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RTPI blog round-up: The Town Meeting: The award-winning planning engagement project, one year on

Words: Laura Edgar
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A round-up of RTPI blogs: 2 April - 6 May, 2016

The Town Meeting: The award-winning planning engagement project, one year on

It’s now a year since we started the Town Meeting project and 7 months since the project won the Sir Peter Hall Award for Wider Engagement at the 2015 RTPI Research Excellence awards.

The Town Meeting uses theatre as a way of co-producing research into public participation in planning with communities themselves. The Town Meeting has been performed in 12 communities across the north of England. The use of theatre in this way is unique and has engaged audiences in the issues in a way that traditional forms of research cannot.

By Dr Paul Cowie, research assistant, School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape at the University of Newcastle

Cities: The other dimension 

Traditionally cities have been designed by men – from architects to city planners, surveyors and engineers – and the primary assumption has been that everyone is an able-bodied young person, going from home to work in a one-dimensional trajectory. The secondary assumption has been that the populace’s main journeys are indeed to and from work.

But from these assumptions come problems.

By Clara Greed, Charlotte Morphet, Maria Wiedner and Liane Hartley

What we learnt at the American Planning Association conference 

Over 4,300 planners and 57 exhibitors converged in Phoenix, Arizona for the annual conference of the American Planning Association (APA) earlier this month. Seeing that many planners or friends of planning in one place is quite an experience. I was a guest of the APA, together with our president Phil Williams.

By Trudi Elliott, chief executive, RTPI

Planning the future of London – what the next London Mayor can do 

Within the global context, the visibility of mayors has increased over the past years, from Enrique Peñalosa’s inclusive urban transformation in Bogotá to Paris’ Anne Hidalgo co-hosting the Climate Summit for Local Leaders on the margins of COP21, with Michael R. Bloomberg, UN Secretary-Generals Special Envoy for Cities and Climate Change and himself former mayor of New York. More recently the OECD has launched the Inclusive Growth in Cities campaign and a global coalition of Champion Mayors for Inclusive Growth, following a publication calling to address inequalities in metropolitan areas and cities. Organisations like EUROCITIES, which was funded by the mayors of Barcelona, Birmingham, Frankfurt, Lyon, Milan and Rotterdam, bring the local governments of European cities together to share knowledge and exchange ideas on the challenges facing cities.

By Victoria Pinoncély, research officer, RTPI

The RTPI Assessment of Professional Competence: More than just a means to an end 

If you are currently working on your RTPI Assessment of Professional Competence (APC) – or know someone who is – the chances are that you associate the process with hard work. Undeniably, preparing your submission takes time and effort (not to mention a quite a few of your evenings or weekends towards the end!). However, whilst I was preparing to submit in 2015 I discovered that the process, although challenging, is also a great opportunity to reflect on the experience you have gained to date and your future aims. Whilst it is easy to view the APC as simply a ‘means to an end’ (i.e. becoming a Chartered Town Planner), it is the process itself which is the most valuable.

By Dan Evans, senior planner, Arup

What’s the UN got to do with planning?

I have to confess that I’m not really a UN kind-of-guy. I know what it is of course, and I could hazard a guess as to how many members it has (a good pub quiz question). I know it’s better to have it than to have a world war, but like most people on the whole I don’t follow its proceedings very closely.

So it was intriguing to be able to attend the meeting of European Habitat in Prague last month. This was one of the regional lead-up meetings to the big UN-Habitat III conference in Ecuador in October this year.

By Richard Blyth, head of policy, RTPI