Inch A, 2012, "Creating 'a generation of NIMBYs'? Interpreting the role of the state in managing the politics of urban development" Environment and Planning C: Government and Policy 30(3) 520 – 535
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Creating 'a generation of NIMBYs'? Interpreting the role of the state in managing the politics of urban development
Abstract. The traditional relationship between politics and policy making has been
challenged in recent years, highlighting how policy itself can generate political action.
This raises questions about how conflict produced or mediated through the policy process
is managed, particularly within what has been described as a 'postpolitical settlement'
where fundamental politicoideological issues are liable to be 'displaced' rather than
opened up for debate. I argue that such displacement generates its own distinctive
politicomanagerial logic. Drawing on the discourses and practices of planning reform in
England, I suggest that ongoing systemic reform might be understood as a product of a
politics of displacement that seeks to cover over the causes of the antagonism generated
by the logic of urban development. Tracing this logic through the policy process, I further
suggest that displacement has a range of underexamined effects on local democracy and
the legitimacy of local government.
Keywords: planning reform, antagonism, politics of displacement, 'thick skinned' governance
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