Fifty Years of Commentary on the Lack of Plan Monitoring

18 August 2018

I am preparing a new publication so I was looking at this again today. I present five decades of commentary around the neglect of monitoring in planning practice.

"Implementation methodology thus becomes a critical feature and provides the ultimate test of planning effectiveness. Its relative neglect, compared with the resources devoted to generating elaborate forecasting, simulation and evaluation technologies, reflects the scanty treatment given to 'implementation-monitoring- feedback-review' procedures which are usually appended to the notions and models of idealized planning processes which continue to be enthusiastically promulgated in multifarious variations and permutations."

Paul A. Haynes 1974 p.5 - Towards a Concept of Monitoring (Haynes, 1974)

"All of these various ways of denying the need for research into the actual effects of planning, I regard as mistaken in terms of epistemology. But further, I would agree with Popper that they reflect a cast of mind which is incipiently (albeit mildly, benignly and unconsciously) totalitarian"

Eric Reade 1987 p.89 - British Town and Country Planning (Reade, 1987)

"While implementation research consumes the activities of a good number of scholars from the fields of political science, public administration and management science, there has been a curious lack of parallel inquiry into the implementation processes involved in the planning field"

Emily Talen 1996 p.248 - Do Plans Get Implemented? A Review of Evaluation in Planning (Talen, 1996b)

"While evaluation and implementation techniques are well developed in the policy sciences, understanding how to assess implementation remains an elusive endeavor in planning, and this is often criticized as a major shortcoming in the field. Lack of data, methods, and empirical enquiry makes it difficult to respond to critics who consider plans to be "dead on arrival" or paper shells that are never put into action."

Samuel D. Brody and Wesley E. Highfield 2005 p.159 - Does Planning Work? Testing the Implementation of Local Environmental Planning in Florida (Brody and Highfield, 2005)

"Plan evaluation is a relatively unexplored territory despite research contributions over the past 15 years … These researchers have only begun to lay the foundation for further advancements in the area of outcome evaluation in planning."

Dave Guyadeen and Mark Seasons 2016 p.215 - Plan Evaluation: Challenges and Directions for Future Research (Guyadeen and Seasons, 2016)

"Monitoring the impact of a local plan should be an essential part of a plan-led system Unless you measure how the built environment has changed, there is no hope of understanding whether policies have had the impact intended or learn from and improve policies in the future. Yet most planning authorities struggle with even the seemingly simple task of counting the number of new homes completed in their area in any one year."

Nissa Shahid 2018 - Innovation in Monitoring Housing Delivery

Let me know by Twitter @ClaireCities!