A planning palimpsest: neoliberal planning in a welfare state tradition

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


In this article, we analyse the evolution and transformation of Danish spatial planning from its tentative origins in liberalist politics, through its rise as a central feature of the welfare state project, to its more recent entrepreneurial forms in a context of neoliberalisation. The article demonstrates how transformations of Danish spatial planning discourses and practices must be understood in context of previous discourses and practices sedimented as layers of meaning and materiality through time and over space. These layers do not completely overlay one another, but present a palimpsest saturated with contradictions as well as possibilities. We propose the notion of the ‘planning palimpsest’ as a helpful metaphor for drawing attention to the historical-geographical characteristics of planning discourses and practices.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Social and Economic Geography


  • neoliberalism, welfare state, spatial planning, planning history, palimpsest, Denmark
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-20
JournalEuropean Journal of Spatial Development
Issue number58
Publication statusPublished - 2015
Publication categoryResearch