In this paper, we investigate the influence of speedy reform in a transitional country on the reinvention of spatial planning. For the country of Georgia, we briefly outline the evolution of the planning system since communism, and then analyse through two case studies how the specific transitional pathway of Georgia manifests itself in the reorganization of spatial governance in city (Tbilisi) and natural areas (Borjomi). It is argued that role formation and transformation play a crucial role in such processes, roles being catalysts and modifiers of further reform. We analyse and argue that the mixed results of reform speed and re-centralization of power enable fast change of formal institutions but simultaneously raise obstacles for the crystallization of roles necessary to implement those formal reforms. Our analysis incorporates key concepts derived from institutional economics (in the line of Douglass North) and social systems theory, in Niklas Luhmann's version.