Skip to Main Content
Have library access? Log in through your library
Building sustainable communities

Building sustainable communities: Spatial policy and labour mobility in post-war Britain

Mike Raco
Copyright Date: 2007
  • Cite this Item
  • Book Info
    Building sustainable communities
    Book Description:

    In 2003 the Labour Government published its ambitious Sustainable Communities Plan. It promised to bring about a 'step change' in the English planning system and a new emphasis on the construction of more balanced, cohesive, and competitive places. This book uses historical and contemporary materials to document the ways in which policy-makers, in different eras, have sought to use state powers and regulations to create better, more balanced, and sustainable communities and citizens. It charts the changes that have take place in community-building policy frameworks, place imaginations, and core spatial policy initiatives in the UK since 1945. In so doing, it examines the tensions that have emerged within spatial policy over the types of places that should be created and the forms of mobility and fixity required to create them. It also shows that there are significant lessons that can be learnt from the experiences of the past. These can be used to inform contemporary policy debates over issues such as migration, uneven development, key worker housing, and sustainability. The book will be an important text for students and researchers in geography, urban studies, planning, and modern social history. It will also be of interest to practitioners working in central and local government, voluntary organisations, community groups, and those involved in the planning and design of sustainable communities.

    eISBN: 978-1-84742-176-0
    Subjects: Sociology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-ii)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. iii-vi)
  3. List of tables, figures and boxes
    (pp. vii-viii)
  4. Acknowledgements
    (pp. ix-x)
  5. ONE Changing times, changing places
    (pp. 1-18)

    The coming to power of the Blair government in 1997 promised a new era for the politics and practices of spatial development in the UK. Under the Thatcher and Major administrations inter- and intraregional inequalities grew inexorably, not only as a consequence of wider economic processes but also as part of a deliberate strategy to promote the economic growth and competitiveness of the South and East of England (see Jones, 1997). The emphasis was on supporting those individuals, businesses, and places that were already seen to be globally competitive and successful and reducing support for those whose citizens were perceived...

  6. Part One: Conceptualising spatial policy

    • TWO Conceptualising sustainable communities: place-making and labour market-building
      (pp. 21-44)

      Conceptions of sustainable and balanced communities are premised on the formation and retention of functioninglabour markets.Labour is a ‘commodity’ unlike any other in that its regulation, control, and reproduction is an inherently social and political, as well as an economic, process (Jessop, 1990; Harvey, 1994; Jones, 1999). On the one hand, labour power represents a factor ofproductionin that it is a core requirement for the accumulation of profit. Workers with the appropriate skills or ‘human capital’ are a necessary element in the production and delivery of goods and services. On the other hand, the reproduction of...

  7. Part Two: Post-war spatial policy, 1945-79

    • THREE Reconstruction, regional policy, and labour market-building: inter-regional labour transfer policies in the post-war period
      (pp. 47-76)

      The period from 1945 to the late 1970s is often characterised as the high water mark of direct state intervention in the spatial economy of the UK. The experiences of recession in the 1930s and the obvious achievements of the wartime administrations created a political climate in which strong welfare state programmes and strategies could be established and implemented. The provision of a just and equitable spatial distribution of work and economic activity was seen as a moral requirement for the state and from the end of the Second World War up until the late 1970s both Conservative and Labour...

    • FOUR Building balanced labour markets in the post-war New Towns
      (pp. 77-108)

      At the same time as post-war governments were seeking to encourage employers to move to DAs, they were also embarking on a longerterm strategy to redistribute populations and employment away from the large conurbations. The Second World War had exacerbated the housing problems of Britain’s cities and demonstrated the potential effectiveness of decentralisation strategies. The resulting development of New and Expanding Towns (NETs) in the post-war period was to become one of the most significant spatial development programmes ever undertaken in any European country. This chapter assesses the rationalities and practices involved in the building of the NETs and focuses...

    • FIVE Economic modernisation and post-war emigration and immigration
      (pp. 109-142)

      Labour mobility programmes in the post-war decades were not only concerned with the movement of workers within the UK. Debates over whose presence or absence was necessary in the pursuit of economic growth and community well-being also related to broader questions concerning international migration and the types of policy that the UK should pursue. On the one hand, the supportedemigrationof workers to expanding parts of the Commonwealth had represented a key foreign and economic policy objective since the late 19th century. The mission to ‘people the Commonwealth’ with UK subjects was seen to have both political and economic...

  8. Part Three: Post-war spatial policy, 1979-2006

    • SIX The reconstruction of regional policy and the remaking of the competitive region
      (pp. 145-166)

      The election of the Thatcher government in May 1979 heralded a new era of spatial policy in the UK. The political and economic crises of the mid-1970s and the acceptance of International Monetary Fund loans, under the Callaghan government, had already reduced the scale of support for the Development Areas (DAs). However, from 1979, the rationalities, objectives, and scale of regional policy began to undergo a more significant change. What emerged, as Jones (1997) suggests, was a new strategy of ‘spatial selection’ in which the needs of growth areas would be prioritised in the drive for greater national economic competitiveness....

    • SEVEN Sustainable community-building under New Labour
      (pp. 167-198)

      Chapter Six discussed the evolution of the new regionalism within spatial policy and the ways in which successive administrations have put greater emphasis on policy-makers, communities, and individuals to take greater responsibility for their own well-being. Within this context there has been a growing emphasis on the role that spatial planning can play in delivering the new agendas and how economic and social spaces can be made more balanced and ordered to support wider policy objectives. Since the early 2000s these priorities have been encapsulated in the emergence of sustainable community planning that seeks to create new places in which:...

    • EIGHT Managed migration, sustainable community-building, and international labour movements
      (pp. 199-228)

      The discourse of globalisation is inherently bound up with the increased mobility of information, capital, and people (see Arte-Scholte, 2003). It is presented by some as representing a new era in which such flows are becoming quantitatively and qualitatively more significant and in which there is a new freedom of movement (see Ohmae, 1997; Gogia, 2006). However, within this wider discourse the movement of labour between countries has been anything but free and the whole question of labour mobility has become one of the most politically contentious aspects of change. Critics of globalisation point to its inconsistencies. On the one...

    • NINE Spatial policy, sustainable communities, and labour market-building: towards a new research agenda
      (pp. 229-242)

      Never has Claus Offe’s (1985) observation that modern policy-making involves a ‘restless search’ for new and better ways of doing things seemed more apt or appropriate (see Healey, 1997). The combination of a modernising Labour government, ongoing globalisation, the growing importance of new technologies and virtual spaces, and changing imaginations about how economies and societies function, has produced a dynamic and rapidly changing policy environment. Modernisation, change, and fluidity have become the new mantras of governance, with citizens and communities given the increasingly blunt message that changes in the regulation and organisation of the welfare state and labour markets are...

  9. References
    (pp. 243-262)
  10. Index
    (pp. 263-267)