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RTPI blog round-up: How can the UK be a world leader in digitising land data?

Words: Laura Edgar

A round-up of RTPI blogs: 8 July - 4 August, 2017

How can the UK be a world leader in digitising land data?

Open data on land ownership and other land data can help improve land use planning and tackle the housing crisis. The RTPI was amongst the organisations pushing to keep the Land Registry in public ownership in the face of two failed attempts to privatise it.

Not long after privatisation was abandoned for the second time, the housing white paper and then Conservative manifesto introduced bold proposals for making Land Registry data more accessible whilst retaining it in public ownership. Unfortunately, we have heard almost nothing since on how the government is planning to deliver these proposals...

By Tom Kenny, policy officer at the RTPI

Inclusive environments: a moral issue, a business case and a statutory duty

Despite 20 years of anti-discrimination legislation and over 50 years of technical standards, a recent Women and Equalities Committee inquiry has found that disabled people still find their lives needlessly restricted by features of the built environment.

The findings point to a stark fact: the burden of creating an accessible environment falls too heavily on individual disabled people, and the bodies who create, occupy and manage the environment are not doing enough…

By Julie Fleck, project lead of the Built Environment and Professional Education Project at the Construction Industry Council

Is urban sustainability going out of fashion?

Recent years has seen a proliferation of newfangled concepts which in one way or another purport to relate to ‘sustainable urban development’. These include, but are not limited to, resilient cities, green cities, low-carbon cities and smart cities.

In a recent research article Martin de Jong and colleagues performed a desk survey of various concepts occurring in the academic literature concerning urban development, and found out that in 2013 the usage of the term ‘smart cities’ surpassed the previously dominant ‘sustainable cities’…

By Jonathan Metzger, associate professor in urban and regional studies at the Royal Institute of Technology in Sweden

Can’t we all be place planners?

Why aren’t new developments located where they can support commercially viable bus services? Why won’t developers pay a premium to locate near high quality segregated cycle routes? Why shouldn’t transport interchanges be designed to improve social equity, biodiversity and community cohesion as well as the switch between bus and rail?

These were some of the questions being asked at the annual Transport Practitioner’s Meeting, organised by the Chartered Institute for Logistics and Transport’s training subsidiary, PTRC…

By Hannah Budnitz, chair of the Transport Planning Network at the RTPI

Why sustainable transport planning is the answer

From increasing obesity rates to climate change, from traffic congestion to social exclusion, many problems facing society today have complex causes. While many innovative solutions are being developed to tackle them, implementation in the average local planning authority is faced with many hurdles, including politics, money and fear of change.

There is, however, one tool that in my mind might have been overlooked: sustainable transport. Much higher levels of public transport usage and active travel such as cycling and walking must be promoted as we look to fix some of our past mistakes and create a better future…

By Jordan Martin, undergraduate planning student at Cardiff University and winner of the 2016 RTPI Trust Bursary

US planners give hope to climate change optimism

On a bright, early June day, US President Donald Trump announced that the United States would exit the Paris climate accord. “We’re getting out,” he said. This means the United States, the world’s second largest emitter of CO2, will walk away from climate targets agreed in Paris.

Or, does it? A closer look at the work of planners and local communities across the US provides some reason for optimism. There are three good reasons to believe that the reality of addressing climate change in the US will be decidedly different than the rhetoric from the White House…

By Jason Jordan, director of policy and government affairs at the American Planning Association