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Dominic Stead and Dorina Pojani

Despite the many efforts devoted to identifying and disseminating “best practice” in urban and regional policy, research suggests only a very modest impact (at the most) of best practices on policy change. Moreover, the effects of spreading lessons and “best practice” are not well understood by many actors involved in the processes of policymaking. The chapter recommends that it is generally more appropriate to offer a compendium of practices and ideas to policymakers, rather than predefined policy solutions, and allow them to determine for themselves the most suitable option based on the specific context in which it is to be used. This chapter is a shortened and updated version of an article published in Planning Practice and Research, 27 (1).

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Dominic Stead and Dorina Pojani

This chapter examines the nature and type of urban planning tools sought by policy officials, consultants and academics who look to the Netherlands for inspiration, and the lessons that they have drawn from the Netherlands. It reveals that, although many foreign “policy tourists” are impressed and inspired by Dutch planning achievements, policy transfer efforts based on Dutch examples of planning do not often result in concrete actions or hard outcomes abroad. Contextual differences (e.g. cultural and social norms, language, planning legislation and financial resources available to planning) limit the extent to which Dutch planning approaches can be employed elsewhere.

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Keqi Si, Tsega Gebrekrstos Wereta and Dorina Pojani

This chapter examines the flow of planning policies between countries (and cities) that were traditionally considered as part of the less developed Global South. The potential policy “lender” is China whereas the potential policy “borrower” is Ethiopia. The object of policy transfer is Transit Oriented Development (TOD). A new, world-class metro system has been partly built in Hangzhou, which presents an opportunity to study TOD development in a Chinese context. In Addis Ababa, the first light-rail transit system in sub-Saharan Africa was built in 2015 through capital funding from China and is being operated by Chinese companies. Despite this connection, the study reveals little evidence that any direct policy transfer has occurred between the two countries. More than policy transfer, this is a case of global policy diffusion, which is facilitated by new communication media and the globalization of planning practice.