CFP: Planning for Sea Spaces: Processes, Practices and Future Perspectives

Special Issue of Planning Practice and Research 

Guest Editors: Franziska Sielker1, Glen Smith2 & Cormac Walsh3

 1Cambridge University, UK, 2University College Cork, Ireland, 3Hamburg University, Germany

 **Submission deadlines: Abstracts must be submitted by April 30th 2020. Full papers are required by October 30th 2020**


image source: European Commission

Background to the theme issue

In the last decade marine spatial planning (MSP) has picked up pace. The EU’s Integrated Maritime Policy was developed in 2007 to promote coherent planning across maritime sectors. This was followed by the 2014 Directive for Maritime Spatial Planning, which requires Member States to develop national Maritime Spatial Plans (MSPs) by 2021 (EU 2014). By now all European Member States have transposed the directive into national law and are currently developing their Maritime Spatial Plans. The European states are not alone in their endeavour. By August 2018 “about 70 countries were preparing or had prepared about 140 marine plans at the national, regional, or local levels” (IOC-UNESCO). The proliferation of MSP has been accompanied by an increased critical analysis of its practices by academics (e.g. Flannery et al 2016, Jones et al 2016; Tafon 2018). MSP occupies a different institutional and policy space to land-based terrestrial spatial planning. MSP has emerged within a marine management context and for the most part constitutes its own epistemic community, at a distance from current developments and debates in spatial planning research and practice on land (Jay 2010, Kidd & Ellis 2012). At the same time that MSP is becoming established as a formal policy instrument applied in a coordinated manner across Europe, European terrestrial spatial planning has lost momentum over the last decade, with an overall discernible shift away from ambitious spatial strategies at national scales (Salet 2016).

There is, however, increased recognition of the context of competing interests, perceptions, values and worldviews within which MSP is practiced (Ritchie & Ellis, 2010, Flannery et al 2018).  Kidd and Shaw (2014), in particular, critique the dominant instrumental view of MSP as a rational, technical process of universal applicability, contending that marine spatial planning is ‘a social and political process that is inevitably highly differentiated and place-specific’ (2014, 1536). Jay (2012, 2013) has more specifically critiqued the spatialities underlying current MSP practices, calling for relational perspectives in place of functional zoning. More recently, he has explored the potential for more progressive MSP practices inspired by theoretical work on soft spaces and the lively materiality of marine space (Jay 2018). Critical perspectives by Smith & Brennan (2012), Bode (2015) and Trouillet et al (2019) have meanwhile challenged dominant ways of representing space in MSP. Working more closely within the MSP policy framework, Gee (2010) and Gee et al (2017) have introduced the concepts of seascape values and culturally significant areas in an effort to focus attention on place-based cultural meanings and values within MSP.

Academic debate around marine developments is interdisciplinary, and planning scholars have increasingly taken an interest in them (e.g. Retzlaff & LeBleu 2018, Walsh & Kannen 2019). Their appeal is partly driven, for example, by the acknowledgement that they often cannot be thought of independently of terrestrial processes, and the planning systems that support these. There is a plethora of issues around the land/sea interface in planning, and a concern that critical questions of coastal management are neglected as land-sea dichotomies are reinforced through the institutionalisation of MSP (Shipman & Stojanovic 2007). There has however also been a notable renewed critical interest in the processes, practices and politics of MSP (e.g. Flannery et al. 2018, Clark et al 2019, Tafon et al 2019). Despite the broad foundation of these debates there is a trend for articles on MSP – even by planning scholars – to be published in environmental policy or marine journals rather than in planning journals (Moodie et al 2019).

With this theme issue we aim to centre the development of MSP alongside terrestrial planning more firmly in the core of planning debates. Planning Practice and Research (PPR) provides a relevant platform for the critical analysis of the planning content of MSP. The journal is committed to:

  • bridging the gaps between planning research, practice and education, and between different planning systems
  • providing a forum for an international readership to discuss and review research on planning practice
  • the critical evaluation of practice and the progressive search for practical guidance
  • presenting research in an accessible, succinct style, not overly theoretical, but analytical

We invite contributions that relate specifically to MSP practices and that focus on one or more of the following topics:

  • The role of collaborative practices in marine spatial planning processes.
  • The space for lay knowledge and socio-cultural values in MSP.
  • Power relations and politics in MSP: reclaiming the political?
  • Visualising marine space beyond GIS mapping and container spaces.
  • New epistemic communities: rise of new ‘planning regimes’?
  • Knowledge enhancement: what can be learnt from comparing the diversity of marine spatial planning approaches and cultures?
  • Concepts of space and place at sea: towards place-making, soft spaces and fuzzy boundaries.
  • Continual learning through marine and terrestrial planning comparisons and the opportunities for integration.
  • Planning paradigms and traditions at the sea: do land-based classifications apply to MSP?

Guide for contributors

In addition to the journal’s instructions for authors we provide a few extra points here relating to this process. If you have any extra questions, then please do not hesitate to contact us.

  • Please consider the theme edition topics carefully and make sure that your topic is a good fit for one or more of them. Feel free to discuss this with us.
  • A key aim of PPR is to publish articles that are useful to planning practitioners. Please consider how your submission satisfies this aim.
  • If you wish to contribute your manuscript to this theme edition then please send us an abstract of the theme and contents (max 1000 words).
  • The maximum length of the article is 7000 words, including references and images.
  • The types of manuscript that we will consider include research papers, case studies, literature reviews and comments.

Please submit your abstracts to:, and

Planning Practice and Research recent issues:

PPR instructions for authors:



Bode, C. (2015). Energy Extraction from Wind: Marine Re-territorialization in the North Sea. Scenario Journal, 05,

Clarke, J., & Flannery, W. (2019) The post-political nature of marine spatial planning and modalities for its re-politicisation. Journal of Environmental Policy and Planning, DOI 10.1080/1523908X.2019.1680276

EU – European Parliament and Council of the European Union (2014). Directive 2014/89/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 July 2014 establishing a framework for maritime spatial planning. Official Journal of the European Union, L257, 135-145.

Flannery, W., Ellis, G., Nursey-Bray, M., van Tatenhove, J. P., … & Jentoft, S. (2016). Exploring the winners and losers of marine environmental governance/Marine spatial

politics of unsustainability Marine spatial planning: Cui bono?/“More than fishy business”: epistemology, integration and conflict in marine spatial planning/Marine spatial planning: power and scaping/Surely not all planning is evil?/Marine spatial planning: a Canadian perspective/Maritime spatial planning–“ad utilitatem omnium”/Marine spatial planning:“it is better to be on the train than being hit by it”/Reflections from the perspective of recreational anglers …. Planning Theory & Practice, 17(1), 121-151.

Flannery, W.; Healey, N.; Luna, M. (2018). Exclusion and non-participation in Marine Spatial Planning. Marine Policy, 88, 32-40.

Gee, K. (2010). Offshore wind power development as affected by seascape values on the German North Sea coast. Land Use Policy, 27, 2, 185-194.

Gee, K.; Kannen, A.; Adlam, R.; Brooks, C.; Chapman, M.; Cormier, R.; Fischer, C.; Fletcher, S.; Gubbins, M.; Shucksmith, R.; Shellock, R. (2017).  Identifying culturally significant areas for marine spatial planning. Ocean and Coastal Management, 136, 1, 139-147.

IOC-UNESCO: Last accessed 26/11/2019.

Jay S. (2010). Built at sea: Marine management and the construction of marine spatial planning. Town Planning Review, 81, 2, 173-192.

Jay, S.  (2013). From disunited sectors to disjointed segments? Questioning the functional zoning of the sea. Planning Theory & Practice, 14, 3, 509-525.

Jay, S. (2012). Marine Space: Maneuvering Towards a Relational Understanding. Journal of Environmental Policy & Planning, 14, 1, 81-96.

Jay, S. (2018). The shifting sea: from soft space to lively space. Environmental Policy and Planning. doi:10.1080/1523908X.2018.1437716.

Jones, P. J., Lieberknecht, L., & Qiu, W. (2016). Marine spatial planning in reality: Introduction to case studies and discussion of findings. Marine Policy, 71, 256-264.

Kidd, S.; Ellis, G. (2012). From the Land to Sea and Back Again? Using Terrestrial Planning to Understand the Process of Marine Spatial Planning. Journal of Environmental Policy & Planning, 14, 1, 49-66.

Kidd, S.; Shaw, D. (2014). The social and political realities of marine spatial planning: some land-based reflections.  ICES Journal of Marine Science, 71, 7, 1535-1541.

Moodie, J. R., Kull, M., Morf, A., Schrøder, L., & Giacometti, A. (2019). Challenges and enablers for transboundary integration in MSP: Practical experiences from the Baltic Scope project. Ocean & Coastal Management177, 1-21.

Retzlaff, R. & LeBleu, C. (2018) Marine Spatial Planning: Exploring the Role of Planning Practice and Research, Journal of Planning Literature, 33, 4, 466-491.

Ritchie, H., and Geraint, E. (2010) A system that works for the sea? Exploring stakeholder engagement in marine spatial planning. Journal of Environmental Planning and Management 53, 6, 701-723.

Salet, W. (2016). Reinventing strategic spatial planning: a critical act of reconstruction. Albrechts, L. Balducci, A. & Hillier, J. (eds). Situated Practices of Strategic Planning: An International Perspective, London: Routledge. 373-386.

Shipman, B. and Stojanovic, T. (2007). Facts, Fictions, and Failures of Integrated Coastal Zone Management in Europe. Coastal Management, 35, 375-398.

Smith, G. & Brennan, R. E. (2012). Losing Our Way with Mapping: Thinking Critically About Marine Spatial Planning in Scotland. Ocean and Coastal Management, 69, 210–216.

Tafon, R. V. (2018). Taking power to sea: Towards a post-structuralist discourse theoretical critique of marine spatial planning. Environment and Planning C: Politics and Space, 36(2), 258-273.

Tafon, R., Saunders F., & Gilek M. (2019) Re-reading marine spatial planning through Foucault, Haugaard and others: an analysis of domination, empowerment and freedom, Journal of Environmental Policy & Planning, 21:6, 754-768

Trouillet B., Bellanger-Husi L., El Ghaziri A., Lamberts C., Plissonneau E., Rollo N., (2019). More than maps: Providing an alternative for fisheries and fishers in marine spatial planning. Ocean and Coastal Management, 173, 90-103.

Walsh, C. & Kannen, A (2019). Planning at Sea: Shifting planning practices at the German North Sea coast, In: Raumforschung und Raumordnung, 77 (2), pp. 147-164.

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