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The Metropolitan Green Belt ‐ changing an institution

Mace, Alan ORCID: 0000-0001-9920-8765 (2018) The Metropolitan Green Belt ‐ changing an institution. Progress in Planning, 121. pp. 1-28. ISSN 0305-9006

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Identification Number: 10.1016/j.progress.2017.01.001


The Metropolitan Green Belt (MGB) was established in the 1930s and has expanded enormously since. Accompanying polices, including New Towns, have since been abandoned, leaving the MGB as an ‘orphaned’ policy which constrains land supply. Prioritising the reuse of Brownfield land and densification are now the counter to land constraint. However, it is argued that these are not sufficient to meet the housing crisis in London and the Wider South East. Moreover, academics have pointed out for decades that strong land constraint has led to chronic housing problems, including poor internal space standards and the high cost of housing in the ‘mega‐region’. However, despite decades of academic discussion concerning the chronic housing problems it contributes to, and the more immediate crisis, the MGB remains a bluntly applied planning tool and carries with it no serious political discussion of reform. Piecemeal change has taken and still takes place, but this has led to a series of battles that have not achieved the core task of signalling the intention to make a sustained and substantial change to policies of land constraint. In order to chart a possible path to reform the starting point is to approach the MGB as an institution, and this includes tracing the significance of how it developed historically, and in particular the confusion over the full extent of its purposes and, thus, the real range of its benefits. A second strand is a consideration of the different reasons why people commit to institutions, and how this differentially impacts the way in which they respond and/or seek to drive institutional change. Using these insights, existing proposals for change are critiqued and then an alternative is proposed that seeks to respond to the ‘rational’ and ‘normative’ drivers of support for the MGB. Keywords:

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2017 Elsevier
Divisions: Geography & Environment
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GF Human ecology. Anthropogeography
H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
Date Deposited: 17 Jan 2017 16:28
Last Modified: 01 Jun 2024 03:27

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