Spatial planning strategies struggle to meet demands network society?

During one of our “search sessions” on random topics on google scholar, we stumbled upon an interesting article written by Healey, P.: “Network Complexity and the Imaginative Power of Strategic Spatial Planning.”

Not being an expert in both matters it was interesting to see how a discipline struggles to comply with knowledge from another science. As suggested by the article, spatial planning is still theoretically struggling to give answers to the characteristics of the network society.

Debate: the network society and implications for spatial planning?

The world has changed. Societies have changed. Concepts for spatial planning remained untouched. In order to know how planning could adapt to the challenges of the network society, one needs to define the specifics of this society. The article argues that a network society is fluid, open, complex and experiences multiple time-space relations.

How to answer the challenges?

Healey critiques the determinism resulting from the usage of architectural concepts for spatial organization. She suggests to find answers in sociological theory and/or geography studies. Once again a call for a multidisciplinary approach. Below is an attempt to translate the theoretical concepts into design strategies.

We apologize for this extremely theoretical post. Some like that however.

Spatial planning strategic challenges to comply with network society

Spatial planning strategic challenges to comply with network society - free, based on Healeys publication mentioned in the article

Lessons from Germany's traffic lights

Flow of traffic lights

Flow of traffic lights

Set gear…it’s green soon!


A while ago I drove through Germany by car. Apart from the zones on the express way where there’s no speed limit, I was pleased with the way traffic lights work in Germany.

How do they work?
When the light is red it first jumps shortly to orange before it turns green. The traffic lights in my country do not do that. They only use orange in between green and red. Not in between red and green. I believe however, using orange in the “start-flow” of city traffic brings along certain advantages.

Advantage 1: traffic flow optimized

When it’s red and the cars are waiting, it often occurs that it takes over 5 seconds for the traffic to move again (after the lights have jumped to green). When you put orange in between , drivers know: “set to first gear, you can drive soon”. This improves the traffic flow because people are not longer hesitating on “red” but instead on “orange”. This could result in drivers being less frustrated by traffic. In the end: happier people in a non-aggressive city environment?

Advantage 2: save your car’s gearbox

Another advantage of this traffic light system is that you don’t screw your gearbox that easily. Hasty people are often in 1st gear while waiting and thus have to push down their left feed pedal continuously. Not that good actually for technology inside the car.

Advantage 3: improves ecology and economy of driving?

I’m not completely sure about that but using the “neutral” gear more effectively improves in a more economic and ecologic way of driving?

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