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RTPI blog round-up: Best planning research puts focus on design

Words: RTPI

A round-up of RTPI blogs: 1 September-12 October, 2018

Best planning research puts focus on design

This year, some of the best research projects in the RTPI Research Excellence Awards focus their attention on the design and quality of places and their relationship with well-being and health outcomes.

This pool of new evidence is welcome particularly in the light of the revised National Planning Policy Framework published earlier this year, which renews its focus on the importance of design amid ambitious government housing targets. It specifies that clarity and testing of design quality are essential to achieving sustainable development, as well as promoting effective design through community involvement and the use of local styles.

So, what do these studies tell us?…

By Zoe Abel, research assistant at the RTPI.

Social housing – the Flemish model

Social rental housing faces a difficult dilemma in Flanders. Expectations to solve the housing problems of people in poverty are high, but with a social housing supply of 160,000 homes (barely 6% of the housing stock) and a high poverty rate, there is a big gap between dream and reality.

There is also a lack of general support for social housing. When it comes to ‘poverty’ in one’s own backyard, there is resistance among citizens. This is so much the case that, in 2009, the Flemish government obliged the municipalities to create a minimum number of additional social rental dwellings on their territory. At the Flemish level, the goal was set at 45,000 additional social rental dwellings by 2020…

By Sien Winters is research manager housing at HIVA - KU Leuven and coordinator of the Policy Research Centre Housing in Flanders.

Planning for the North must engage people

It was Max Lock, during the 1946 development of the first Plan for Middlesbrough, who described planning as a “combination of exact science and intuitive art in that its method is based on equal ingredients both of accurate measurement and of human understanding, and because it deals with the most vital commerce of all, human beings and their welfare”.

In 2016, IPPR North, working with the RTPI, published our ‘Blueprint for a Great North Plan’ which set out the foundations for a collaborative approach to thinking about the future of the North…

By Sarah Longlands, director of IPPR North.

Inclusive cycling – what can we do more?

Cycling in the UK has increased over the last decades. In 2016, the number of miles cycled was 3.5 billion, an increase of around 23% compared to 10 years before, and 6.3% more than in 2015.

There have been some positive steps towards increasing cycling rates. For instance, last year the government announced the walking and cycling investment strategy, which sets out the government’s ambitions to promote cycling and walking. In London, Sadiq Khan has similarly pledged to spend £770m on cycling infrastructure by 2022…

By Zoe Abel, research assistant at the RTPI.

Northern Ireland: We deserve better

In a blog I wrote this February (Planning in a political void) I asked if the new Secretary of State for Northern Ireland Karen Bradley could crack the political stalemate to rebuild trust and confidence in Northern Ireland that would re-ignite our ability to prosper and grow?

Seven months later, shamefully and rather shockingly, the answer is no she has not!...

By Claire Williamson MRTPI is Northern Ireland policy officer at the RTPI.

How one council delivers more than enough homes against the odds

In recent years, significantly more homes have been delivered each year in Northumberland than Government’s standard methodology suggests will be required in the future. This has been achieved despite the local authority area being one with a large area of Green Belt and numerous designations including two AONBs.

From a low of 476 dwellings delivered in 2009-10, an average of 1336 dwellings per annum were delivered between 2014 and 2018. This means we have met much of the latent demand for housing built up during the preceding recession when few homes were built…

By Steve Robson, principal planner (planning policy) at Northumberland County Council.