Tacit Planning: transferring practitioner know-how into contemporary practice

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstractpeer-review


A number of significant challenges face socio-environmental policy makers and decision makers, such as housing availability and affordability, affective place making, sustainable economic development and climate change. In the context of Brexit and a continued focus on economic austerity, policy making continues to take place within complex and uncertain environments. This paper reflects upon this backdrop through the lens of urban planning and by using the ideas of Michael Polanyi into personal knowledge. During their careers, planners accumulate an abundance of expert tacit knowledge in relation to their local domains. This know-how includes public and private contacts, ownership, neighbour problems, infrastructure issues and more generally, an historical perspective of local development. Just by knowing the local community and 'how things work', provides planners with a useful avenue for mediating any conflicts or disruptions to development. The findings in this paper are two-fold. First, the paper details the necessity for urban planners to actively engage in place making by using their most valuable asset, the transference of their own expert tacit knowledge. Second, it presents a disruptive counter narrative based in the reality of professional practice – where many experts are being lost from the planning discipline, or poached from the public sector into commercial practice, where their tacit knowledge is reformulated and used to condition the likelihood of development applications.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 31 Aug 2017
EventRGS-IBG International Conference 2017 - Imperial College , London, United Kingdom
Duration: 29 Aug 201731 Aug 2017


ConferenceRGS-IBG International Conference 2017
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom


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