Journal of Comparative Urban Law and Policy


It is a privilege to have been invited to contribute to this festschrift for a scholar whose work I have known and admired for decades. We have explored and debated together many aspects of land-use planning in our respective jurisdictions over that time, including a protracted effort in the 1990s to develop a model for impact fees for the UK planning system. Several other contributors to this festschrift were also part of that team, from which all of us learned a great deal. One is that complex systems of government develop deep resistance to change, and that it often takes a radical external threat to compel us all to step back and think again about not just the processes by which decisions are taken—fascinating though they are for planning lawyers such as myself—but the outcomes for people. The Second World War, with its huge threat to the lives of the civilian population, was followed by an era of transformational political and societal change in the United Kingdom. Is it too much to hope that the coronavirus pandemic, which has so far claimed many more civilian lives, might be the starting point for the changes needed for the twenty-first century? The tools of the last century, in healthcare and land-use planning, have been found wanting in the face of the global pandemic.

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