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Planning for transitions? A case study of Frome, Somerset (UK)

Burnett, A. (2019) Planning for transitions? A case study of Frome, Somerset (UK). PhD thesis, University of Reading

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Abstract/Summary

This thesis explores how ‘formalised’ policies, practices, and spheres of governance relate to ‘bottom-up’ activities in pursuit of new models of socio-political development in and around the planning process. In particular, whether rights bestowed to local authorities under the Localism Act (2011) offer a mechanism to lock-in relocalised (ultra-local, sustainable) or subversive agendas within mainstream development processes. The case study of the market town of Frome (Somerset, UK) has pushed an innovative sustainable placemaking agenda since a group of town councillors who reject party politics, the Independents for Frome (IfF), were elected in 2011. Using Qualitative Content Analysis (QCA), this study explores the conditions for the influence of relocalised actors and entities on Frome’s placemaking and politics, whether ‘niche’ protagonists possess and retain this identity when occupying formal spaces of power, and the role of the ‘regime’ in cultivating and contesting or development alternatives and broader shifts in environmental, social and political arrangements. The findings reveal autonomy and independence as crucial frames used to justify an orchestration of transition governance, with both emergent and strategic foundations. Pre-existing ties and reciprocity helped to express and advance relocalised place-based artefacts using the structures of the state to weave in institutionalised forms of alternative governance to support local placemaking initiatives. Multiple praxes of the niche and planning and party-political ‘regimes’ were invoked, rendering the terms more fluid than is typically understood within intersecting regimes of transition. The findings highlight a need for greater attention to the cultural qualities of placemaking and scale as a basis for social ties that support inclusive and emergent governance. Cycles of transition and the intergenerational phases between old and new were key drivers in transition processes for individuals and organisations. The notion of placemaking transitions is offered to explore how the politics of place influences sustainability transition arenas.

Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
Thesis Supervisor:Nunes, R. and Parker, G.
Thesis/Report Department:Henley Business School
Identification Number/DOI:
Divisions:Henley Business School > Real Estate and Planning
ID Code:85827

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