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Spatial plans as relational data: Using social network analysis to assess consistency among Bucharest’s planning instruments

Simona Bacău, Simona R. Grădinaru and Anna M. Hersperger

Land Use Policy, 2020, vol. 92, issue C

Abstract: Globally, planning instruments help shape the development of places under uncertain future conditions. In the context of a multi-level planning system, both land-use and strategic spatial plans are available, mandated by different policies and adopted by various authorities. Notwithstanding the excellent support consistency among such plans can provide for their transformative capacity, studies analyzing how plans interact, forming complex relationships, are rare. Treating plans as relational data gives insights into the outcomes acquired by a network compared to the transformations enabled by a single plan. As the theory of networks prevails for handling relational data, we applied social network analysis to evaluate external consistency among 10 plans of Bucharest, Romania and the surrounding region. All plans are currently in force, have spatial implications, and refer to different administrative levels and sectors, from the metropolitan to the sub-district level and from land-use and transportation to environmental plans. We first developed a framework for consistency assessment, covering four categories of external consistency. Second, following these categories, we extracted relevant plan statements from all plans. Third, we assigned one-way, symmetrical and contradictory relationships between the plan statements. Fourth, using directed and valued network analyses we assessed consistencies, inconsistencies and contradictions between plans. Finally, we validated the results by applying questionnaires to local experts. Our results indicate that consistency among Bucharest’s plans is high on a temporal scale regarding issues and general measures, but low for spatialized planning intentions on both vertical and horizontal scales. We discuss consequences of these findings for the transformative capacity of plans and the effectiveness of plan-implementation.

Keywords: Bucharest; External consistency; Multi-level planning system; Network analysis; Plan; statements (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2020
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DOI: 10.1016/j.landusepol.2020.104484

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