Thursday, 10 November 2011

The "functionalism monopoly"


Not a term of mine but one dropped from the lips of Lord Heseltine.

"Functionalism monopoly" describes the way in which the silos of national government - health, education, welfare, business, environment and so forth - develop a supplier/client relationship with the parallel local silos. This arrangement squeezes out the idea of place - local arrangements cannot cut across the silo barriers because they are dependent on the national government client for funds, power, influence and functional success.

It's absolutely true - as anyone with any understanding of local government could tell you.

This was the highlight of a Town & Country Planning Association event in Liverpool today. Competing for the low point were Dr Hugh Ellis, TCPA's head planner who wanted the "duty to co-operate" to apply to the private sector and a presentation of monumental shallowness and bias from Jo Boaden, Chief Executive of the Northern Housing Consortium.

...and I agree with Michael Heseltine about elected mayors by the way! And on why we don't need any more strategies:

Responding to comments from delegates on the importance of cities having a clear, regional planning strategy, Heseltine said: "Let’s assume I was a mayor, and someone said, ‘We must have an RSS,’ I have to confess that my shoulders would sag.

"I would respond, ‘I have 25 ideas that need implementing – they are not all coordinated and I don’t need to have an RSS. Instead, I need the flexibility to respond to different situations.

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"The thing is that cities change all the time: things happen and you can spend your entire life planning and constantly having to change those plans. I’m sorry to say that if someone had told me we need to put together an RSS, I would have said, I’m sorry, I have a job to do."


1 comment:

Mike Chitty said...

The days of the strategic plan are over. At least for a while. Though I suspect most councils will take another decade to figure that out and perhaps another decade to find out what they should do instead. Responsiveness, bottom up and emergence offer us clues. Bottom Up Is The New Black.