Introduction: Contradictions of Neoliberal Urban Plannin

  • Tuna Taşan-Kok
Part of the GeoJournal Library book series (GEJL, volume 102)


Neoliberalisation manifests itself as a ‘prevailing pattern of market-oriented, market-disciplinary regulatory restructuring’ (Peck, Theodore, & Brenner, 2009, p. 51). The neoliberalisation of social, economic and political processes pervades urban development, planning and governance discourses and practices, and pushes them in a market-oriented direction; however the terms ‘neoliberalisation’ and ‘planning’ are seldom heard together in the same phrase. The concept of neoliberal planning may actually seem to be a contradiction in terms to some planners; while to others it may be a signal to ‘give up’. The neoliberal city actually exists, as does neoliberal urban planning; but as urban planning becomes increasingly neoliberal and entrepreneurial, serious contradictions arise in the governance of cities. The fragmented and divergent array of planning responses to the neoliberalisation of political-economic urban policies is treated in this book as a manifestation of the neoliberalisation of planning. In this respect, a neoliberal approach does not necessarily mean catering to the needs and demands of private market actors, but rather underlines the challenges to planning in neoliberalising cities, which need to respond to contradictory processes. Neoliberal planning can best be understood as the embodiment of a set of contradictory urbanities that typify contemporary urban neoliberalism across the Western world (Baeten, Chapter 2, this volume).


Urban Development Property Market Planning Institution Ambivalent Position Planning Profession 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



The author wishes to express her utmost gratitude to Prof. Dr. Ilhan Tekeli for sparing valuable time to comment and make suggestions for this chapter.


  1. Albrechts, L. (1991). Changing roles and positions of planners. Urban Studies, 28(1), 123–137.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Albrechts, L. (2004). Strategic (spatial) planning re-examined. Environment and Planning B: Planning and Design, 31(5), 743–758.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Alexander, E. R. (2008). Between state and market: A third way of planning. International Planning Studies, 13(2), 119–132.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Altshuler, A. (1966). The city planning process: A political analysis. Ithaca, NY: Cornell.Google Scholar
  5. Birch, K., & Mykhnenko, V. (2009). Varieties of capitalism? Restructuring in large industrially dependent regions across Western and Eastern Europe. Journal of Economic Geography. doi: 10.1093/jeg/lbn058:1–26.Google Scholar
  6. Brenner, N. (2004). New state spaces: Urban governance and the rescaling of statehood. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  7. Brenner, N. (2006). Global cities, ‘Glocal states’: Global city formation and state territorial restructuring in contemporary Europe. In N. Brenner & R. Keil (Eds.), The global cities reader (pp. 259–267). Oxon: Routledge.Google Scholar
  8. Brenner, N., & Theodore, N. (2002). Cities and geographies of “actually existing neoliberalisms”. Antipode, 34, 349–379.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Fainstein, S. (1994). The city builders: Property, politics and planning in London and New York. Oxford: Blackwell.Google Scholar
  10. Foucault, M. (1982). The subject and power. In H. Dreyfus & P. Rainbow (Eds.), Michael Foucault: Beyond structuralism and hermeneutics (pp. 208–226). Brighton: Harvester.Google Scholar
  11. Hall, P., & Soskice, D. (2001). Varieties of capitalism: The institutional foundations of comparative advantage. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  12. Harvey, D. (1989). From managerialism to entrepreneurialism: The transformation in urban governance in late capitalism. Geografiska Annaler B, 71(1), 3–17.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Harvey, D. (2005). A brief history of neoliberalism. Oxford; New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  14. Healey, P. (2004). The treatment of space and place in the new strategic planning in Europe. International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, 28(1), 45–67.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Healey, P., & Williams, R. (1993). European urban planning systems: Diversity and convergence. Urban Studies, 30(4/5), 701–720.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Jessop, B. (1993). Towards a Schumpeterian workfare state? Preliminary remarks on post-fordist political economy. Studies in Political Economy, 40, 7–40.Google Scholar
  17. Larner, W. (2003). Guest editorial: Neoliberalism? Environment and Planning D: Society and Space, 21, 509–512.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Le Gales, P. (2001). Urban governance and policy networks: On the urban political boundedness of policy networks. A French case study. Public Administration, 79(1), 167–184.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Leitner, H., Sheppard, E. S., Sziarto, K., & Maringanyi, A. (2007). Contesting urban futures: Decentering neoliberalism. In H. Leitner, J. Peck, & E. S. Shepard (Eds.), Contesting neoliberalism: Urban frontiers (pp. 1–26). New York: The Guilford Press.Google Scholar
  20. Motte, A. (1994). Innovation in development plan-making in France 1967–1993. In P. Healey (Ed.), Trends in development-plan making in European planning systems (pp. 90–103). Newcastle upon Tyne: University of Newcastle upon Tyne, Department of Town and Country Planning.Google Scholar
  21. Myers, D., & Banerjee, T. (2005). Toward greater heights for planning. Journal of American Planning Association, 71(2), 121–129.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Peck, J. (2001). Neoliberalizing states: Thin policies/hard outcomes. Progress in Human Geography, 25, 445–455.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Peck, J., Theodore, N., & Brenner, N. (2009). Neoliberal urbanism: Models, moments, mutations. SAIS Review, XXIX(1), 49–66.Google Scholar
  24. Swyngedouw, E. (1997). Neither global nor local: ‘Glocalisation’ and the politics of scale. In K. Cox (Ed.), Spaces of globalisation (pp. 137–166). New York: Guilford Press.Google Scholar
  25. Swyngedouw, E. (2005). Governance innovation and the citizen: The Janus face of governance-beyond-state. Urban Studies, 42(11), 1991–2006.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Swyngedouw, E., Moulaert, F., & Rodriguez, A. (2002). Neoliberal urbanisation in Europe: Large-scale urban development projects and the new urban policy. Antipode, 34(3), 542–575.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Taşan-Kok, T. (2004). Budapest, Istanbul, and Warsaw: Institutional and spatial change. Delft: Eburon Academic Publishers.Google Scholar
  28. Taşan-Kok, T. (2008). Changing interpretations of ‘flexibility’ in the planning literature: From opportunism to creativity? International Planning Studies, 13(3), 183–195.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Van den Broeck, P. (2008). The changing position of strategic spatial planning in Flanders. A socio-political and instrument-based perspective. International Planning Studies, 13(3), 261–283.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Webster, C. J. (2002). Property rights and the public realm: Gates, green-belts and Gemeinshaft. Environment and Planning B, 29(3), 397–412.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.OTB Research Institute for the Built Environment, Delft University of TechnologyDelftThe Netherlands

Personalised recommendations