Alessandro Di Stefano (UCL) - 2023-24 Students

The effects of contractualisation on planning processes and decision-making: a comparative analysis of actors and interests in English and French planning law.

Planning and planning law are at the core of many pressing challenges ranging from environmental, climate and social challenges to the provision of creative spaces as well as ways of manifesting and implementing State power. To tackle these challenges, the proposed research is to unveil by whom and how decisions are taken that, subtly but substantially, shape our every-day lives, in the short- and the long-run. Who and what do we create spaces for and why – how can ambitions of equitable, diverse, sustainable, democratic and transparent place-making be achieved? In fact, if the promises of levelling up are to be honoured, if green and liveable environments, cultural heritage and spaces for creative expression are to be preserved and recovered, really understanding how planning decisions are made is crucial to such an undertaking.
With this in mind, this research seeks to analyse the increased role of private market actors in the implementation of local and national planning policy and statute which can often be seen in greater use of private contractual obligations by administrative authorities. The ways in which this contractual association of different actors and interests to planning decision-making fits with ambitions to prioritise transparency, public participation and democratisation are complex. These issues directly impact what and who places are made for. This project will scrutinise, in England and France, the contractualisation of planning decision-making processes, exploring real-world development projects. It will enhance our understanding of these processes and their socio-spatial consequences.

Primary supervisor: Prof Maria Lee

Secondary supervisor: Dr Lucinda Miller

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