A unique consortium of building and planning stakeholders today (06/02) calls for a radical revaluation of the planning profession. The report Future Planners: Propositions for the next age of planning argues that old-fashioned notions of private and public value have led to planners having to manage competing demands of economic progress and environmental sustainability. To succeed and thrive, the profession must bridge the gap, using resources from the private and public sectors, local communities and NGOs, to create places that people care for and enjoy, planning areas and neighborhoods which flourish while protecting the environment.
The report, which recommends greater democratic accountability over planning priorities, has been welcomed by Deputy Mayor of London Nicky Gavron:
‘I welcome this important work, from a diverse range of authoritative organisations, on the future planner. Planners have a key role in addressing our most pressing social needs, from climate change to affordable housing. We have to get communities, developers, and environmentalists together to agree how to move to a sustainable future. This needs the kind of strong political leadership Ken Livingstone is providing in London, and a strong planning system to back this up’
The report will be launched today (6/02) by Kate Barker, author of the recent Review of Land Use Planning.
Based on research done by the think tank Demos; 00:/; and the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE), the report has had input and support from the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS); English Partnerships; and the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI).
Planners, say the report, need to consider the needs of people who work, play and visit places as well as local residents' interests. And they need to plan for the global as well as the local environmental impacts of new development.
Demos researcher Peter Bradwell is one of the authors of the report. He said:
“Planners have to cope with a public that wants mobile phones but hates mobile phone masts, a public which worries increasingly about global warming but frequently objects to climate-friendly wind turbines proposed near their homes. Is it because they are irrelevant bureaucrats? No. In truth, they are often best placed to be able to ensure places match immediate public interest, with long term sustainability”
The report argues that this complex set of demands will only be met through planners becoming champions of the public value of place, mediating between contrasting interests.
One of the more radical proposals is the use of citizen juries, to aid controversial planning decisions, drawn from a national pool in order to avoid 'NIMBYism'.
Report co-author Indy Johar said:
“Being a planner isn’t about stopping people influencing what happens, but helping those opinions be heard. Citizen’s panels can be great forums for combining expert knowledge with the wishes of people whose lives planning decisions affect.”
CPRE Planning Campaigner and report co-author Paul Miner said:
“It’s about time we had a serious debate about the role of land in society today. Far too often planners are seen as the cause of policy failures, a perception that is far from the truth. The fact is that skilled planners are needed if we’re to face the challenges of sustaining economic growth, promoting social justice and improving environmental quality”
Future Planners argues that planners need to play four broad roles:
• As enablers, using their knowledge of the planning system to bring together businesses, developers, local communities, interest groups and public agencies in creating better places
• As scenario planners, envisioning different possible futures for their areas, to help create resilient, flexible plans and developments
• As provocateurs, questioning assumptions and offering alternative perspectives
• As judges, able to arbitrate and independent both of local vested interests and whichever political party is running the local town hall.
The report also makes a wide range of proposals to achieve:
• Increased democracy in plan-making and planning decisions
• Improved skills among planners
• An increased sense of empowerment and legitimacy in the profession
• A boost in the overall public value of new developments in terms of their contribution to wealth, social justice and environmental sustainability.
Media enquiries: Mark Fuller, Head of Press and Public Affairs
+44 (0)20 7367 6325 or +44 (0)7952 286223
Notes for Editors
• The report will be launched at an event on Tuesday 6th February 2006, hosted by RICS central London offices. Speakers include Kate Barker, author of the Review of Land Use Planning. Please contact Mark Fuller, Demos Head of Press and Public Affairs, at email@example.com for media accreditation to the event., and preview copies of the report
• Future Planners: Propositions for the next age of planning is the product of a process of collaboration. As such, the findings and recommendations do not represent the particular policies of the contributing organisations. Informed by analysis of the challenges the profession and the wider system faces, the report is designed to serve as a point of stimulus for the planning debate and offer positive ideas about future development
• Demos is the think tank for everyday democracy, the idea that all people should have greater influence over factors effect them and their communities.
• CPRE, the Campaign to Protect Rural England, is a charity which promotes the beauty, tranquillity and diversity of rural England. We advocate positive solutions for the long-term future of the countryside.
• 00:/ is a research and strategy led architecture practice, focused upon designing projects as prototypes for people-centred sustainability.00:/ are presently working on a range of projects from ethical workspaces for social entrepreneurs and not for profit organisations, to 'massively inclusive' community living rooms and low carbon private and public housing.
• The Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) is a dynamic organisation leading the way in the creation of places that work now and in the future. We understand that just as people develop places, so places develop people. We are committed to the enhancement of our natural and human environment, using spatial planning to manage competing pressures on our built environments and the very real effects on our space. Through our members, we constantly seek to create areas and places in which people want to live and work. As well as promoting spatial planning, RTPI develops and shapes policy affecting the built environment, works to raise professional standards and supports members through continuous education, training and development. For further general information, visit the RTPI website at: www.rtpi.org.uk
• RICS (Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors) is the leading source of land, property, construction and environmental knowledge. With 120 000 members, we promote best practice and advise businesses, consumers, governments and global organisations.
• English Partnerships is the government’s national regeneration agency delivering high quality, sustainable growth in England. We do this by developing our portfolio of strategic projects and acting as the government’s advisor on brownfield land. We also ensure that surplus public sector assets are used to support wider government objectives, especially those contained in the Sustainable Communities Plan. English Partnerships helps create communities where people can afford to live and want to live. Information on projects and programmes can be found at www.englishpartnerships.co.uk