Conceptualizing the Policy Tools of Spatial Planning

Dominic Stead*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


While many policy tools can be used to develop spatial plans and implement their goals, there have been very few academic attempts to classify and illustrate the whole range of tools available. This article reviews the different ways in which planning tools have been conceptualized to date and highlights a wide variation in their interpretation. Building directly on literature from policy studies, a new classification is put forward which has many potential applications in studying spatial planning governance. As well as distinguishing between four main policy types (nodality, authority, treasure, and organization), the classification differentiates between procedural and substantive tools.

Original languageEnglish
Article number0885412221992283
Number of pages15
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 3 Mar 2021
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • governance
  • planning theory
  • policy tools
  • public administration

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