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RTPI blog round-up: The Scottish Parliamentary debate on planning – a constructive discussion

Words: Laura Edgar

A round-up of RTPI blogs: 1 January-3 February, 2017

The Scottish Parliamentary debate on planning – a constructive discussion

There was a debate in the Scottish Parliament last week to discuss the Scottish Government’s consultation on the future of the planning system Places, People and Planning. RTPI Scotland had prepared a briefing and circulated it to all MSPs in advance and this referred to our recent policy paper Repositioning Planning: Building a Successful and Sustainable Scotland, which set out key game-changers to support a new planning system.

By Craig McLaren, director, RTPI Scotland

Making lemonade out of the Paris Agreement on climate change

Around the world, towns and cities are facing the risks of more frequent storm events, rising sea levels, and increasing temperatures. It is up to planners working at the local level to figure out how to balance the risks of these impacts with future development and climate vulnerability.

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

Blast from the past - The Gambia and I

One of the smallest countries in the world has been in the news a lot lately because it (appears now) to have undergone its first ever democratic peaceful transfer of power in its 50-year history. I am talking about The Gambia where, following winning a presidential election last month and a tense period of stand-off, President Adama Barrow has just returned to the country to take over State House from the former president Yahya Jammeh.

By Richard Blyth, head of policy, RTPI

2017: A Pivotal Year for Planning in Scotland? 

2017 is potentially a pivotal year for planning in Scotland. There will be a number of uncertainties and opportunities including:

1. The Planning Review (imminent Consultation Paper and subsequent Planning Bill)
2. Various Scottish Government consultations on planning-related matters
3. Brexit
4. The Local Government elections

By Stefano Smith, convenor, RTPI Scotland

The trouble with targets in planning - and a better way 

I heard someone preaching yesterday in church on new year’s resolutions. She said at work (it’s a school) we have new year’s resolutions – but they’re not called resolutions, they’re called targets - S.M.A.R.T. targets. That’s “specific, measurable, ...”

OK you all know the kind of thing. You’ve probably set one or two recently. The thing is the preacher said these SMART targets are no use (bang goes her promotion to management, I’d say). Why? Because whilst pupils set them for themselves they are aren’t really motivated to achieve them.

By Richard Blyth, head of policy, RTPI

The housing white paper is a golden opportunity to fund housing and infrastructure sustainably 

One of the things we would like to see the upcoming housing white paper address is the growing tendency to treat housing as an asset rather than a dwelling. Obviously that ‘ask’ on its own is quite bold and unhelpful, but there are specific measures that can be taken to promote housing’s traditional use, one of which I will explore below. Before I do I want to show you four graphics which - taken together - suggest to me that the stars have aligned when it comes to accessing the value tied up in property for the benefit of the community.

By Joseph Kilroy, police and research, RTPI

The New Urban Agenda has been formally adopted. So what happens next?

The New Urban Agenda was formally adopted by national governments at the United Nations Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development, commonly referred to as Habitat III, on 20 October 2016, in the city of Quito, Ecuador. The agreement provides the road-map for sustainable urban development in our cities over the next 20 years. So what is in the agreement and what happens next?

Alice Charles MRTPI, lead for all urban development work at the World Economic Forum

“Mapping the Margins” – Planning, intersectionally

Don’t use jargon they say. Well, here’s my attempt at dissecting intersectionality and making it relevant to planners. Despite creative attempts, the problem is that after three intense days exploring the issue at a Young Friends of the Earth Europe ‘intersectionality’ event, we realised that intersectionality is well, exactly that. It is the point where two groups that are marginalised meet. In unequal societies, often the struggle of marginalised groups like those living in poverty or the disabled may be affected by another conditioning factor such as race or gender/identity.

By Katherine Pollard, policy and networks adviser, RTPI