Profit or public service? Tensions and alignment in private planning practice

John Sturzaker, Hannah Hickman

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The growth of employment opportunities for planners working in the private sector has resulted in a rapid change in the composition of the planning profession in the UK, with over 40% of Royal Town Planning Institute members now employed in private practice. Existing writing on private planning practice is somewhat circumspect, with the private sector being associated largely with a profit-driven approach. Drawing on interviews with private sector planners, this paper argues that this fails to reflect the lived reality of private sector planners, and in so doing sets out an alternative and more nuanced characterisation of private practice.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)339-354
Number of pages16
JournalPlanning Practice & Research
Issue number2
Early online date22 Feb 2023
Publication statusPublished - 29 Feb 2024


  • Ethics
  • practice
  • private sector
  • public interest


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