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Building Competences for Spatial Planners



Sources . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . reading material/ case study
In Focus . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . top-level issues and questions
Evidence . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . findings from the case study
Challenges . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . methodological queries



The 2008 update of the Wales Spatial Plan (WSP) is presented in a single, comprehensive volume of about hundred and forty pages (EN version).


The agenda for Wales (One Wales) is a top-tier document, while the Sustainable Development Scheme (SDS) of the Welsh Assembly Government (WAG) is at the same level as the WSP.


WAG's 'departmental' strategies set the particulars for instance:


The Government of Wales Act (2006) and appraisal documents of the WSP.

In Focus

Task N Technique X Element K (of the plan) Task N then Task N+1 then etc

  • What are the elements of the plan (e.g. objectives, action)?
  • Which tasks were set to produce these elements?
  • Which techniques were employed?
  • What is described in the planning methodology?
  • What is the sequence of the planning tasks?
  • Which resources (HR, money, time) were used for each task?


  • The vision is clearly labelled in the document (§9); [guidance for] action is collectively defined as 'area strategies' for six geographic areas (§15-§20)
  • Planning tasks, such as communicating the vision and (guidance for) action, are implicit in the WSP
  • Techniques employed in the creation of the WSP are also implicit; 'non-declared' techniques for instance, employed to communicate intended outcomes are manifested through their output for instance, geographic maps
  • The WSP contains general methodological notes about its production, including illustrations relating the WSP to milestone documents and processes (§1-§8)
  • The WSP is chosen to deliver the priorities set out in One Wales' and the performance of the WSP will be judged against the progress it provides to One Wales (WSP, Foreword)
  • The Government of Wales Act (GWA) includes provisions for spatial planning, and empowers the WSP
  • The WSP has been subject to a assessment in two sets: Sustainability Appraisal and Strategic Environmental Assessment, as well as Habitats Regulations Assessment and Appropriate Assessment


Here are some challenges that extend the 'top-level' questions:

  • How can we check for internal (within the WSP) compatibility of plan elements for instance, vision and objectives, vision and strategies?
  • Idem for external compatibility for instance, WSP and One Wales
  • How were the 'area strategies' conceived? Which techniques were employed?
  • What are the indicators to be used for judging the WSP's performance?

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