Illegal Geographies and Spatial Planning: Developing a Dialogue on Drugs

Authors: Philip Boland*, Queen's University Belfast
Topics: Urban and Regional Planning, Economic Geography, Planning Geography
Keywords: drugs, paramilitarism, territory, planning
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/7/2019
Start / End Time: 8:00 AM / 9:40 AM
Room: Balcony A, Marriott, Mezzanine Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

Recent debates in academic journals have focused ‘illegal geographies’, ‘geographies of the illicit’ and
‘planning and criminal powers’. This paper fuses these debates in geography and planning through an
interrogation of the interface between illegal drugs and spatial planning. In unpacking and problematizing
the drugs–planning nexus and developing a dialogue on drugs, it sets the context for a new research
agenda concerning contemporary deliberations on the territoriality, governance and planning of the
contemporary city. It is argued that such a paper is necessary as there is a noticeable absence of a debate
on planning for drugs; in fact, academic and professional planners largely ignore this hugely important
and challenging issue facing cities, regions and countries around the world. The paper fills this void by
exposing and interrogating the links between drugs and planning, and it demonstrate that planners can,
and indeed should, contribute positively towards understanding and dealing with the ‘drugs problem’.
Ultimately, the aim is to stimulate a new debate on this fascinating but under-researched topic of drugs
and planning. The insights from this study are relevant to an international academic audience; more
professionally, the policy and practice implications are transferrable across geographical space to planners
around the world.

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