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Hard, soft and thin governance spaces in land-use change: comparing office-to-residential conversions in England, Scotland and the Netherlands

Canelas, P; Clifford, B; Ferm, J; Livingstone, N; (2021) Hard, soft and thin governance spaces in land-use change: comparing office-to-residential conversions in England, Scotland and the Netherlands. European Planning Studies pp. 1-19. 10.1080/09654313.2021.1985084. (In press). Green open access

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Abstract

In recent years, converting office buildings to residential use became a high-profile issue in the UK and in the Netherlands. There has, however, been differentiation in the policy response between England and Scotland (planning policy being devolved within the UK), and the Netherlands. We conceptualize this differentiation through the lens of variegated neoliberalism in the forms of hard, soft and thin governance spaces. England, where planning deregulation is more strongly adopted, represents a thin governance space. Scotland, where there has been little policy change, illustrates a hard governance space. The Netherlands represents a soft governance space, where proactive partnerships between government and developers predominate. This paper characterizes these distinct governance spaces and explores their impact on housing delivery and place-making, and the impact of underlying ideologies and planning culture(s) in governing office-to-residential conversions in the three countries. Drawing on national government assessments and statistics, interviews with stakeholders, and case study data from three cities: Leeds, Glasgow and Rotterdam, we conclude that while both hard and soft governance spaces, to different degrees and with different merits, are environments that enable planning, thin governance spaces – being driven more by ideology than notions of good governance – imply weak planning and place-making.

Type: Article
Title: Hard, soft and thin governance spaces in land-use change: comparing office-to-residential conversions in England, Scotland and the Netherlands
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1080/09654313.2021.1985084
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1080/09654313.2021.1985084
Language: English
Additional information: © 2021 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/), which permits non-commercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, and is not altered, transformed, or built upon in any way.
Keywords: Change of use; office-to-residential; planning; permitted development; deregulation; governance spaces
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of the Built Environment
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of the Built Environment > The Bartlett School of Planning
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10135473
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