Planning and the Technological Society: Discussing the London Plan


The sustainable development agenda has influenced the focus of urban planning policy in many countries and localities; this article argues that its influence has been much more widespread, affecting not just the content of planning but also its discourses and practices. This reflects more profound shifts within society — shifts that put the governance of technology firmly centre‐place. Using a case study of the London Plan (the spatial development strategy for London), the discussion considers how recent debates on the Plan are being shaped by the need to focus on technological issues. Using Barry’s and Feenberg’s explorations of the technological society, the analysis identifies key features such as the contestation of evidence and expertise, the focus on technical details and the resultant reframing of policy discourse. The article concludes with suggestions as to the ways in which planning may change in the future.