Dr Dave Webb
I am a Lecturer in Town Planning at Newcastle University and have previous worked as a policy planner in Newcastle and North Norfolk. Through these experiences, and subsequent doctoral research on housing market renewal during the 2000s, I have become increasingly interested in the 'agency space' within which urban professionals operate and the way this is closed down by policy processes and market dependency alike. Many of the issues addressed by planning research as similarly subject to this problem of limited agency space and so expanding our capacity to manage the built environment is essential if we are to have any chance of addressing loftier social and environmental goals or achieving better designed and managed places. Alternative forms of practice provide a valuable source of inspiration and can help to focus this campaign.
My research focuses are, as might be expected, less to do with normative ideals of what planning should be about and focused instead on the power-plays leading up to the dominance of the ideas that drive planning. We need to know what is holding back the realisation of more progressive forms of planning and how to mobilise alternatives that are forward looking rather than rooted in a mid Twentieth Century 'golden age'. For these reasons my research interests cover the history of planning, the means by which relationships between citizens, the private sector, the state and the third sector are governed and the nature of the theory-practice relationship.