Cliff has operated as a freelance consultant since 2004. He does research, authors reports and is a facilitator and trainer. While at Heriot-Watt University he was also involved in contract research.

He has worked on numerous projects:

  • With Spatial Foresight GmbH (http://www.spatialforesight.eu/spatial-foresight.html ) to deliver research-based reports for the ESPON Co-ordination Unit on European territorial development and policy.
  • With the Royal Town Planning Institute (www.rtpi.org.uk) to deliver the UK National Contact Point for the ESPON 2013 programme. 
  • As an external expert for the Royal Town Planning Institute on transnational projects within the ESPON 2013 programme.
  • For the ESPON 2013 Co-ordination Unit as a peer reviewer on Sounding Boards for research projects.
  • On European Union INTERREG projects.
  • On other European projects.
  • On Commonwealth, international and global projects.
  • On UK projects.  
Friday, 14 October 2016 11:20

OBE

Earlier this week I was honoured to receive the OBE for services to planning, at an investiture at Buckingham Palace.

Published in News items

The Habitat 3 conference in Quito this month is a critical opportunity to shape the practice of planning globally.

Tuesday, 01 September 2015 13:37

Canadian Institute of Planners in crisis

The national professional body representing planners across Canada, the Canadian Institute of Planners, is facing an existential crisis. Its future is on a knife edge.

What are the issues that planners across the globe are grappling with? This week I attended a meeting in London of the Commonwealth Association of Planners (CAP). Representatives from Africa, the Caribbean and Americas, Asia, Australasia and the Pacific, and Europe gave fascinating presentations. In the space of an hour we were given a kaleidoscope of planners’ work and concerns – from post-earthquake Christchurch to crime and sprawl in Caribbean islands, from the “jobs and growth” agenda in Europe to the forced removal of people to make way for major infrastructure projects in dynamic African countries. Where does planning go from here?

Published in World View Blog

What are the implications of moves to offer international accreditation of planning education, particularly on North-South basis globally? The RTPI has fully accredited a planning programme in Africa for the first time. I chaired the Accreditation Board that visited University of Cape Town last week. On 30 October the Commonwealth Association of Planners will hold a meeting in London that will consider how to build capacity and institutions for planning across the Commonwealth. The following day I will be part of a video-link panel to the annual conference of the American Collegiate Schools of Planning in Cincinnati, where the theme of the panel will be international accreditation.

Published in World View Blog

I was involved as a speaker in an event about indicators for sustainable urbanisation the UN-Habitat World Urban Forum in Naples. The Commonwealth Association of Planners (CAP) has been working with the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to explore ways towards harmonising approaches so that policy makers can be used to track progress towards (or away from) sustainable urbanisation. As Professor Eugenie Birch commented in the workshop, “There is lots of uncoordinated activity in this field”. In co-operating in this way CAP and HUD are contributing to global advocacy of the importance of urbanisation to sustainable development. Representatives of the Ford Foundation and of UN-Habitat also spoke on the same platform, demonstrating their support for the initiative.

Published in World View Blog

This blog was first posted on the Planning Resource website on 7 May 2012.

The UN-Habitat World Urban Forum will meet in Naples in the first week in September. It is the pre-eminent meeting place for the global community of those who are actively engaged in trying to create more sustainable and equitable human settlements. It brings together mayors and grass roots activists, professionals and politicians, slum dwellers and developers, the global North and the global South. This week saw the launch of a series of on-line dialogues that will lead into the main WUF. You may not be able to get to Naples, but you can have your say on the ways you think urban planning should be used to tackle the challenges of the towns and cities.

Published in World View Blog

This blog was first published on the Planning Resource website on 9 August 2011.

Dadaab in Kenya is the biggest refugee camp in the world. It is roughly 80 kms from the border with Somalia. Its population on 24 July 2011 was 387,893.  There were 40,434 new arrivals in July – equivalent to the population of a small town. Another 40,000 or so had arrived over the previous six months. They come from drought-stricken and war-scarred Somalia. The Dadaab complex is now Kenya’s fourth largest “city”. I have been talking to two young professional planners who work in the camp. This is what they told me.

Published in World View Blog
Thursday, 09 April 2015 13:34

See Urbanisation as a Positive - or Fail

This blog was first posted on the Planning Resource website on 11 July 2011.

A third of the world’s people are on the move, says Billy Cobbett, the Manager of Cities Alliance. Addressing the World Planning Schools Congress in Perth, Western Australia, Mr. Cobbett called for planners to transform the current wave of urbanisation into a sustainable process. However, he issued a grim warning – there is no certainty of success. Likening today’s situation to the historic migration to the New World, Mr. Cobbett cautioned that we have no guide to follow. “Most current policies are wrong”, he said. “Policies that fail to focus on urbanisation as a positive force for social, economic and political transformation are policies that will fail.”
Published in World View Blog

This blog was first posted on the planning resource website on 3 July 2011.

Janet Strachan (Commonwealth Secretariat) hears about planning education in Ghana from Dr. Inkoom, while Dr. Lauence Carmichael from University of the West of England swops notes with Dr.Alias Abdullah of Malaysia's International Islamic University

The Maldive Islands: annual increase in urban population – 5.2%.; maximum height above sea level – 8 metres; rapidly growing tourist industry; four planners; no planning school.. Mozambique: annual increase in urban population 4.1%; proportion of urban population living in slums – over 90%; number of planning schools – 1. Basic facts like these hint at why planning education has become an important issue for the Commonwealth. What can we do to get planners with the right skills in the places where they are most urgently needed?

Published in World View Blog
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