Despite planning’s strong commitment to participation, the efficacy of our planning systems tends to be almost exclusively evaluated on the basis of performance-based indictors associated with service delivery (e.g. speed of decisions), instead of being steered by public perceptions and attitudes. This project seeks to address this discrepancy by providing a rare insight into how a broad spectrum of stakeholders (citizens, planners, politicians, private and voluntary interests) view the planning system. It centres on a major online survey that yielded over 1000 responses throughout Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland and Wales that explored:
- Stakeholder views of how planning delivers the public interest;
- Perceived relationships between stakeholders; and
- Priorities for planning reform.
Wordcloud generated from SEPP survey data
By building on a previous survey of stakeholder opinion carried out in 2011, the project also offers a unique opportunity to explore whether attitudes towards Northern Ireland’s planning system have changed since significant reforms were introduced there in 2015. The research highlights what amounts to a widespread crisis of confidence in planning and signals the need to think differently about how we measure the performance of our planning systems. This project will be of particular interest to planning professionals, politicians and voluntary sector interests who wish to carve out an alternative (and more democratic) reform agenda in planning.
SEPP coverage in the BBC
SEPP coverage in The Planner