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What's Left of British Planning?

agendas for progressive planning in the UK

The most recent pnuk event was held at the University of Sheffield on July 17, 2007 and was entitled 'What's left of British Planning?'.

Libby's report on the day is included below. Thanks to all those who contributed to a very successful and stimulating event.

We had a very successful meeting and were treated to some excellent
speakers. Cliff Hague, Secretary-General of the Commonwealth Association of Planners, opened the morning with some thoughts about planning and its relationship to global development and in particular poverty and justice in developing countries. His 'new planning rap' to close might make it onto a record label sometime soon!

Heather Campbell, Head of the Department of Town and Regional Planning at the University of Sheffield, then inspired us with an agenda for inspiring hope and belief in the positives planning can offer while
being tempered with good critical analysis. She offered some important
thoughts on strategy and how PNUK might best think about delivering its
messages to those in power! Perhaps most importantly, she reminded us that there is power in asking questions, reframing problems and offering real alternatives even when it seems hopeless.

After lunch, Roger Levett, Director of Levett-Therivel Sustainability
Consultants, then treated us to an incisive debunking of the assumptions and myths underpinning the latest Planning White Paper. Roger did exactly what Heather suggested we should do - he reframed the problem into an alternative language that offered more productive avenues for critique and the development of real alternatives.

In the afternoon business session, we had the very great fortune to have
Richard Milgrom from University of Manitoba and former Chair of Planners Network (North America) with us. Richard had a conversation with us about how PN operates, the importance of the local chapters, and the nature of events and campaigns that PN run. He reflected that due to geography and scale, PNUK has a great opportunity to make a real contribution at the national level, something which PN has more difficulty with, and encouraged us to pursue that agenda. Richard remains on the Steering committee of PN, and I (Libby) have also been
elected to that Steering Committee to be a point of connection between
our two networks.

We then discussed various aspects of 'where to next' for PNUK. The
following list presents some ideas that we talked about:
1. organise an 'alternatives' event on a particular subject eg housing
renewal pathfinders/anti-demolition event or on any other subject.
2. Put on events on key and current issues and attempt to reach a wider
audience eg an information session on the White Paper?
3. When members (that's YOU!) are attending conferences, take a set of
PNUK information with you (we can supply posters, fliers etc) to take
along and spruik with.
4. media strategy and press releases - is this something we should get into?
5. Use website to link to further information and thoughts/reflections
on Barker, white Paper, other issues. Note - submissions on the white
Paper are due 7th August. Further emails of encouragement on that one soon.
6. build an 'alternatives' bibliography (Michael may do this one).



:Download a jpeg of the conference poster here

: download Cliff Hague's presentation here.

: download Roger Levett's presentation here.

: following the event we have been discussing how to take the network forward. Read and join in the debates here.