Creating ‘a Generation of NIMBYs’? Interpreting the Role of the State in Managing the Politics of Urban Development

“The traditional relationship between politics and policy making has been challenged in recent years, highlighting how policy itself can generate political action. This raises questions about how conflict produced or mediated through the policy process is managed, particularly within what has been described as a ‘postpolitical settlement’ where fundamental politicoideological issues are liable to be ‘displaced’ rather than opened up for debate.

I argue that such displacement generates its own distinctive politicomanagerial logic. Drawing on the discourses and practices of planning reform in England, I suggest that ongoing systemic reform might be understood as a product of a politics of displacement that seeks to cover over the causes of the antagonism generated by the logic of urban development. Tracing this logic through the policy process, I further suggest that displacement has a range of underexamined effects on local democracy and the legitimacy of local government.”

Published in Environment and Planning C: Government and Policy | A. Inch | 2012,,