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RTPI blog round-up: How far do planning systems support the priorities of national governments?

Words: Laura Edgar

A round-up of RTPI blogs: 4 February-10 March, 2017

How far do planning systems support the priorities of national governments?

How far planning systems support the priorities of national governments is a moot point. Logic would seem to dictate that this is a no brainer and there should be a clear relationship between the two, with the planning system being able to articulate spatially the priorities of governments...

By Stephen Wilkinson, president, RTPI

International Women’s Day: Implementing the New Urban Agenda on gender equality 

"On International Women’s Day, let us all pledge to do everything we can to overcome entrenched prejudice, support engagement and activism, and promote gender equality and women’s empowerment." These were the words of new UN Secretary-General, António Guterres for International Women’s Day (IWD) this year. Within planning this means supporting women within the planning profession, and designing better cities for women...

By Victoria Pinoncély, research officer, RTPI

Are you prepared for climate change?

Recently, a local resident out walking his dog told me in passing why Tauranga needed to be prepared for a significant tsunami event…

“If there’s a big earthquake out in the Pacific, we could be underwater in 50 minutes,” he enlightens me, matter-of-factly.

I’m taking a photo of a Tsunami evacuation map by the beach, he knows I’m not local, and I tell him I think these maps are great, really visual…

“We’ve got to be ready, it could happen anytime. So, we’re prepared,” he adds.

I’m blown away. Unprompted, the local community here is educating visitors about building resilience and preparedness for natural disasters, despite a low probability of them occurring...

By Isobel Brunn-Kiaer, the 2016/2017 George Pepler International Award recipient

No silver bullet for the housing crisis: The housing white paper roundtables

Recently, London's City Hall London played host to the first of housing and planning minister Gavin Barwell's roundtable discussions following the publication of the housing white paper.

A show of hands at the request of the chair, Liz Peace showed that the minister had a well-represented cross sectoral audience at his feet. This allowed for some good questions which, on the whole, were answered fairly well by the minister. His main message, and one that the RTPI has been saying for a long time now: that there is no silver bullet to the housing crisis...

By Harry Burchill, planning policy officer, RTPI

How can planners rise to the dementia challenge?

The UK’s growing social care crisis is perhaps the biggest factor behind the current headlines about the pressures facing the NHS. Lack of investment in the adult social care system has meant elderly and frail patients “blocking beds” because there isn’t the capacity to allow them to return home or be found places into residential care.

Clearly, the crisis wasn’t created yesterday but is the outcome of longer-term trends: an ageing population, people living longer, cuts in local government funding, and so on. This means there aren’t any simple, single solutions, but planning and planners do have something to contribute...

By Sarah Lewis, planning practice officer, RTPI

The housing white paper in England: how did RTPI (seek to) influence it?

Having raised concern about the impact of poor resourcing in planning departments, we were pleased to see that planning fees are to be increased by 20 per cent in the Summer. Whilst the jury is out on the relationship between income and performance, with skills and capacity being of equal concern, the additional income should be a welcome boost for local authorities at least in the short term...

By Harry Burchill, planning policy officer, RTPI

Why the housing white paper for England heralds a better debate on planning

The UK Government’s housing white paper got a mixed reception.

The anti-planners felt let down. Predictably, the Institute of Economic Affairs lamented the Government’s failure to “rollback …planning regulations and green belt protections”...

By Dr Michael Harris. deputy head of policy and research, RTPI

Ten principles for the Irish National Planning Framework

The National Planning Framework should be a truly ambitious document that establish key objectives for Ireland in the short, medium and long term and how these will be delivered spatially. It provides a real opportunity to achieve ambitions such as sustainable development, sustainable economic growth and to tackling climate change.

RTPI Ireland believes that a number of principles should be at the heart of developing the NPF...

By John Downey, chair of RTPI Ireland

Habitat Professionals Forum: Working for UN Habitat's World Urban Campaign

Planning and the influence of planners in achieving sustainable urban development worldwide is very important to the Royal Town Planning Institute and its international committee. In the UK we are part of a global economy and live in an environment which is impacted by what goes on elsewhere across the world in terms of serious issues like climate change, pollution and migration. If, as expected, more than three quarters of the world’s population will live in cities by 2030, it is essential that cities function much better than they do now...

By Diana Fitzsimons, co-chair of HPF and International Ambassador of IFHP

Do the critics of planning have a point?

I recently read Sam Bowman’s (Executive Director at the Adam Smith Institute) comment in The Planner that ‘Planning is the policy instrument that is chiefly responsible for the housing crisis’ with some incredulity. As a planner I’ve heard such views repeated much too often. The remedies of course are always familiar: abolish the post-war Town and Country Planning Act and build on more of the greenbelt, thereby boosting land supply.

By Hamish Barrell, town planer and a contributing author to the International Manual of Planning Practice 2015