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Janet Askew becomes RTPI President

Words: Laura Edgar
Janet Askew, by Peter Searle

Janet Askew has been inaugurated as President of the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) at a ceremony in central London.

Askew is currently teaching planning at the University of the West of England (UWE), Bristol. Her research interests include planning law and the implementation of regulations.

Speaking at the ceremony, Janet said: “I am determined to ensure that we build on the success of our centenary and engage with more people to promote planning – what I call the challenge of persuasion – proving the value of planning to society. I became a planner because I had a utopian view, an emotional view that planning could improve the quality of life and give people a voice about how they lived.”

The new president - the institute's 101st - also outlined three opportunities to promote planning.

Askew said she saw education as one of the key ways the RTPI can ensure the quality of planning in the future, “through the accreditation of planning schools, and co-operations with universities on research".

Additionally, there were opportunities internationally and through community planning, including recruiting to the profession, she added.

Addressing young planners, Askew encouraged them to be radical. “You are the policy makers of the future and you don’t need to follow the status quo but challenge it. The future of planning is in the hands of the young planners, and we must do all we can to make planning an attractive career option for potential students.”