The construction of a trading zone as political strategy: a review of London Infrastructure Plan 2050

The recent London Infrastructure Plan 2050 appears as an attempt for coming up with innovative answers to infrastructure issues, aiming at providing new spaces where different actors can collaborate, defining adequate visions and governance bodies. 

Our hypothesis is that the plan can be interpreted through the relevant and yet ambiguous concept of ‘trading zone’, which highlights the setting up of new spaces for confrontation but also shows their use as political vehicles to advocate for increased powers and resources. To investigate the issue, the paper reviews the literature on the concept of trading zone in order to discuss in this perspective the London Infrastructure Plan planning process. The analysis is developed as follows: after a theoretical discussion of trading zones and their relationship with infrastructure planning processes, two significant aspects of the London Infrastructure Plan are examined: the stakeholders’ engagement required by strategic planning processes, and the ongoing planning processes of London, influenced by the Localism agenda. Consequently, the London Infrastructure Plan 2050 is described and reviewed in the light of its political strategic meaning, providing a discussion of its vision, contents and planning process. The analysis uses and rediscusses the concept of trading zone by observing how local authorities may use planning processes to strategically position themselves and influence the complex governance of infrastructure planning.

 

This article is published by the European Journal of Spatial Development, which in turn is published by Nordregio and  Delft University of Technology, Faculty of Architecture and the Built Environment.