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RTPI blog round-up: How technology can help metro mayors create smart city-regions

Words: Laura Edgar

A round-up of RTPI blogs: 5 August-8 September, 2017

How technology can help metro mayors create smart city-regions 

Over the past year, two exciting things have occurred. Through our work with the Future Cities Catapult, a government-backed centre for smart cities, we have seen how technology and big data is transforming urban life and the planning system. And we’ve seen the devolution agenda gathering pace, with nine combined authorities emerging as a new model of government for English city-regions…

By James Harris, policy and networks manager at the RTPI

Planning is Great (Britain)

You’ve probably seen the ‘Great Britain’ trade and investment posters which emphasise the UK’s strongest export sectors – from cutting-edge technology to higher education, engineering to the creative industries.

But why no ‘Planning is Great’ poster?…

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

Yes, we need more land for houses but we need to plan for waste too 

Whenever I tell people I’m a waste planner, they feel compelled to tell me about their household recycling.  In fact, waste planning is land use planning: how many and what type of new waste facilities will we need in the future, and where will they go?  It’s also about development management: writing and implementing policies which ensure that any negative impacts of new facilities are reduced and that waste is reused and recycled rather than disposed of to landfill…

By Victoria Manning MRTPI, director of Vitaka Consulting

My back yard

The world seems to be divided these days:


Like austerity/hate austerity


And now:


That’s “Not in my back yard”/“Yes in my back yard”. Both are of course American and employ the “back yard” concept not to mean your actual garden but your neighbourhood. The latter is a bit awkward for the grammar pedants among us, but you get the picture…

By Richard Blyth, head of policy, practice and research at the RTPI

Why Valparaiso works for me

Valparaiso is Chile’s principal port and third largest city, located on the Pacific coast about two hours’ drive from the inland capital Santiago. ‘Valpo’ also has a strong claim to being Chile’s most creative and dynamic city, characteristics that find physical expression in its ingenious and gravity-defying urban form. This form is so unique the city was designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2003.

While Chile’s capital Santiago takes the typical form of American cities, laid out on a flat central grid, surrounded, criss-crossed and tunnelled by urban motorways, Valparaiso defies the reason of a certain school of urban planning…

By Kate Houghton, policy and practice officer at the RTPI