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Reflecting on the power of planning done well

Back in 2014, the RTPI published a report entitled "Success and Innovation in Planning - Creating Public Value"  which highlighted examples of innovation in planning across the UK and considered how we could foster best practice throughout the whole system. The report can be downloaded in full here:

The case studies highlight a number of key themes, which can act as an indicator of successful developments, including:

  • Using a holistic approach to overcome policy silos and create a development which truly integrates with the communities around it.
  • Ensuring that projects have clear and consistent strategic goals allow for suitable flexibility in their implementation to allow developers to deal with unanticipated situations; and  
  • Placing sufficient importance on urban design. 

These themes can still be seen in developments that are going through the planning system, or are being built, today.  

The shortlist for this year's planning awards is full of examples of great developments which have the potential to make a real difference to the lives of their future residents and the surrounding areas. 

The RTPI and other organisations are conducting research aimed at ensuring that our newly built communities are accessible to, and suitable for, all aspects of society. 

Sometimes, with all our focus on the (admittedly many) flaws in the planning system, it is easy to forget, or overlook, the power that resides within it. 

Hopefully, this report can serve us all as a timely reminder.

The Grainger Town Partnership regenerated Newcastle city centre, by conserving local architecture in a way that could drive the local economy. A special collaboration (it was a company limited by guarantee, with a partnership board of 20 members including representatives from the council, key public agencies, the private sector and residents), the Partnership turned around a declining part of Newcastle, using ... the beauty inherent in the architecture for economic gain as well as conservation. Local engagement was critical. Engaging a wide range of stakeholders to develop informal plans for the area helped inspire confidence across the community, as did the use of high-quality design to drive up standards for private investment. ”