Planning is never far from the top of the policy or media agenda, whether this concerns 'garden-grabbing', the location of wind farms or protests about travellers' sites. The operation of the planning system raises strong views, even passions, and is highly political. Planners have to engage with developers working on multi-million pound schemes and the local communities that will be affected by such schemes. And throughout, they have to work in the public interest, delivering on broad policy goals and meeting the needs of vulnerable communities. This book is about the way that the planning system works, what it can do, what it cannot do and how it should evolve to meet the challenges of the 21st century. It looks at a range of issues to unlock the purpose of planning by being positive about the role of planning whilst realistic about its achievements and potential. Written in a clear and accessible manner, this book will be essential reading for students studying planning in a variety of disciplines and practitioners engaging with the planning system.