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Why the National Spatial Strategy
failed and prospects for the National
Planning Framework
Prof. Rob Kitchin
24th June 2015
• National Spatial Strategy was launched in December 2002
“a 20-year strategy designed to enable every place in the country to reach
its potential, no matter what its size or location. It recognises that the
various regions of the country have different roles. It seeks to organise
and co-ordinate these roles in a complementary, win win way. It is
about making regions competitive according to their strengths and not
against one another; about ensuring a high quality urban environment, as
well as vibrant rural areas.
In order to achieve more balanced regional development, a greater share
of economic activity must take place outside the Greater Dublin Area.
To achieve that the National Spatial Strategy sets out a framework for
gateways, hubs and other urban and rural areas to act together. This
framework will open up new opportunities in the regions and give people
greater choice in relation to where they work and live.
The National Spatial Strategy will enable all sectors of the economy to
plan future investment in a better-informed way. This more coherent
planning will benefit all of us. The Government will ensure that its own
policies are implemented in a manner that is consistent with the
National Spatial Strategy.”
NSS
NSS divided up the country into five zones
and identified 18 gateways and hubs.
Consolidating the Greater Dublin Area
Strengthening the South, South East, West
and North West to complement Dublin
Revitalising the West and South West
Reinforcing central parts of Ireland and the
South East
Co-operating in an all-island context.
9 Gateways were: Dublin, Cork, Galway,
Limerick, Waterford, Dundalk, Sligo,
Letterkenny/Derry,
Athlone/Tullamore/Mullingar.
9 Hubs were: Cavan, Ennis, Kilkenny,
Mallow, Monaghan, Tuam, Wexford,
Ballina/Castlebar and Tralee/Killarney.
A brief of NSS: Phase 1 - Foundations
• 1963: Local Government (Planning and Development) Act 1963.
• 1986: Urban Renewal Act 1986 (DoF)
• 1994: 8 regional authorities established (through Local Government
Act 1991) (DoE)
• 1997: Sustainable Development - A Strategy for Ireland (DoE)
• Nov 1997: Initiation of National Development Plan (NDP) 2000-
2006 (DoF)
• March 1998: Finance Act 1998. (DoF)
• 1999: European Spatial Development Perspective (ESDP); GDA
strategic planning guidelines
• Nov 1999: National Development Plan (NDP) 2000-2006 published
(DoF)
• 2000: Planning and Development Act 2000. (DEHLG)
• Sept 2001: Regional Development Strategy for Northern Ireland
2025 (DRD)
A brief of NSS: Phase 2 – Rollout & floundering
• Dec 2002: The National Spatial Strategy (NSS) 2002 – 2020.
(DEHLG)
• Dec 2002: Planning and Development (Amendment) Act 2002
published.
• Dec 2003: Government Decentralization Programme (DoF)
• Mid 2004: Regional Planning Guidelines (RPGs) (DEHLG)
• 2006: National Development Plan (NDP) 2007-2013 (DoF)
• 2008: Ireland enters crisis. Gateways Initiative Fund cut (DEHLG)
• July 2010: Planning and Development (Amendment) Bill 2010
(DEHLG)
• Oct 2010: NSS Update and Outlook published. (DEHLG)
A brief of NSS: Phase 3 – Disintegration
• Late 2010: NDP 2007-2013 terminated and succeeded by a
National Recovery Plan 2011-2014 (DPER)
• Nov 2011: Infrastructure and Capital Investment 2012-16 (DPER)
• Feb 2013: NSS 2002-2020 officially scrapped by Minister (DEHLG)
• Dec 2013: Medium Term Economic Strategy 2014-2020 (DoF)
• May 2014: Construction 2020 (GoI)
• May 2014: Local Government Act 1991 (Regional Authorities)
(Amendment) Order 2014. (DECLG)
• June 2014: Local Government Reform Act 2014. (DECLG)
• Jan 2015: Planning and Development (No.2) Bill 2014 and Planning
Policy Statement 2015. (DEHLG)
• Feb 2015: Framework for the Development of Regional Enterprise
Strategies (DJEI)
Why did the NSS fail?
(1) The strategy was flawed
• (a) It sought to be all things to all people; to create a win-win
situation whereby every area was to grow in population and
resources.
• (b) There were too many gateways and hubs, spread too thinly to
provide an effective counterweight to GDA. Plus, there were issues
of critical mass of gateways/hubs
• (c) Political interference in the selection of gateways and hubs
• (d) The linked concept was based on polycentric development that
happens around large cities. It was applied to small towns that had
little interaction. It should have linked gateways and hubs around a
handful of city-regions.
• (e) It had some regard but was not fully aligned with RDS in
Northern Ireland.
Why did the NSS fail?
(2) Temporal misalignment
• (a) It missed its logical initial resourcing stream, the NDP 2000-
06.
• (b) It did underpin the NDP 2007-13, but then the crisis hit, the
NDP faltered and the resources allocated for NSS initiatives
evaporated.
•
Why did the NSS fail?
(3) Wilfully undermined and not supported by government, lack of
cross-department alignment
• (a) Lack of statuary footing for hierarchical planning
• (b) Decentralisation programme & policies such as Upper Shannon
Rural Renewal Scheme cut across and ignored NSS policy
• (c) Lack of political and public support in general for plan-led
development
• (d) DoF and DECLG pursue their own agendas that sometimes
have ‘due regard’ to each other, however economists and planners
do not share same worldview or approach. When the crisis hit
economists reverted to type (macro- and sectoral) and spatial
planning went out the window.
Will the National Planning Framework succeed?
• At present, local, regional and national development is being
driven by five initiatives:
• 350 County/City and Local development plans, RPGs and
legacy of NSS (DECLG)
• Construction 2020 (DECLG)
• Medium Term Economic Strategy 2014-2020 (DPER)
• Infrastructure and Capital Investment 2012-16 (DPER)
• Framework for the Development of Regional Enterprise
Strategies (DJEI)
•
• The first will be reconfigured, with the NPF replacing the NSS
Will the National Planning Framework succeed?
“The objective of the National Planning Framework
shall be to establish a broad national plan for the
Government in relation to the strategic planning
of urban and rural areas to secure balanced
regional development and overall proper planning
and sustainable development and the co-
ordination of regional spatial and economic
strategies and city and county development
plans.”
Will the National Planning Framework succeed?
• Whether NPF delivers on mandate will depend on:
• (1) Not trying to be all things to all people and embracing spatial
selectivity, inc. reducing no. gateways/hubs and planning for
population decline in some areas
• (2) Recognizing the NPF should be a top-level economic,
planning and infrastructure policy and aligning all such policies,
plus all other sectoral strategies (e.g., housing, health, transport)
and regional and local policies
• (3) An accompanying implementation plan, with set goals,
measures of success, and resourcing mechanisms
• (4) Government not to undermine its own policy either through
contra-policies or politicians exercising localism or stroke politics
• (5) Local authorities, regional assemblies, and local politicians
rolling with rather than pushing against the NPF
Conclusion
• The Celtic Tiger happened without the benefits of strategic spatial
planning and it collapsed in part for the same reason, leaving a
legacy of overdevelopment in many places.
• Poor planning was thus seen as one of the causes of the crisis and
it has not been promoted as one of the solutions, instead we have a
fracturing of planning and economic policy
• National Planning Framework if done properly will help grow the
economy, create sustainable development, and improve peoples’
quality of life.
• The challenge, however, are presently two-fold.
• First, conjoining existing national policies into a coherent top-level
strategy (inter-dept alignment) and reversing the trend to rollout
lower-level policy ahead of top-level policy (temporal alignment).
• Second, for the Government to believe in their own rhetoric and to
formulate a coherent NPF with teeth and to implement it.
All-Island Research Observatory (AIRO)
• Interactive graphing and mapping modules on housing, planning and
just about everything else
• Cover whole island with modules for every local authority

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Why the National Spatial Strategy failed and prospects for the National Planning Framework

  • 1. Why the National Spatial Strategy failed and prospects for the National Planning Framework Prof. Rob Kitchin 24th June 2015
  • 2. • National Spatial Strategy was launched in December 2002 “a 20-year strategy designed to enable every place in the country to reach its potential, no matter what its size or location. It recognises that the various regions of the country have different roles. It seeks to organise and co-ordinate these roles in a complementary, win win way. It is about making regions competitive according to their strengths and not against one another; about ensuring a high quality urban environment, as well as vibrant rural areas. In order to achieve more balanced regional development, a greater share of economic activity must take place outside the Greater Dublin Area. To achieve that the National Spatial Strategy sets out a framework for gateways, hubs and other urban and rural areas to act together. This framework will open up new opportunities in the regions and give people greater choice in relation to where they work and live. The National Spatial Strategy will enable all sectors of the economy to plan future investment in a better-informed way. This more coherent planning will benefit all of us. The Government will ensure that its own policies are implemented in a manner that is consistent with the National Spatial Strategy.”
  • 3. NSS NSS divided up the country into five zones and identified 18 gateways and hubs. Consolidating the Greater Dublin Area Strengthening the South, South East, West and North West to complement Dublin Revitalising the West and South West Reinforcing central parts of Ireland and the South East Co-operating in an all-island context. 9 Gateways were: Dublin, Cork, Galway, Limerick, Waterford, Dundalk, Sligo, Letterkenny/Derry, Athlone/Tullamore/Mullingar. 9 Hubs were: Cavan, Ennis, Kilkenny, Mallow, Monaghan, Tuam, Wexford, Ballina/Castlebar and Tralee/Killarney.
  • 4. A brief of NSS: Phase 1 - Foundations • 1963: Local Government (Planning and Development) Act 1963. • 1986: Urban Renewal Act 1986 (DoF) • 1994: 8 regional authorities established (through Local Government Act 1991) (DoE) • 1997: Sustainable Development - A Strategy for Ireland (DoE) • Nov 1997: Initiation of National Development Plan (NDP) 2000- 2006 (DoF) • March 1998: Finance Act 1998. (DoF) • 1999: European Spatial Development Perspective (ESDP); GDA strategic planning guidelines • Nov 1999: National Development Plan (NDP) 2000-2006 published (DoF) • 2000: Planning and Development Act 2000. (DEHLG) • Sept 2001: Regional Development Strategy for Northern Ireland 2025 (DRD)
  • 5. A brief of NSS: Phase 2 – Rollout & floundering • Dec 2002: The National Spatial Strategy (NSS) 2002 – 2020. (DEHLG) • Dec 2002: Planning and Development (Amendment) Act 2002 published. • Dec 2003: Government Decentralization Programme (DoF) • Mid 2004: Regional Planning Guidelines (RPGs) (DEHLG) • 2006: National Development Plan (NDP) 2007-2013 (DoF) • 2008: Ireland enters crisis. Gateways Initiative Fund cut (DEHLG) • July 2010: Planning and Development (Amendment) Bill 2010 (DEHLG) • Oct 2010: NSS Update and Outlook published. (DEHLG)
  • 6. A brief of NSS: Phase 3 – Disintegration • Late 2010: NDP 2007-2013 terminated and succeeded by a National Recovery Plan 2011-2014 (DPER) • Nov 2011: Infrastructure and Capital Investment 2012-16 (DPER) • Feb 2013: NSS 2002-2020 officially scrapped by Minister (DEHLG) • Dec 2013: Medium Term Economic Strategy 2014-2020 (DoF) • May 2014: Construction 2020 (GoI) • May 2014: Local Government Act 1991 (Regional Authorities) (Amendment) Order 2014. (DECLG) • June 2014: Local Government Reform Act 2014. (DECLG) • Jan 2015: Planning and Development (No.2) Bill 2014 and Planning Policy Statement 2015. (DEHLG) • Feb 2015: Framework for the Development of Regional Enterprise Strategies (DJEI)
  • 7. Why did the NSS fail? (1) The strategy was flawed • (a) It sought to be all things to all people; to create a win-win situation whereby every area was to grow in population and resources. • (b) There were too many gateways and hubs, spread too thinly to provide an effective counterweight to GDA. Plus, there were issues of critical mass of gateways/hubs • (c) Political interference in the selection of gateways and hubs • (d) The linked concept was based on polycentric development that happens around large cities. It was applied to small towns that had little interaction. It should have linked gateways and hubs around a handful of city-regions. • (e) It had some regard but was not fully aligned with RDS in Northern Ireland.
  • 8. Why did the NSS fail? (2) Temporal misalignment • (a) It missed its logical initial resourcing stream, the NDP 2000- 06. • (b) It did underpin the NDP 2007-13, but then the crisis hit, the NDP faltered and the resources allocated for NSS initiatives evaporated. •
  • 9. Why did the NSS fail? (3) Wilfully undermined and not supported by government, lack of cross-department alignment • (a) Lack of statuary footing for hierarchical planning • (b) Decentralisation programme & policies such as Upper Shannon Rural Renewal Scheme cut across and ignored NSS policy • (c) Lack of political and public support in general for plan-led development • (d) DoF and DECLG pursue their own agendas that sometimes have ‘due regard’ to each other, however economists and planners do not share same worldview or approach. When the crisis hit economists reverted to type (macro- and sectoral) and spatial planning went out the window.
  • 10. Will the National Planning Framework succeed? • At present, local, regional and national development is being driven by five initiatives: • 350 County/City and Local development plans, RPGs and legacy of NSS (DECLG) • Construction 2020 (DECLG) • Medium Term Economic Strategy 2014-2020 (DPER) • Infrastructure and Capital Investment 2012-16 (DPER) • Framework for the Development of Regional Enterprise Strategies (DJEI) • • The first will be reconfigured, with the NPF replacing the NSS
  • 11. Will the National Planning Framework succeed? “The objective of the National Planning Framework shall be to establish a broad national plan for the Government in relation to the strategic planning of urban and rural areas to secure balanced regional development and overall proper planning and sustainable development and the co- ordination of regional spatial and economic strategies and city and county development plans.”
  • 12. Will the National Planning Framework succeed? • Whether NPF delivers on mandate will depend on: • (1) Not trying to be all things to all people and embracing spatial selectivity, inc. reducing no. gateways/hubs and planning for population decline in some areas • (2) Recognizing the NPF should be a top-level economic, planning and infrastructure policy and aligning all such policies, plus all other sectoral strategies (e.g., housing, health, transport) and regional and local policies • (3) An accompanying implementation plan, with set goals, measures of success, and resourcing mechanisms • (4) Government not to undermine its own policy either through contra-policies or politicians exercising localism or stroke politics • (5) Local authorities, regional assemblies, and local politicians rolling with rather than pushing against the NPF
  • 13. Conclusion • The Celtic Tiger happened without the benefits of strategic spatial planning and it collapsed in part for the same reason, leaving a legacy of overdevelopment in many places. • Poor planning was thus seen as one of the causes of the crisis and it has not been promoted as one of the solutions, instead we have a fracturing of planning and economic policy • National Planning Framework if done properly will help grow the economy, create sustainable development, and improve peoples’ quality of life. • The challenge, however, are presently two-fold. • First, conjoining existing national policies into a coherent top-level strategy (inter-dept alignment) and reversing the trend to rollout lower-level policy ahead of top-level policy (temporal alignment). • Second, for the Government to believe in their own rhetoric and to formulate a coherent NPF with teeth and to implement it.
  • 14. All-Island Research Observatory (AIRO) • Interactive graphing and mapping modules on housing, planning and just about everything else • Cover whole island with modules for every local authority