University of Oulu

Jonne Hytönen & Toni Ahlqvist (2019) Emerging vacuums of strategic planning: an exploration of reforms in Finnish spatial planning, European Planning Studies, 27:7, 1350-1368, DOI: 10.1080/09654313.2019.1580248

Emerging vacuums of strategic planning : an exploration of reforms in Finnish spatial planning

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Author: Hytönen, Jonne1; Ahlqvist, Toni2
Organizations: 1Geography Research Unit, University of Oulu, Finland
2Finland Futures Research Centre, University of Turku, Finland
Format: article
Version: accepted version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.4 MB)
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Language: English
Published: Informa, 2019
Publish Date: 2020-08-14


The paper offers a theory-based evaluation of the ongoing reforms in the Finnish spatial planning regime. The paper argues that Finnish planning is moving in a reactive and market-driven direction. This development is not being brought about solely through a direct decrease in public discretionary powers in planning, but is also unfolding indirectly through a process of rescaling in the spatial planning regime. These processes increase municipal autonomy in relation to other planning scales, despite problems observed in the municipality-centred market-driven planning orientation. The resulting reduction in manoeuvring room in public planning is conceptualized in the paper as expanding vacuums of strategic planning. Building on concepts from the literature on state transformation theory and scale theory, the paper draws together theoretical and empirical conclusions from several case studies conducted in close-to-administration projects.

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Series: European planning studies
ISSN: 0965-4313
ISSN-E: 1469-5944
ISSN-L: 0965-4313
Volume: 27
Issue: 7
Pages: 1350 - 1368
DOI: 10.1080/09654313.2019.1580248
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 519 Social and economic geography
Copyright information: © 2019 Taylor & Francis This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in European Planning Studies on 14 Feb 2019, available online: