UCL Department of Geography


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Cecil Sagoe


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Current Research

English planning and governmentality: The case of the London Legacy Development Corporation

My thesis investigates how contemporary English planning operates as a system of governmentality. It explores what policy agendas, what rationalities of governing, and which governance actors have shaped the London Legacy Development Corporation’s (LLDC’s) housing and regeneration plans for London’s Olympic area. In doing so, my thesis discusses how English planning’s structural technologies and statutory spaces of governing currently operate to shape the production of local-level plans. Crucially, the LLDC’s planning process offers an important opportunity to observe in real time the structuring impacts of the English planning system on a Local Plan production process. My thesis adopts a broad conceptual approach which draws from Foucauldian literature, critical approaches to neoliberalism, relational approaches to multi-level governing, the regulatory capitalism discourse, and critical pragmatism. To gather research data, a multi-method approach was employed comprising process observation, participant observation, planning document analysis and interviews.

My thesis presents three key findings. Firstly, that English planning has structured the LLDC into privileging economic growth goals, market-based criteria, the role of the private sector, financial considerations, and technocratic forms of governing within their housing and regeneration plans; although my thesis discusses other policy goals and rationalities of governing that have also shaped the LLDC’s plans. Secondly, that English planning’s structural technologies of governing, and statutory spaces within the LLDC’s planning framework, have empowered governance actors who are privileging these policy goals and rationalities of governing to exert chief influence over the LLDC’s housing and regeneration plans. Thirdly, that governance actors who are challenging these policy goals and rationalities of governing, and seeking to privilege social justice goals and principles, have had more marginal influences on the LLDC’s plans. Bringing these findings into conversation with this thesis’ conceptual framework, the argument is developed that in the arena of local-level planning English planning currently operates as a system of neoliberal governmentality.


    • University College London, Department of Geography, PhD (2013 – 2018)

    Thesis: English planning and governmentality: The case of the London Legacy Development Corporation

    The University of Manchester, Institute for Development Policy and Management, MSc Poverty and Development (2011 – 2012)

    Thesis: Arts and Culture in Development: AfroReggae’s use of Music Initiatives to Reduce Youth Gang Violence in Rio de Janeiro

    • The University of Manchester, School of Social Sciences, BA Hons (Econ) Development Studies and Economics (2007 – 2010)

    Thesis: The State-Market Relationship and the Political Economy of Development: The Case of Oil in Ghana


    Sagoe, C. (2016) 'One Tool Amongst Many: Considering the Political Potential of Neighbourhood Planning for the Greater Carpenters Neighbourhood, London', Architecture, Media, Politics, Society, vol. 9, no. 3, pp. 1 - 20.

    Sagoe, C. (2016) 'A review of "Olympic housing: A critical review of London 2012's legacy", By Penny Bernstock', International Journal of Housing Policy, vol. 16, no. 4, pp. 556 - 558.

    ‘Squeezing the Poor out of London’, openDemocracy, 2013