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.  

The 2015-2030 Sustainable Development Goals to be adopted by governments at the United Nations next week pose a direct challenge and opportunity for planning and other built environment professionals.

Despite the pace of urbanization and the economic importance of cities, many leading politicians in Africa are still focused on rural areas.

Published in News items

Public spaces are integral to healthy and prosperous cities. This was the theme of  a major conference last week in the run-up to next year's Habitat III global summit. Place-making needs to be seen as contributing to the 2015-2030 Sustainable Development Goals. 

Published in News items

This blog was first posted on the Planning Resource website on 15 May 2012.

Natural disasters continue to claim lives and devastate families, particularly the global South. The poor are most vulnerable as they typically live in the most hazardous locations. However, this social and geographical reality also compounds the problems, because of the gaps that exists between planners and the poor. The two groups speak different languages, have different understandings about the problems and what to do. Bridging such gaps could be a way to build greater resilience to extreme environmental events. Participatory 3 dimensional mapping is a technique that promises to do this.

Published in World View Blog

This blog was first posted on the Planning Resource website on 28 February 2012.

For many the very idea of town planning is inextricably tied to a statutory system for regulation of development, operated by professionals. To non-professionals the procedures and rules are opaque. The attempt to impose uniform standards can be inequitable and self-defeating. Such planning is seen as top-down and technocratic. From the 1960s onwards, and particularly in the global South, there have been attempts to put into practice quite different forms of planning and place-making. Such initiatives are bottom-up and participatory, and tend to be focused around a wider range of priorities than are permitted within official planning legislation. In Japan this counter-movement is known as Machizukuri , and it is attracting a lot of attention.

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

This blog was first posted on the Planning Resource website on 1 August 2011.

The Localism Bill in England is creating new Neighbourhood Development Plans. The bill will also provide powers to communities to bring forward a ‘community right to build’.  So this is a good time to distil  key messages from experiences with community planning, and an international perspective can help. Phil Heywood’s new book “Community Planning: Integrating Social and Physical Environments” is a good place to start. It includes a compelling case study of the practice of design-led local community involvement  in Northern Queensland.

Published in World View Blog

This blog was first published on the Planning Resource website on 24 April 2011.

The American Planning Association annual conference in Boston provided a fascinating insight into the concerns and perspectives of US planners. The angle that particularly caught my attention was the blitz of presentations and activities about how planners and developers can use social media and new information technology in their work. Whether you want to tweet, trip or ClickFix, or just browse in the urban interactive studio, the APA was the place to be. Or not to be, maybe that was the question, for you didn’t need to be in Boston to be connected to this virtual planners’ world.

Published in World View Blog