealing with environmental concerns and new forms of economic development. Beyond the incorporation of these topics, the balancing role also adopts a mediating posture. This is exemplified through the integration of seemingly conflicting policy objectives. Moreover, the balancing role could also be perceived as part of the “reinvention” of


1362 D. Galland Downloaded by [Daniel Galland] at 07:22 25 July 2012 spatial planning as a policy domain, particularly in times of transition between its steering and strategic roles. Strategic spatial planning has been widely described and explored elsewhere by several authors and an extensive explanation of its contents is beyond the scope of this paper. However, for the sake of understanding the strategic role of spatial planning in Denmark, it is worth highlighting the following characteristics. Strategic spatial planning is founded on a visionary appreciation of the “spatial” or spatial development per se. Strategic visions and frameworks tend to emphasize place qualities, often promoted by spatial relations of territories (Albrechts, 2004). In doing so, national and regional spatial plans from across Europe have incorporated spatial concepts in recent years, some of which draw from or are inspired by the European Spatial Development Perspective (ESDP) (CSD, 1999). In practice, the strategic role seems to emerge when more thorough and coherent spatial logics are put forward. This occurs, amongst other cases, when trying to make urban regions more competitive, when attempting to coordinate public policy or in creating territorial relationships (Healey, 2004). In this sense, strategic spatial planning is characterized by complex urban and regional dynamics and territorial governance processes (Healey, 2006). Based on the above shifts, the dimensions of spatial planning have continued to change at different levels in diverse European planning systems. As a result, a more comprehensive and diverse set of policies, practices and responsibilities beyond land-use planning or spatial coordination are currently being addressed. In view of that, spatial planning could be characterized as a mixed policy domain that includes former regulatory approaches as well as newer and more complex processes dealing with aspects of strategic governance, policy integration and planning reforms (Haughton et al., 2010, p. 2). This situation arguably entails a complex evolutionary process in which spatial planning principles and concepts continue to progress in a more strategic way while aligning with ideas and interests that differ widely from their original ventures. To better understand the contents and praxis of these three spatial planning categorizations (i.e. steering, balance and strategic), the following section suggests an analytical framework aimed at exploring how and why spatial planning policy evolves. Approaches to Analyse the Evolution of Spatial Planning Policy How does spatial planning evolve? Through what means can we better understand why spatial planning tends to adopt different roles in handling growth and development? In attempting to answer these questions, this section suggests a framework comprising three different theoretical stances. First is an institutionalist approach that views the evolution of spatial planning as a function of contextual driving forces, which in turn generate new institutional capacities, relations and policy agendas (Healey et al., 1997, 1999; Albrechts et al., 2003). This approach has been developed by scholars who have aimed at understanding the strategic turn of spatial planning. Second is an economic geography standpoint that delves into the interplay between different parameters of state spatial selectivity (Brenner, 2004, 2006). Altogether, these parameters comprise an analytical tool to explain how spatial planning evolves over time. Finally, there is a political science perspective that draws on discourse analysis (Hajer, 2003) to elucidate how policy vocabularies and storylines shape spatial planning concepts. Figure 1 provides an overall synthesis of the different concepts and approaches that comprise these theoretical stances. Analytically, the three approaches are assumed to


Understanding the Reorientations and Roles of Spatial Planning 1363 Downloaded by [Daniel Galland] at 07:22 25 July 2012 Figure 1. Analytical framework for understanding the evolution of spatial planning and the roles that it adopts in accordance with particular development orientations. supplement one another. As a whole, the argument of the framework is that the synergy of these different conceptual approaches could contribute to the better understanding of the processes through which spatial planning policy evolves. The value of such framework relies on its attempt to ultimately qualify and illustrate the different policy orientations upon which spatial planning adopts particular roles. The specificities of these approaches are subsequently described and applied thereafter to the case of national planning policy in Denmark. Driving Forces Shaping Spatial Planning As discussed above, the changing logic of spatial planning can be explained by the assertion that its practices and hierarchical structures shift as a result of the constant pressure that a series of economic, socio-cultural and political driving forces exert upon them. As such, these forces could be regarded as the key motives behind the strategic turn of spatial planning in Europe (Albrechts et al., 2003, p. 115). Table 1 outlines the main reasons that lie behind the reorientation of spatial planning. In accordance with this logic, Healey et al. (1997, 1999) argue that new institutional capacities and relations, as well as new policy agendas emerge as outcomes of contextual driving forces. The generation of new institutional capacities can be illustrated by emerging processes of stakeholder interaction that are based on horizontal articulation, territorial and collaborative logics as well as negotiative forms between policy sectors (Healey et al., 1999, p. 344). This notion is clearly linked with the argument stating that new forms of governance and territorial policy integration are being created in response to the new global positioning of city-regions (Albrechts et al., 2003). The emergence of


1364 D. Galland Table 1. Synthesis of contextual driving forces causing that spatial planning practices change (based on Healey et al., 1999, p. 342, and Albrechts et al., 2003, p. 115) Downloaded by [Daniel Galland] at 07:22 25 July 2012 Economic Re-structuring of production relations Global positioning of city regions through “competitiveness” agendas Widening of economic relations from local networks towards global relationships Rules applied by the EU (e.g. EU regional development funds) Fiscal stress of governments and the consequent search for partnerships to increase investment capacities Environmental Ecological vulnerabilities and environmental constrains on economic growth Concern for quality of life and environmental consciousness Political Decentralization of governance functions and new forms of governance and government reorganization Changes in financing local governments (need for budget sharing) Political/cultural emphasis on regional and local identity and cohesion New modes of territorial policy integration Discourses and practices of a trans-European spatial planning policy community new (national, regional or local) policy agendas containing a language of urban and regional economic competitiveness is similarly linked to such positioning and also to discourses of a trans-European spatial planning policy. These contextual driving forces seem to offer valuable insights in addressing why spatial planning changes. However, they seem to only account for recent shifts, particularly those mainly taking place during the 1990s. Apart from being constrained by a short timeframe, the ideas of new institutional capacities and policy agendas essentially draw from cases undertaken at the level of cities or city-regions. As the wider spatial and temporal dimensions of spatial planning cannot be fully embraced by these driving forces alone, an economic geography perspective is taken in attempting to further qualify the different roles the spatial planning has assumed over longer timeframes. Parameters of State Spatial Selectivity The term state spatial selectivity finds its origin in state spatiality, which can be understood as a process that is “...actively produced and transformed through socio-political struggles at various geographical scales” (Brenner, 2004, p. 456). As such, state spatial selectivity can be understood as a phenomenon where “each historical formation of state institutions and policies tends to privilege particular spaces, locations or scales within a given national territory and to neglect, marginalize or exclude others” (Jones, 1999, cited in Brenner, 2004, p. 456). Brenner (2006, p. 97) suggests the following parameters of state spatial selectivity, which are determined through the changing forms of state spatial organization within a given territory (i.e. the organization of state space) and by the ways in which states may attempt to influence the geographies of uneven development within their territories (Table 2). According to the description above, parameters (a) and (c) correlate with each other insofar as both relate to a scalar articulation of state policies and institutions among different levels of political–economical organization within a given territory. Parameters (b)


Understanding the Reorientations and Roles of Spatial Planning 1365 Table 2. Parameters of state spatial selectivity (adapted from Brenner, 2006, p. 97) (a) Centralization versus decentralization, which contends either the drive to concentrate state operations at the national scale or the inclination to transfer regulatory tasks to sub-national levels; (b) Uniformity versus customization, which asserts either the promotion of levels of service provision and bureaucratic organization throughout an entire territory or the promotion of such services and arrangements in specific places or zones within a territory; (c) Singularity versus multiplicity, which sustains either privileging a single dominant scale as the main level for socio-economic activities or the distribution of such activities among multiple spatial scales; (d) Equalization versus concentration, which emphasizes either spreading socio-economic assets and public resources as evenly as possible across a national territory or the agglomeration of such assets and resources in specific locations, places and regions within a territory Downloaded by [Daniel Galland] at 07:22 25 July 2012 and (d) are similarly correlated albeit in relation with the territorial articulation among different types of juridical units or economic zones. Moreover, parameters (a) and (b) correlate with modes of spatial organization, while parameters (c) and (d) correlate with modes of spatial intervention. In line with this understanding, different configurations of state restructuring have emerged in western Europe since 1960, which correlate with particular forms of state spatial (urban-regional) regulation and state spatial selectivity (Brenner, 2004, 2006). 1 Forms of urban-regional regulation refer to the scale at which spatial strategies are being generated, while forms of spatial selectivity relate to the promotion of specific spaces, locations and scales through spatial strategies. The above parameters of spatial selectivity seem to offer important insights not only with regards to addressing why spatial planning has been prone to shift, but also in accordance with specific periods of state restructuring (Brenner, 2004). In this sense, the reorientation of spatial planning can also be understood from the standpoint of economic geography through the outcomes that these selectivities tend to generate. To supplement these parameters as well as the contextual driving forces described above, the next subsection explains how discourse analysis could be used to pinpoint policy agendas and the concepts that emerge from them. Discourse Analysis as Means to Identify Policy Orientations In Denmark as well as in several other European countries, national (spatial) planning policy has been lately concerned with visions about how the national territory should develop in terms of the qualities of urban and rural areas as well as the natural environment. Such policies therefore comprise particular spatial representations and objectives elaborated by state planning actors. In this sense, it can be argued that policies rely on discourses that are founded on diverse development orientations or rationales. Hajer and Versteeg (2005) define a discourse as “...an ensemble of ideas, concepts and categories through which meaning is given to social and physical phenomena, and which is produced and reproduced through an identifiable set of practices” (p. 175). According to Hajer (2003, p. 103), a policy discourse analysis can be pursued through the study of three layers. The first layer refers to the analysis of storylines, which comprise statements (e.g. metaphors) that synthesize complex narratives (ibid., p. 104). Storylines can be portrayed as a channel whereby actors try to impose their view of reality on others, suggest certain


1366 D. Galland Table 3. Layers of policy discourses (adapted from Hajer, 2003, p. 104) (a) Analysis of storylines: Statements that bring together previously unrelated elements of reality; (b) Analysis of policy vocabularies: Sets of concepts that structure a determined policy developed ad hoc by policymakers; (c) Epistemic figures: rules of formation that underline theories and policies but are not formulated in their own right. Downloaded by [Daniel Galland] at 07:22 25 July 2012 positions and practices, and criticize alternative ones (Hajer & Versteeg, 2005). The second layer relates to the analysis of policy vocabularies, where policymakers set out to determine specific concepts in structuring a particular policy discourse (Hajer, 2003, p. 105). In recent years, for instance, conceptual innovations such as “urban corridors” have been common not only in Danish national planning policies but also elsewhere throughout western Europe (e.g. in The Netherlands). Finally, the last layer comprises the analysis of epistemic figures, which “...refer to the regularity of the thinking of a particular period” (Hajer, 2003, p. 106). In the case of Denmark, as it will be explained in the following sections, the framing of terms such as “equal development” or “balanced development” shows, respectively, the influence of welfarist and sustainability thinking in different spatial planning policies throughout the past decades. Discourse analysis can thus be portrayed as an analytical tool to understand the rationalities behind the arguments that are being used by different policies. The analysis of policy discourses is relevant to our analytical framework in the sense that it can contribute to offer more precise views regarding the meanings behind specific policy contents and conceptualizations. In this sense, the exploration of discourses concerned with national planning policy could further facilitate the process of understanding the roles of spatial planning and thereby complement the analytical capacity provided by the above driving forces and spatial selectivity parameters (Table 3). The Genesis and Evolution of National Planning Policy in Denmark This section describes the evolution of national planning policy in Denmark from its origins until the most recent shifts. It addresses the condition and changing character of national planning reports, legislation and other spatially relevant policy during the past 50 years. In doing so, the section firstly discusses how spatial planning policy emerged and analyses its original scope and aims. It then moves on to examine how policy gradually evolved by stressing its underlying orientations and characteristics. The most important features of national planning reports are thereby exposed in terms of contents to further elucidate orientation shifts. As a whole, this section constitutes the basis for a subsequent discussion regarding the roles that spatial planning has played during different stages of development in Denmark. The Foundations of National Planning in Denmark The Danish planning system is founded “...in the tradition of understanding the necessity for functional cities and the regulation of land-use” (CEC, 1999, p. 18). Its original scope is rooted in forms of physical planning aimed at the regulation of towns and the zoning of


Understanding the Reorientations and Roles of Spatial Planning 1367 Downloaded by [Daniel Galland] at 07:22 25 July 2012 urban districts. The first Town Planning Act in Denmark was passed in 1925, followed by new Acts in 1938 and 1949. The 1938 Planning Act, a town planning by-law (byplanvedtegt), was limited to the regulation of towns, while the 1949 Act (byreguleringsloven) provided urban development plans (byudvikilngsplaner) to control urban sprawl and preserve open country areas (Gaardmand, 1993; CEC, 1999). The first planning initiative above the urban level in Denmark can be traced back to a regional planning exercise for the Greater Copenhagen Area (Egnsplan for Storkøbenhavn) that delivered the well-known Finger Plan (Fingerplanen) in 1947. Although this plan never attained a legal status, its original foundations have played a major role in the urban development of the region ever since. The Finger Plan basically projected the growth of Copenhagen outwardly along five corridors (fingers) in the direction of nearby towns. Each corridor comprised a settlement positioned in function of a suburban railway network and a radial road network. This effort represented the first planning attempt to address matters such as traffic infrastructure, industry sites, housing areas and environmental aspects from an integrated perspective (Gaardmand, 1993) (Figure 2). The need for more comprehensive planning in Denmark arose during the mid-1950s when the country faced a series of unprecedented challenges and side effects product of its rapid economic growth and its changing industrial structure. Some of these consequences comprised urban sprawl, industry requirements for additional land, an increasing demand for summer cottages and a decline in living conditions for a considerable part of the population (Elbo, 1981). This situation led to establishing a series of planning law reforms during the mid-1960s (CEC, 1999). Figure 2. The 1947 Finger Plan for Greater Copenhagen (Regional Planning Office, 1947, front cover).


1368 D. Galland On top of the above issues, there was a distribution concern that soaring economic growth was being experienced mainly in the east of the country while other regions were considerably lagging behind. Population distribution also turned into an issue given the high migration rate to Copenhagen and some eastern towns in Jutland (Jensen & Jørgensen, 2000). The notion of an “unbalanced Denmark” (det skæve Danmark) then emerged and turned into a debate reaching political and planning landscapes (Christoffersen & Topsøe-Jensen, 1979; Gaardmand, 1993; Jensen & Jørgensen, 2000). A demand to push for local development under a regional planning approach seemed then to be the more adequate path towards addressing such an imbalance. Downloaded by [Daniel Galland] at 07:22 25 July 2012 The 1960s: Dealing with an “Unbalanced Denmark” Initial discussions about national planning (landsplanlægning) became imperative in addressing the consequences of imbalance and inequality. An initial proposal put forward by Kaufmann in 1959 suggested that a national growth hypothesis be based on a “star-city plan” (stjernebyplan) (Gaardmand, 1993) (Figure 3, left). Kaufmann’s hypothesis showed signs of concern regarding unbalanced development: Over the next decade, a growing population, economy and culture will accumulate in a few places in the country. Should we ignore or work against this development, we will lose power and money. Should we follow it, it may become influential and will benefit the whole country. (Kaufmann, quoted in Christoffersen & Topsøe-Jensen, 1979, p. 251, author’s translation) The generation of Kaufmann’s hypothesis gave way to the establishment of a National Planning Committee (Landsplanudvalg) inspired by a Dutch model (Elbo, 1981). The Committee generated a Zone Plan for Denmark in 1962, which proposed areas for urban and industrial development, environmental preservation, summer housing and agricultural production (Figure 4). Moreover, a more thorough elaboration of the star-city plan Figure 3. Star-city plan (left) and the “Great H” motorway system (right) (Gaardmand, 1993, p. 79).


Downloaded by [Daniel Galland] at 07:22 25 July 2012 Understanding the Reorientations and Roles of Spatial Planning 1369 and the projection of a motorway system throughout the country known as “the great H” (det store H) strengthened the idea of more equal territorial development (Gaardmand, 1993) (Figure 3, right). In 1966, the Landsplanudvalg Secretariat (Landsplansekretariatet) published a key document entitled “Regional Planning and Regional Divisions” (Region Planlægning og Region Inddeling) wherein specific cities and towns were assigned an urban settlement pattern (bymønster) based on national or regional service functions (Landsplanudvalget Sekretariat, 1966). Being influenced by Central Place Theory (CPT), such urban pattern supposed a new spatial concept that would then become a stepping-stone towards an imminent municipal reform in 1970. CPT was originally put forward by Christaller in Germany during the 1930s. The theory aimed at explaining the spatial arrangement of urban centres based on service provision and how they positioned themselves in relation to one another over the territory. It assumed that such centres followed a hierarchical order, which determined how they were distributed in terms of distance and size. In doing so, each centre Figure 4. Zone Plan for Denmark in 1962 based on diverse land-use areas (Elbo, 1981, p. 293).


1370 D. Galland supplied particular types of goods, forming levels of hierarchy whereby activities were located in function of the presence of urban services (Christaller, 1966). 2 Furthermore, while a national plan as such had been neither prepared nor pursued at the time, the creation of a planning ideology based on equality had already begun taking shape in political settings. The rationale behind Kaufmann’s hypothesis and the series of planning exercises carried out through the 1960s implied a need to achieve a more even spatial distribution of economic growth throughout the country. These efforts can be characterized as indicators signalling “...the spatial expression of the welfare state” (Jensen & Jørgensen, 2000, p. 31) and thereby the imminent birth of national planning in Denmark. However, it was not until the following decade that national planning as such would become institutionalized (Figure 5). Downloaded by [Daniel Galland] at 07:22 25 July 2012 The 1970s: The Consolidation of National Planning and the Principle of Equal Development Denmark underwent a structural reform in the 1970s that resulted in the reconfiguration of the administrative division of counties and municipalities. Before 1970, Denmark was divided into 86 boroughs and over 1300 parishes contained within 25 county council districts. Parishes were found to be quite limited (in terms of territory, civil servants and population) in handling local tasks effectively while the urban extension of many boroughs had spread outside their formerly demarcated boundaries. Amongst other issues, this fact led to a structural reform that created 14 counties and 275 municipalities in 1970 (Ministry of the Interior and Health, 2002). A core idea behind this reform was that every new municipality embraced a single town and its hinterland following the “central place” settlement pattern, whereby the largest Figure 5. National centres (left) and regional centres (left) ca. 1965 based on 16 and 9 different service functions, respectively (Landsplanudvalget Sekretariat, 1966, pp. 64, 67).


Understanding the Reorientations and Roles of Spatial Planning 1371 Downloaded by [Daniel Galland] at 07:22 25 July 2012 town in every given municipality took a central place position to provide the remaining towns and villages with access to basic and more specialized services (Illeris, 1984; Ministry of the Interior and Health, 2002). This approach clearly substituted the former land demarcation that showed a sharp distinction between the urban and the rural. The structural reform gave way to the legal consolidation of national planning and opened up the discussion towards establishing a hierarchical urban pattern in the country. The implementation of the planning law reforms from the 1960s yielded the Urban and Rural Zones Act in 1970, the National and Regional Planning Act in 1973 and the Municipal Planning Act in 1977 (CEC, 1999). The 1973 Act became the first statutory policy at the national scale, implying that counties should submit regional plans to national authorities. For this purpose, the new Danish planning system at the time introduced the principle of framework control (rammestyringprincip), by which plans at lower levels could not contradict those at higher levels (CEC, 1999). The first national planning report put forward by the Ministry of the Environment (1975) stressed the need to address the consequences of unbalanced economic growth and population distribution. Subsequent national planning reports in the 1970s were framed along the same lines of redistribution outside the country’s main urban centres. The principle of equality or equal development (ligelig udvikling) was adopted, which implied that decentralization was required to meet the developmental needs of more peripheral regions. This basically meant a better access to public and private services that would have otherwise remained in larger urban centres. In doing so, a regional policy framework was established to allocate funds for disadvantaged areas (Elbo, 1981). Reimbursement schemes were replaced by block grants and financial equalization schemes (between the more- and the less-developed municipalities) during this period. The creation of a new administrative configuration similarly enabled the possibility of economies of scale and further savings (Ministry of the Interior and Health, 2006) (Figure 6). The Ministry of the Environment (1979) published an influential report regarding the future urban settlement pattern of Denmark. This report (Rapport om det fremtidige bymønster) was prepared by The Central Planning Agency (Planstyrelsen), which was created in 1975 under the authority of the Ministry of the Environment. Planstyrelsen became the successor of the National Planning Secretariat, when planning matters changed from being under the authority of the Ministry of Housing to being under the Ministry of Environment. Moreover, the report implied an initial step towards assigning towns and cities a level in the urban hierarchy by proposing the creation of regional and municipal centres. To attain the label of any specific urban centre, settlements were to meet a series of functional indicators based on services and minimum population bases. These requirements would allow the provision of such goods and services in a way that people accessed them as near as possible while their production and distribution still remained profitable for suppliers. The application of the urban settlement pattern concept would potentially deliver several kinds of national, regional and local urban settlements, an approach that was thought to determine the future urban pattern of Denmark for several years (Ministry of the Environment, 1981). In sum, the 1970s saw the rise of coordinated forms of planning that became legalized and institutionalized. Planning was advanced as an essential system to implement welfare ideas through the equal distribution of resources. The social democratic ideology of equality that advocated for distributed economic development became the founding mechanism of the national planning apparatus in Denmark.


1372 D. Galland Downloaded by [Daniel Galland] at 07:22 25 July 2012 Figure 6. Special and general areas in Denmark (Elbo, 1981, p. 291). The 1980s: From Equality to Diversity A salient planning feature during the 1980s was the official designation of a hierarchy of urban centres. The strong welfare orientation of the previous decade became spatially defined in the 1981 national planning report wherein national centres (landsdelscentre) were appointed by the state at the same time as counties and municipalities nominated various forms of regional and local area centres (egnscenter and områdercenter), respectively. 3 The use of an urban hierarchy approach can be seen as an implementation tool aimed at translating economic growth into territorial planning, thereby securing and enabling equal resource distribution throughout the whole country. This undertaking would then allow the population to get access to necessary goods and services regardless of type of settlement they chose to live in (Figure 7). The principle of equal development consistently remained in all the national planning reports throughout most the 1980s. However, the emphasis on equality shifted in terms of how to go about attaining it. The new centre-right government (a liberal-conservative coalition) that ruled in Denmark from 1982 to 1993 played an important role in the way to reframe and understand equal development. For instance, already in 1984 the national planning report stressed the need for changing development tendencies:


Understanding the Reorientations and Roles of Spatial Planning 1373 Downloaded by [Daniel Galland] at 07:22 25 July 2012 Figure 7. The urban hierarchy settlement pattern of Denmark focusing on national and regional centres (Ministry of the Environment, 1981, p. 34). New means are required to redress the imbalances in the weak regions (...) County councils are meant to uphold regional objectives. (Ministry of the Environment, 1984, p. 4, author’s translation) County councils had now been allocated the role of handling imbalance. This slight shift in discourse and the transfer of equal development responsibilities onto the regional level marked an inflection point as to how equality was to be perceived by national planning thereon. The homogenization process undertaken by spatial planning in combination with regional development policy, which resulted in a more equal territorial and social distribution seemed to have come to an end as unemployment rates in national centres (mainly Copenhagen) continued to be on the rise (Jørgensen & Tonboe, 1993). The character of national planning thus began turning away from equal development and more towards modernization and internationalization.


1374 D. Galland The larger cities have increasingly been able to detect that problems become more complex and more difficult to solve by known means. The most notable is that the larger cities have been hit hard by unemployment during the last 10 years. Unemployment is now above the national average. Therefore it is important that these cities engage in promising business policy. (Ministry of the Environment, 1987, p. 10, author’s translation) The last national planning report of the decade pointed towards a major and radical shift in Danish national planning. The 1989 report entitled “The Danish regional picture now and in the future” (Det regionale Danmarksbillede nu og i fremtiden) depicted how the country was to develop on a geographically differentiated basis, stressing the new challenges to be faced when entering the Single European Market and the need for adopting an international position. The report was clearly strategic, as it served as a preamble for subsequent national planning reports. Downloaded by [Daniel Galland] at 07:22 25 July 2012 It is the government’s view that the earlier form of development pursued by the nationwide goal of equality is outdated. The future must be guided by regional political activities that have diversity. Attention must be given to harnessing the development potential of the regions to strengthen Denmark’s position internationally. (Ministry of the Environment, 1989, p. 5, emphasis added, author’s translation) The diversity goal takes its point of departure in the government’s liberal ideology and its agenda to reform distribution policy resulting on the push to stimulate private and local solutions rather than the former public and national ones (Nielsen & Olsen, 1990). Moreover, diversity seemed to reflect the national government’s desires towards promoting deregulation and changing its sectoral foci (Jørgensen & Tonboe, 1993). This can be illustrated, for instance, by the shift away from manufacturing to tourism and transport. The shift from equality to diversity was similarly influenced by the change in focus within regional policy in Western Europe, which in the 1980s shifted from regional balance to regional development programmes. In the 1980s, national planning discourse was influenced by the neoliberal climate that swept most of the West. The Keynesian welfare state policy was challenged under the slogans of de-centralization and modernization. (Jensen & Jørgensen, 2000, p. 34) It was the view of the government by the end of the decade that the expansion of the manufacturing industry and population growth had become more equally distributed within Denmark as a result of policy measures that were adopted during previous years. As a result of this perception, the need for regional support to sustain peripheral areas was no longer necessary. This position asserted that pursuing equal development through a hierarchy of urban settlements would rather imply little diversification amongst Danish regions and thereby an obsolete strategy for regional development. Therefore, in support of the new diversity and internationalization agenda, the liberal– conservative coalition government established Copenhagen to be the metropolitan centre upon which the country would rely on to meet its redefined national goals (Ministry of the Environment, 1989, p. 34). This assertion was equally sustained by the


Understanding the Reorientations and Roles of Spatial Planning 1375 growing awareness of Greater Copenhagen’s significant economic decline and high unemployment rates. In sum, national spatial planning in the 1980s underwent a transition period that, to some extent, lacked a defined and consistent pattern. While the beginning of the 1980s saw the culmination of a long-term planning exercise that was carefully advanced for several decades, the end of the 1980s witnessed the rise of a competitiveness-based approach to engage in development. This shift signalled the possibility for spatial planning to adopt an entirely different role influenced by neoliberal thinking. Downloaded by [Daniel Galland] at 07:22 25 July 2012 The 1990s: Appropriate Development and Europeanization Spatial planning in Denmark underwent a drastic reorientation both in its contents and processes during the 1990s. By highlighting “integration” as its main keyword, the 1990 national planning report entitled “The contribution of planning to a better environment” signalled an imminent policy shift that emphasized the need to integrate environmental considerations into all decisions (Ministry of the Environment, 1991, p. 6). More notably, however, Danish national planning policy placed strong emphasis on the spatial restructuring of the country through the promotion of urban competitiveness with a European orientation. Based on the planning law reforms, a single Planning Act was amended by Parliament in 1991, which came into force in 1992 (CEC, 1999, p. 19). The strategic influence put forward by the 1989 national planning report can already be perceived in the Act’s first chapter: This Act especially aims towards: appropriate development in the whole country and in the individual counties and municipalities, based on overall planning and economic considerations .... (Ministry of the Environment, 1992) While the term “appropriate” can lead to rather ambiguous interpretations, the most obvious one can be easily inferred to match the liberalization and competitiveness agendas and tendencies in European urban planning at the time (Amin & Thrift, 1995; Healey et al., 1995; Newman & Thornley, 1996). Along these lines, the 1992 national planning report “Denmark towards the year 2018” introduced new spatial considerations based on promoting the Øresund region as the leading urban region in Scandinavia while positioning Copenhagen at centre stage under a European focus. In addition, there is a focus on placing other Danish cities “as a force for development” by linking them to international transport axes. In this sense, Denmark’s four largest cities were projected as urban regions with transnational relationships, while smaller urban regions were promoted as areas with specialized international potentials (Ministry of the Environment, 1992) (Figure 8). Based on the concept of national centre, the report suggests that networks between smaller cities and towns at the national and regional level can strengthen the competitiveness potential of Danish cities in Europe. This is a clear example of a former spatial concept being adapted to the new agenda for international development put forward by the government. The 1992 (national planning) report is the first example of urban networks introduced in spatial planning policy (...) where 3 or 4 cities of almost the same size


1376 D. Galland are trying to network and specialize under no hierarchy. So one might say that the new urban pattern is to adopt a more networked approach. (Nielsen, 2010a, Planner, Spatial Planning Department, Ministry of the Environment) The cities in Denmark should increasingly direct their attention towards Europe and consider their development potential in an international context. All of Denmark has a stake in striving towards simultaneous development in: Greater Copenhagen and the Øresund region, the international metropolis; the large cities in Denmark: the largest urban regions with substantial transnational relationships; and smaller urban regions with specialized international potential. (Ministry of the Environment, 1992, p. 26) Downloaded by [Daniel Galland] at 07:22 25 July 2012 The spatial structuring of Denmark in the future Europe depicted in this national planning report was thus characterized by market-oriented and polycentric growth agendas. This development reorientation was evocative of an entirely new way of understanding spatial planning as a whole. However, despite this emerging trend, important national regulatory measures were also implemented for the time being. For instance, a national Figure 8. Spatial development perspective in the 1992 national planning report “Denmark towards the year 2018” showing theDanishcities from an international perspective. Emphasis is placed on Copenhagen and the Øresund as the leading urban region in the Nordic countries (Ministry of Environment, 1992, p. 15).


Understanding the Reorientations and Roles of Spatial Planning 1377 Downloaded by [Daniel Galland] at 07:22 25 July 2012 planning directive aimed at safeguarding the coasts was introduced in 1991 and implemented as an amendment to the Planning Act in 1994. Another relevant amendment to the Act was the establishment of retail trade provisions in 1997, which banned largescale, out-of-town retail development (Sørensen, 2004). Both amendments resulted in the creation of national planning directives, which became legally binding for regional and local authorities. The 1997 national planning report “Denmark and European spatial planning policy” confirmed Denmark’s position in European planning policy. It focused on three main policy areas: a balanced and polycentric urban system; equal access to infrastructure and knowledge; and the development and protection of natural and cultural heritage (Ministry of Environment and Energy, 1997, p. 13). Environmental impact assessment as a method was introduced by this report, thereby placing environmental sustainability at the core of individual policy decisions. These objectives also matched the evolving work and agendas of two major international programmes—the ESDP and the Vision and Strategies around the Baltic Sea (VASAB)—in which Denmark played an important role. Notably, new spatial concepts stemming from the ESDP were adopted and merged with the spatial logic at the time (Figure 9). Also in this report, the original idea regarding urban networking became more solidly defined in the form of so-called urban clusters, wherein several town and city networks were proposed following a bottom-up approach. 4 It was highlighted that such networks could potentially adopt a “national centre status” to generate a better geographical equilibrium (Ministry of Environment and Energy, 1997, p. 56). Cooperation and coordination became the catchwords to consolidate urban networks into national centres. While this report stressed that the conditions for commercial and industrial development were to be guided by globalization and international competition, it was still based on the old pattern of urban hierarchy. This meant that local and regional planning functions remained unchanged. However, to implement major projects and to promote particular trends in specific locations, the national scale made an increasing use of national planning directives (Enemark & Jørgensen, 2001). A new spatial development position at the national level was thereby perceived not only through the emphasis placed on globalization in the 1997 national planning report, but also Figure 9. The integration of former and newer spatial notions in the 1997 national planning report “Denmark and European Spatial Planning Policy” (Ministry of Environment and Energy, 1997, pp. 56–57).


1378 D. Galland in the promotion of business development at the core of spatial planning as highlighted in the draft version of the 1999 national planning report. Both in Denmark and abroad there is a tendency for economic, political and cultural influences and increased globalization to result in greater decentralized involvement, which creates new cross-border contacts and decision-making structures. (Ministry of Environment and Energy, 1997, p. 11) Spatial planning can play an active role in promoting business development. Some counties and municipalities in Denmark are already making this happen. (Ministry of Environment and Energy, 1999) Downloaded by [Daniel Galland] at 07:22 25 July 2012 The 2000s: Balanced Development and Differentiation The beginning of the century brought along a new planning orientation that went beyond internationalization and the establishment of a comprehensive urban system with Copenhagen as the crucial economic and geographical core for development. The 2000 national planning report “Local identity and new challenges” set out the idea of pursuing regional development and spatial planning upon the basis of a new collaborative fashion geared towards cross-sectoral ambitions and partnership structures. National planning throughout the first half of the 2000s took again on the notion of balanced development albeit this time in accordance with a rather different frame: Closer interaction between business development and spatial planning can both strengthen strategies for business development and ensure spatial planning is more dynamic and oriented towards the future (...) Balance can be based on the geographical development of business. (Ministry of the Environment and Energy, 2000, pp. 6, 8; emphasis added) While building upon the European spatial recommendations established earlier and in a new attempt to pursue balance, the first Danish national planning report of the decade was also explicitly oriented towards spatial economic development and regional policy. Particular emphasis was placed on new cross-sectoral interactions with the transport and environment sectors whereby the government’s Industrial and Urban Policy Committee played an important role. Another example was the close cooperation between the Ministry of Environment and the Ministry of Trade and Industry. The latter produced two reports, “The Danish business policy” (Ministry of Trade and Industry, 1998) and “Report on regional business policy in Denmark” (Ministry of Trade and Industry, 2000), which correlate with the 2000 national planning report in their scope. The implementation of the alluded balanced development led to the consolidation of two more national centres based on polycentricity, namely, the Triangle Area and the Midwest Region. The former urban hierarchy terminology was still in use as illustrated by the term “national centre” and its adaptation to the new European phrase “city network”. The fact of establishing such centres in the Jutland peninsula can be interpreted as an attempt to make up for the sole emphasis placed on Copenhagen and the Øresund during previous years (Figure 10). In 2003, a new national planning report entitled “Balanced development in Denmark— What needs to be done?” highlighted the need to employ spatial planning as a tool to attain


Understanding the Reorientations and Roles of Spatial Planning 1379 Downloaded by [Daniel Galland] at 07:22 25 July 2012 Figure 10. The 2000 national planning report “Vision for 2025” showing national centres and their zones of influence (Ministry of Environment and Energy, 2000, p. 15). balanced development. In doing so, an agenda on cooperation and regional development was particularly advanced, including issues such as the need to secure flexible regions while developing new partnerships to uphold regional growth. The notion of flexibility was put forward from the perspective of transcending administrative boundaries. The aim is to promote growth and sustainable development in each region by starting with the region’s strengths, special qualities and competencies and the local and regional objectives and strategies ... Improving the balance of development in Denmark requires new initiatives. This requires new forms of partnership and attempts to create a new basis for regional development. (Ministry of the Environment, 2003, pp. 5, 9) The report reframed former spatial concepts in consideration of the new business development agenda. For instance, the term “national centre” was rephrased into “national centre regions” to denote the multiple services that these larger areas could potentially offer to businesses. Moreover, the report drew attention to promoting business clusters in areas that evidently did not match the boundaries of counties and municipalities. Maps of this kind reflected an increasing need to define new spatial logics at the national


1380 D. Galland Downloaded by [Daniel Galland] at 07:22 25 July 2012 Figure 11. Spatial development viewed in terms of national centres and business clusters (Ministry of the Environment, 2003, pp. 7, 9). level that could adequately fit the growth-oriented agenda of the liberal-conservative coalition government at the time (Figure 11). The last radical shift in Danish spatial planning was linked to the enactment of a new local government reform. Effective 1 January 2007, this structural reform brought along a radical reconfiguration of the political and administrative map of Denmark. The previous 271 municipalities were merged into 98 larger units, while the former 14 counties were abolished and transformed into 5 administrative regions. An important outcome of this reform was the creation of larger municipalities by increasing their number of inhabitants. 5 In terms of planning practice, the reform implied that the former counties’ tasks and responsibilities were transferred to both national and municipal authorities. The new municipalities acquired responsibilities for town and country land-use planning while the Danish Ministry of the Environment created seven environmental centres scattered in different parts of the country to ensure the realization of national planning interests (Ministry of the Environment, 2007). 6 In turn, the new regions were left with no decision-making authority as to what regards planning matters (Galland, forthcoming). 7 Being considerably influenced by the structural reform, the 2006 national planning report “The new map of Denmark—Spatial planning under new conditions” clearly positioned itself in accordance with globalization. The report thereby stressed the need to renew spatial planning as a prerequisite to pursue the growth and competitiveness demands posed by such a development trend. In responding to these challenges, the report highlighted two metropolitan regions (circled in the map below): to the right, Greater Copenhagen and the Øresund region (including the north-eastern part of Zealand), and to the left the Eastern Jutland region, consisting of multiple cities along a single urban corridor. This outcome can be interpreted as Denmark’s new attempt towards creating stronger and functional urban regions to allow the country to compete in a globalized world (Figure 12). The 2006 report adopted a new development orientation based on differentiated spatial planning. The idea was to make use of spatial planning as a platform and strategic tool to pursue local development in accordance with regional strengths and potentials. In doing so, five new “settlement regions” were put forward strategically. These regions included the two metropolitan regions mentioned above plus the region of Zealand, as well as


Understanding the Reorientations and Roles of Spatial Planning 1381 Downloaded by [Daniel Galland] at 07:22 25 July 2012 Figure 12. Settlement and geographical features of Denmark’s new five administrative regions, illustrated in the 2006 national planning report “The new map of Denmark” (Ministry of Environment, 2006, p. 15). designated town regions and small-town regions. The differentiated spatial planning approach was thereby pointed towards new national priorities for each settlement region. These priorities have been followed up by state initiatives aimed at fostering dialogue between municipal and regional councils, and the Ministries. Strong emphasis was thus placed on the need to establish multi-stakeholder dialogue-oriented partnerships in every settlement region to generate ad hoc frameworks for development. In other words, the idea behind these new dialogue projects was to generate innovative strategies with a regional character through particular governance arrangements. The national priority for Greater Copenhagen was to ensure that spatial planning strengthened its international competitiveness. The state thereby put forward initiatives that promoted municipal and state mixed working groups to address development potentials in Greater Copenhagen (Ministry of the Environment, 2006). However, the creation of a planning directive (discussed below in this section) for the development of the whole area seemed to have lessened the continuity and impact of these initiatives. Furthermore, the national priority for Eastern Jutland aimed at establishing an overall urban structure and a coherent landscape between towns, while that of Zealand aimed at developing a well-functioning urban structure in relation to transport infrastructure. As of late 2010, the process of the Eastern Jutland initiative has not generated any specific strategy. However, in Zealand, the municipalities, the region and national authorities have all agreed to put forward a development vision where the region has been portrayed as a commuting hinterland for Greater Copenhagen (Nielsen, 2010b).


1382 D. Galland The creation of settlement regions also implied that former spatial logics based on the urban hierarchy concept were totally discarded. This signalled the end of the hierarchical urban settlement pattern that had governed spatial planning in Denmark since the post-war era. The following quote shows the logic behind this relevant shift: Our research showed us that there was a growing settlement pattern in the east part of Jutland and in Zealand. Especially in Eastern Jutland it was clear that there was a more functional dependence—there was a sort of a “functional million city” from Randers to Fredericia. So we wanted to build on a discussion of how we could drop the urban hierarchy system. We found it old-fashioned (...) so now we could focus on the development of cities and the networks between cities. (Nielsen, 2009, Former Head of Planning, Spatial Planning Department, Ministry of the Environment) Downloaded by [Daniel Galland] at 07:22 25 July 2012 Regulatory interventions during the 2000s significantly decreased as compared with the use of planning directives throughout the 1990s. However, an amendment to the Planning Act created an unprecedented national planning directive for Greater Copenhagen entitled Finger Plan 2007. Building on the finger city structure originally put forward in 1947, the directive was developed to regulate land use within the 34 municipalities that comprise the metropolitan region. This implied regulating areas for urban development and regeneration, new transport infrastructure corridors, green areas and recreational uses (Ministry of the Environment, 2007, pp. 14–15). Given its statutory nature, this directive yielded stronger legal instruments to counteract urban sprawl as compared to the regional plans that formerly guided the development of Greater Copenhagen. 8 As of today, no directives of the kind have been developed for any other urban area in Denmark. The 2010s: An Undefined Development Orientation The beginning of the decade has been marked by the publication of a new national planning report, which for the most part embarks upon the state of affairs of the country’s nature, its environment and issues such as climate and energy (Ministry of the Environment, 2010). The report is not positioned with respect to any particular developmental tendency as former national planning reports were. Spatial planning aspects such as the settlement patterns and the national priorities emphasized in 2006 in “The new map of Denmark” are barely followed up. For instance, the two metropolitan regions that were projected back then are only mentioned in terms of environmental protection and some infrastructure upgrades. Neither visions nor specific strategies are presented in the new report. Most notably, overall, no maps are displayed for the first time in the history of Danish national spatial planning. Similarly, projections and potential implications about the current geographical situation of the country almost go missing. The report thereby clearly breaks away from the differentiated spatial reasoning of previous planning exercises. Several organizational changes that took place within the Danish Ministry of the Environment towards the end of the 2000s seemingly account for the above-mentioned policy shifts. Spatial planning tasks were transferred to a new entity created within the Ministry after the municipal reform, namely, the Agency of Spatial and Environmental Planning (By—og Landskabsstyrelsen). Notably, the Spatial Planning Department,


Table 4. Chronology of relevant policies influencing spatial planning at in Denmark the national level National planning policy Understanding the Reorientations and Roles of Spatial Planning 1383 Downloaded by [Daniel Galland] at 07:22 25 July 2012 1. Zone plan for Denmark (1962) 2. Regional planning and regional divisions (1966) 3. National and Regional Planning Act (1973) 4. National planning reports (1975–1979) 5. Municipal Planning Act (1977) 6. Report on the future urban settlement pattern (1979) 7. National planning reports (1980–1991) 8. Planning Act (1992) 9. National planning report (1992) 10. Planning directive in 1994: Coastal directive 11. Planning directive in 1997: Planning of retail trade 12. National planning report (1997) 13. National planning report (2000) 14. National planning report (2003) 15. National planning report (2006) 16. Planning directive in 2007: Copenhagen Finger Plan 17. National planning report (2010) which for years had been part of the central administration in the Ministry, was reduced to an office in this agency whose mandate mainly relates to the protection of nature and the promotion of environmental quality. In view of recent policy and institutional changes, national spatial planning in Denmark is likely to continue aligning with environmental sustainability agendas for the most part. Issues such as ecosystem protection and greenhouse gas emissions from transport will undoubtedly remain high on the Danish government’s agenda, particularly in times where climate change discourses are at centre stage. However, an apparent trade-off stemming from this scenario is that the sole focus on environmental matters could yield a deficit of comprehensive societal development policy. In other words, while this scenario implies that national planning stays put as a land-use planning instrument for specific sectoral planning policies (i.e. energy, nature conservation and water resources), it also contends that national planning ceases to deliver more integrated development strategies. Thus, by excluding social and economic development matters, this scenario suggests that decision makers currently perceive a lessened need for comprehensive spatial planning. Furthermore, regardless of the government in turn and the institutional arrangement in place, an alternative future scenario would consist of readopting strategic spatial planning policies and planning directives to bridge the gap that was left by abolishing comprehensive regional planning after the municipal reform. While it may still be too early to determine the magnitude of such a gap and the implications that it might deliver, the probable need for more functional physical planning in specific parts of the country would entail that national spatial planning policy regains clout in some years’ time. In closing this section, Table 4 summarizes the whole range of national planning policies that have been generated in Denmark since the 1960s. Based on these policy events and their underlying processes, the next section will attempt to describe the specific roles played by spatial planning in catering for development in Denmark throughout those years.


1384 D. Galland Characterizing the Roles of Spatial Planning in Denmark The preceding section provided an in-depth explanation concerned with how national planning policy has evolved in Denmark from its origins. This section qualifies and relates such historical events back to the different roles that spatial planning tends to assume. It is argued that the traditional steering role of spatial planning was key in the development of the country throughout several decades, most notably during the 1970s. Moreover, it is shown that spatial planning has played balancing and strategic roles throughout different timeframes during the 1990s and 2000s. The last part of the section provides a synthesis that illustrates the existing correlation between spatial planning roles and development reorientations in accordance with the case of national planning policy in Denmark. Downloaded by [Daniel Galland] at 07:22 25 July 2012 The Steering Role of Spatial Planning Resembling several other European countries, the traditional role of spatial planning at the national level in Denmark consisted of guiding spatial development by means of policy instruments implemented by different tiers of government (CEC, 1997, 1999). Hence, as a policy tool, national planning was conventionally aimed at allocating public sector investment and social welfare resources between Danish regions. The 1950s “unbalanced Denmark” discourse that derived from the escalating socio-spatial side effects of rapid economic growth experienced exclusively in limited parts of the country can be regarded as the main cause behind the institutionalization of spatial planning. During the 1960s, the steering role of spatial planning is illustrated by its land-use and spatial coordination tasks. Altogether, these functions generated physical planning exercises concerned with the reorganization of the national territory to achieve a more even spatial distribution of economic growth. Based on such plans and by means of an “equal development” discourse, spatial planning during the 1970s continued to address issues such as the equal distribution of socio-economic activities and investments, and the promotion of a uniform coverage of service provision throughout the whole country. In addressing specific inequality issues, the state acted as the provider of welfare services by seeking the even distribution of industry, population and infrastructural investments across Denmark. Furthermore, the establishment of ad hoc planning institutions, the consolidation of a national planning act based on the principle of framework control, and the creation of national planning reports are all indicative of the steering role of spatial planning during the 1970s. The decentralization of planning tasks to counties and municipalities generated by the structural reform is yet another steering example. Moreover, the urban hierarchy pattern upon which national, regional and local centres would later become established can be understood as the physical manifestation of the steering role. During the 1980s, spatial planning continued to adopt a steering role by focusing on equal development albeit this time under the responsibility of the counties. The destabilization of the state as the main actor in charge of political and economic coordination resembled what had occurred in other European countries during the 1970s. Even while the goal of equality became more difficult to attain due to pressing socio-economic issues, no major development reorientation was conceived at the national level. The role of spatial planning in


Understanding the Reorientations and Roles of Spatial Planning 1385 attempting to manage development from its inception until the late 1980s is thus chiefly characterized by similar spatial selectivity mechanisms and policy discourses. As compared to these decades, the steering role of spatial planning considerably diminished from the 1990s onwards. The “diversity” discourse of the late 1980s coupled with the “appropriate development” one that originated from the Planning Act in 1992 signalled the birth of new spatial planning functions and thereby the creation of different roles. Since then, the steering role of spatial planning can be ascribed to the implementation of national planning directives, which emerged as regulatory means to counteract urban growth. These comprise the Coastal directive of 1994, the Retail Development directive of 1997 and, more recently, the 2007 Finger Plan directive for Greater Copenhagen. In this sense, by securing the implementation of national policy objectives in land-use planning, the steering role of spatial planning during the past two decades has contributed to complement the roles that replaced it. Downloaded by [Daniel Galland] at 07:22 25 July 2012 The Balancing Role of Spatial Planning The balancing role of spatial planning is concerned with the integration of policy agendas, which basically stem from the sustainability discourse of the late 1980s. The substitution of the principle of equal development for that of diversity in 1989 signalled a major development reorientation and, potentially, a new role for spatial planning. This reorientation was evident in national planning policy when emphasis was placed on environmental considerations and the need to integrate them in decision-making processes. While the urban hierarchy pattern that guided territorial development stayed put, the balancing role considerably replaced the steering functions of spatial planning at the beginning of the 1990s. The balancing role was explicit in both the 1990 and 1992 national planning reports through the integration of conflicting objectives. In this sense, the former hierarchy pattern was adapted to fit both environmental quality and economic prosperity objectives. National and regional centres were promoted as cities with transnational relations and international specialties, respectively. At the same time, policies fostered the protection of coastal zones and determined large natural land areas of national significance. Similarly, in 1997, the balancing role continued to flourish through the fusion of Europeanization and sustainability agendas. Environmental impact assessments were set forth for every policy goal and strategy, while all development goals were portrayed in light of environmental sustainability. At the conceptual level, the blending of strategic spatial concepts (i.e. polycentricity) with former city hierarchy notions (e.g. regional and local centres) yielded new hybrid concepts such as urban clusters. Although these new concepts rather fall into the strategic role of spatial planning, this new way of thinking about territorial patterns and spatial intervention was importantly influenced by the integration of economic and environmental objectives and hence by the balancing role. Rather than promoting environmental quality, the balancing role of spatial planning in managing development during the beginning of the 2000s is characterized by the need to attain balance through business development. This is clearly illustrated by the national planning reports published in 2000 and 2003. As these two reports centre on balanced development, the common storyline is that business development should emerge at the regional level to attain it. This is illustrated by the promotion of inter-sectoral collaboration and cross-theme integration through new governance structures that facilitate com-


1386 D. Galland petitiveness. In the terms of spatial selectivity, this storyline can be interpreted as a scalar readjustment that contrasts with the centralized approach of the previous decade. The balancing role of spatial planning is therefore evocative of how the sometimesconflicting ideological principles of sustainability and competitiveness can be simultaneously pursued at least through discourse. This situation can be ascribed to differentiation, where the market is portrayed as an instrument in itself to safeguard welfare. In closing, spatial planning has played a balancing role to varying degrees for the past two decades. The integration of policy agendas and the balancing of conflicting objectives sought by this role seem to have been stronger at the first half of both decades, right before the rise of strategic spatial planning. However, the balancing role has also been present throughout the latter half of the 1990s and 2000s through the integration of economic and environmental objectives in the former, and the increased focus on nature protection in the latter. Downloaded by [Daniel Galland] at 07:22 25 July 2012 The Strategic Role of Spatial Planning The strategic role of spatial planning relates to innovative ways of thinking about territories, all of which go beyond traditional land-use planning and spatial coordination tools and mechanisms. This occurs, amongst other cases, when trying to make urban regions more competitive or in seeking to coordinate public policy in particular regions. In Denmark, spatial planning underwent a radical reorientation towards adopting a strategic role in 1992. This became evident in the country’s international positioning in the national planning report of that same year. The positioning of Greater Copenhagen and the Øresund region as the leading Nordic urban region was the clearest strategic outcome of the government’s economic competitiveness agenda at the time. This undertaking implied the reconcentration of economic capacities, advanced infrastructure and new urban developments in the area. Moreover, a new way of conceiving the spatial relations of the territory, both inwardly and outwardly, was sought by emphasizing the comparative advantage of city networks in function of a competitive Europe. In continuing with this spatial logic, the 1997 national planning report is similarly an example of the strategic role of spatial planning. In this case, spatial concepts such as “polycentric development” and “balanced spatial structure” were strategically adopted to promote the development of urban networks (between district and municipal centres) and to potentiate the existing national centres in attaining balanced development throughout the country. Cross-border planning cooperation was also relevant in portraying the Øresund as an international region. Thus, increased emphasis was placed in developing cooperation initiatives with Malmö and Skåne in Sweden to secure Copenhagen’s position as a European metropolis. Overall, several political, economic and environmental driving forces account for the shift of spatial planning towards adopting a strategic role in Denmark during the 1990s. Economically wise, the government’s competitiveness agenda, the widening of economic relations and the restructuring of production relations (taking into account the need for Danish cities to acquire new tasks in the international division of labour) seemed to have influenced the most. Politically, the discourses of a trans-European spatial planning policy community evidently influenced Denmark, not only in terms of spatial restructuring within the country, but also outwardly in connection with the Baltic and North Sea regions. Moreover, environmental driving forces such as the increased awareness to protect the natural environment and a general concern for a better quality of life influenced the


Understanding the Reorientations and Roles of Spatial Planning 1387 Downloaded by [Daniel Galland] at 07:22 25 July 2012 policy-making process at the time. The constant underscoring of environmental impacts in planning decisions is indicative of this influence. The strategic role was also adopted by spatial planning in the 2000s albeit under a different spatial logic. In line with the 2006 national planning report, the idea behind this shift suggested that spatial planning be used as a platform and strategic tool to pursue local development in accordance with regional strengths and potentials. In doing so, five new “settlement regions” were put forward strategically. The new territorial logic thereby implied giving up the urban hierarchy pattern as it clearly interfered with the new differentiated approach that focused on two metropolitan regions plus one commuting region. New spatial concepts drawn from the ESDP were thus adopted for these purposes. Firstly, Eastern Jutland is depicted as a “growth corridor” and thus projected as a functional conurbation where tasks are divided between cities. Secondly, Greater Copenhagen and the Øresund Region are portrayed this time in connection with Zealand and thus, arguably, as a “dynamic zone of integration”. This latter concept would contribute to enhance Greater Copenhagen’s competitiveness positioning, with Zealand being depicted as a commuting hinterland with a well-functioning urban structure in terms of transport infrastructure and a coherent labour market. Based on the above, the strategic role of spatial planning is conceived in two different ways as far as spatial concepts are concerned. In the nineties, still following an urban hierarchy logic, polycentricity and the balanced spatial structure concepts yield urban clusters, national centres and one international metropolis. In the mid-2000s, through a differentiated spatial logic and a new settlement pattern approach, the growth corridor concept yields a new metropolis while the dynamic zone of integration concept merges an international metropolis with a hinterland to strengthen its magnitude and scale. The strategic character of national planningpolicyincontributingtomanagedevelopment in the mid-2000s is thus characterized by a renewed positioning on competitiveness, This undertaking results in the establishment of new conditions for spatial planning as means to address the challenges of the government’s globalization agenda. In this sense, the urbanregion is evidently promoted as the dominant scale for socio-economic activities. The strategic role thereby seems to generate both centralization and decentralization outcomes. The former is illustrated by the promotion of Greater Copenhagen as a main scale for socio-economic activities, while the latter is perceived with regards to privileging a new growth pole in Jutland and also by delegating new planning responsibilities to municipalities. In sum, the promotion of these two metropolitan regions, the abolition of the regional scale and the increased usage of “competitiveness” terminology are illustrative of the strategic role that spatial planning has adopted in the most recent years. Discussion: Correlating the Roles and Reorientations of Spatial Planning The sections above show that three different roles emerge with regards to how spatial planning was pursued through national planning policy in Denmark during the past five decades. The above interpretation shows that while a steering role prevailed from the inception of spatial planning until the late 1980s, it has been supplemented to varying degrees or rather substituted by different roles during the 1990s and 2000s. The analysis showed that the balancing role of spatial planning was particularly evident during the beginning of the 1990s and 2000s, being mainly exercised through the integration of former and newer policy agendas and by mediating conflicting objectives. This role was


1388 D. Galland Figure 13. Timeline showing the overall relationship between development reorientations (above) and spatial planning roles (below) and in accordance with the evolution of national planning policy in Denmark. Downloaded by [Daniel Galland] at 07:22 25 July 2012 played not only while formal steering measures were being put into place (e.g. a single Planning Act and the creation of ad hoc national directives), but also during the establishment of strategic approaches. In parallel with the balancing role, the strategic role of spatial planning emerged in the course of the 1990s and then in the mid-2000s as a substitute of the former steering role. The recent transition towards strategic spatial planning in Denmark seems to resemble that of other European countries (e.g. The Netherlands or the United Kingdom) in the late 1990s. However, unlike what may have occurred elsewhere, the Danish case also shows that regulatory-led planning instruments stay put, arguably as an attempt to control and counterbalance newer competitiveness-related strategies and agendas. This situation shows that spatial planning can simultaneously play steering and strategic roles in attempting to manage development. Figure 13 shows the existing relationships between spatial planning roles and development reorientations in accordance with the evolution of national planning policy in Denmark. The figure suggests that there is predominant role assigned to every particular development orientation in a given timeframe, notwithstanding that spatial planning could have also played other roles simultaneously. In this sense, not every major development reorientation after the 1980s relates exclusively to a unique planning role. For instance, the steering case of placing directives in the 1990s and in the late 2000s complemented the leading strategic role pursued at those times. The same could be said about the balancing role throughout the 1990s with respect to strategic spatial planning. Finally, in accordance with the latest national planning document, the analysis showed that there is an undefined development orientation as of the 2010s. This uncertain stance would initially suggest that none of the three roles of spatial planning as analysed above relate to it. However, as far as policy contents are concerned, the balancing role of spatial planning itself would most likely take the lead in the current decade. Concluding Remarks The example of national planning policy in Denmark was explored in this paper to show how spatial planning has assumed different roles in contributing to manage growth and development in the country throughout time. Based on a proposed multidisciplinary fra-


Understanding the Reorientations and Roles of Spatial Planning 1389 Downloaded by [Daniel Galland] at 07:22 25 July 2012 mework, the article analysed the different orientations of national planning policy from its genesis until today. The study showed that the initial consolidation of the planning system in Denmark and its subsequent implementation were highly dependant on the steering role that spatial planning mechanisms and practices played in the course of their first three decades of existence. Moreover, the case also demonstrated that the major development reorientation of the late 1980s implied that spatial planning adopted a balancing role, which called for the integration of the sustainability agenda along with steering and strategic objectives, respectively. Together with the strategic role of spatial planning, this role has prevailed to varying degrees throughout the following two decades. Finally, the analysis confirmed that during most of the 1990s and also by the mid-2000s, spatial planning largely took on a strategic role, which resulted in the establishment of new conditions as means to address inter alia the challenges of the government’s globalization agenda. Furthermore, the case of Denmark showed that spatial planning roles are neither adopted exclusively nor independently from one another. In spite of the fact that a steering role was solely assumed during the first decades, recent experience has shown that different roles could be simultaneously adopted regardless of whether they do so in a supplementary manner or by entirely substituting a former role. In terms of spatial logics and conceptualizations, the study described how the former urban hierarchy pattern was linked to the general idea of achieving equal development. This logic was then supplemented by European spatial concepts concerned with territorial development. In aligning with a new competitiveness agenda, the urban hierarchy logic and the concepts ascribed to it came to be replaced by a differentiated planning approach and renovated spatial concepts that generated a new settlement pattern. Based on these facts, it can be concluded that shifts in spatial reasoning seem to be inherently linked with particular development trends that emerge over time. In this case, such tendencies were influenced, respectively, by national (societal) needs (1960s/1970s) and international growth-oriented agendas (1990s/2000s). In closing, the outcome of this case implies that national planning policy has importantly evolved in function of major economic development tendencies. Taken as a whole, this study could contribute to inform discussions regarding how spatial planning is shaped and undertaken in practice. The paper could similarly contribute to inspire further research that seeks to compare and contrast the orientations and roles adopted by spatial planning in different parts of Europe. Acknowledgements The author would like to thank Niels Østergård, Bue Elkjær Nielsen and Peder Baltzer Nielsen for providing in-depth insights concerned with the evolution of national spatial planning policy in Denmark. Two anonymous journal referees have provided very insightful comments and suggestions in an earlier version of the paper. Notes 1. Based on his own analysis, Brenner (2004, pp. 479–480) views these configurations as forms of urban governance, which he classifies in accordance with historical formation periods: Spatial Keynesianism (early 1960s to early 1970s); Fordism in Crisis (early 1970s to early 1980s); Glocalization Strategies Round I (1980s); and Glocalization Strategies Round II (1990s and onwards). While a description of


1390 D. Galland Downloaded by [Daniel Galland] at 07:22 25 July 2012 these periods is beyond the scope of this paper, the parameters of spatial selectivity underlying them are useful to explain how spatial planning policy evolved in Denmark since the 1960s. 2. To follow a hierarchical order, CPT takes on the concepts of threshold and range. Threshold is the smallest market area (in terms of the minimum required population) that is necessary for goods and services to be provided, while range is the maximum distance that consumers will travel to purchase goods and services (Christaller, 1966). 3. Urban centres established in 1981 included the following: main national centre (i.e. Copenhagen); national centres (i.e. Odense and Århus); national centres under development (i.e. Ålborg and Esbjerg); regional centres (e.g. Frederikshavn and Sønderborg); regional centres under development (e.g. Hirtshals and Nibe); towns with regional business areas; towns with regional centre areas; and a number of smaller centre areas (Ministry of the Environment, 1981). 4. Fredericia, Vejle and Kolding comprised the first potential cluster in the so-called Triangle Area. A second one comprised Herning, Ikast, Hostelbro and Struer in Midwest Jutland; and finally, an array of smaller towns constituted a third potential cluster, namely, the “Zealand Gate” (Ministry of Environment and Energy, 1997, p. 56). 5. The Danish government explicitly specified a minimum requirement of 20,000 inhabitants per every created municipality. This threshold forced rural municipalities, rather than urban ones, to merge. The new political map of Denmark following the reform was the result of a bottom-up process where municipalities were free to merge under the condition that the 20,000 threshold was surpassed. In many cases, rural municipalities amalgamated amongst themselves. This basically meant that the three largest Danish cities (Copenhagen, Århus and Odense) and most municipalities comprising Greater Copenhagen remained the same. 6. It is argued that both national and municipal planning became “strengthened”, with 1/3 of the tasks run by the former counties being passed on to the former and 2/3 to the latter. This calculation is made in accordance with the total number of civil servants who were actually transferred to such entities (Østergård, 2010). 7. The regions were basically created for health care administration. Their only planning responsibility consists of preparing regional development plans, which portray “visions” or suggestions for spatial development. Such plans must comply with business development strategies prepared by Regional Growth Fora. For a detailed account regarding regional planning shifts in Denmark, see Galland, forthcoming. 8. The recently abolished Greater Copenhagen Authority (Hovedstadens Udviklingsråd) prepared the last regional plan for the area in 2005. The new 2007 directive largely builds on this plan. References Albrechts, L. (2004) Strategic (spatial) planning re-examined, Environment and Planning B: Planning and Design, 31(5), pp. 743–758. Albrechts, L., Alden, J. & Da Rosa Pires, A. (Eds) (2001) The Changing Institutional Landscape of Planning (Aldershot: Ashgate). Albrechts, L., Healey, P. & Kunzmann, K. R. (2003) Strategic spatial planning and regional governance in Europe, Journal of the American Planning Association, 69(2), pp. 113–129. Amin, A. & Thrift, N. (1995) Globalisation, institutional “thickness” and the local economy, in: P. Healey, S. Cameron & S. Davoudi (Eds) Managing Cities: The New Urban Context, pp. 91–108 (Chichester: John Wiley). Brenner, N. (2004) Urban governance and the production of new state spaces in Western Europe, 1960–2000, Review of International Political Economy, 11(3), pp. 447–488. Brenner, N. (2006) New State Spaces: Urban Governance and the Rescaling of Statehood (Oxford: Oxford University Press). CEC (Commission of the European Communities) (1997) The EU Compendium of Spatial Planning Systems and Policies (Luxembourg: European Commission: Office for Official Publications of the European Communities). CEC (Commission of the European Communities) (1999) The EU Compendium of Spatial Planning Systems and Policies – Denmark (Luxembourg: European Commission: Office for Official Publications of the European Communities). Christaller, W. (1966) Central Places in Southern Germany (Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall).


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