On World Town Planning Day 2019, I was part of an event in Dundee organised by RTPI (Scotland) with the theme "Through the Years, Across the Globe". Discussion during and after prompted me to ponder Scotland's messages to an international audience of planners and urbanists.
A simple grid plan for urban extensions should be the basis for managing rapid urbanisation says a new UN-Habitat report.
Twenty years ago I became RTPI President. Here is the text of the speech I gave to RTPI Council on my inauguration. It ends by reaffirming the manifesto published in 1975 by the Radical Institute Group, of which I was one of the founders.
In smaller towns across the UK and many other countries, the town centres are struggling. Julian Dobson, has a barrowful of ideas of what to do about it. His book How to Save Our Town Centres is the best starting point I know for those who want to combine analysis with action. It is well researched, well-informed and refreshingly creative. It deserves an international audience. Much of the analysis is UK-focused, but there are plenty of non-UK examples of innovative responses to the problems of town centres.
In 2013 I helped RTPI construct a timeline to tell the story of planning 1914-2014 for their centenary year. Inevitably the focus was on the Institute itself and events in the UK. However, it set me wondering what a “World View” of planning over that 100 years might look like?
Spending a couple of days in Tel Aviv has enabled me to walk through the part of the town that was designed by Sir Patrick Geddes in the 1920s. The legacy of that plan is still evident today in what has become Israel's main gateway city. Can some of Tel Aviv's dynamism be traced back to Geddes vision? What are the lessons for today's planners?