Housing supply: anti-bad planning

It doesn’t call itself a report but…the RTPI have recently released a position paper on planning and the housing market.  Not surprisingly, it makes the case (quite well, actually) for a better co-ordinated approach to housing production.   Lots of the recommendations are quite familiar from previous reports  –  – local authorities should be more pro-active in promoting and executing residential development projects, funding for infrastructure needs to be increased and land value capture mechanisms to fund infrastructure need to be improved, the diversity of suppliers of new housing needs to be increased with encouragement for small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs), housing associations and local authorities, transparency in land markets should be improved, planning departments should be better resourced etc.  Nothing really new – but it’s well-argued, up-to-date and comprehensive.

One irritation is the constant referral in the paper to the strawman ‘anti-planner’.  This seems to me to be an attempt to de-legitimise any criticism of the planning system by a kind of adversarial framing.  It’s a bit like labelling anyone who criticises a child’s behaviour as being ‘anti-child’.  Surely you can criticise the planning system without being anti-planning.  Most critics of how the planning system is currently operating would recognise the need to have a land use regulatory system.  There are a few ideologues out there on both sides and there can be incentives to make eye-catching pronouncements but I’d say that most analysts are mainly anti-bad planning and pro-good planning.  They’ve just got different takes on what each one involves.

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