This blog was first posted on the Planning Resource website on 28 November 2011.
Nowa Huta was a showcase development by the communist government in Poland in the 1950s. Today, on a bright, cold central European winter afternoon, I took the bus from the old town of Krakow, and rode out to see the place that in 1949 promised poor people “a better future”. In this homage to socialist realist town planning and architecture I was also retracing my own past. In 1970, during my first year teaching in the Department of Town and Country Planning at Heriot-Watt University/Edinburgh College of Art, I came here on a study visit with my students.
This blog was first posted on the Planning resource website on 21 November 2011.
“From 1 January 2012 all of Australia’s capital cities will have in place planning systems to guide their futures, and it is these plans that will inform the Federal Government’s infrastructure funding. In this way, our essential social and economic infrastructure will all be funded in a coordinated way that best serves the needs and priorities of the nation.” With these words, Anthony Albanese, Minister for Infrastructure and Transport introduced the 2011 State of Australian Cities report. This explicit connection between the state of the cities, plans and investment in infrastructure sets a marker that other countries could learn from.
This blog was first posted on the Planning Resource website on 14 November 2011.
The palm trees sway in the breeze. Under a blue sky, the waves lap the beach of a sandy cove. The nearby mangrove forests are home to an amazing diversity of wildlife. How will Brunei, this tropical paradise, cope with the development pressures coming its way over the next 40 years? What does it tell us about planning in small countries?
This blog was first posted on the Planning Resource website on 31 October 2011.
The preparation of City Visions is celebrated in an exhibition currently on display in the Lighthouse, Glasgow, after previously being in Berlin and London. It focuses on four cities: Berlin, Chicago, London and Paris. It celebrates the centenary of the ‘General Town Planning Exhibition in Berlin’ in 1910, but also looks at the same 4 cities in 2010. What can we learn for today from this exhibition?
This blog was first posted on the Planning Resource website on 24 October 2011.
The idea of polycentric development has been a cornerstone of European spatial planning for over a decade. But what does it mean? What does it imply for practice? How can we measure it? Is it now past its “sell-by date”?
This blog was first posted on the Planning Resource website on 3 October 2011.
In my last couple of Blogs I have covered issues around planning for growth. This one continues that theme by looking at messages in ESPON research that give pointers to territorial actions that would put “Planning for Growth” into practice. Place-based economic development – The theme of “Planning for Growth” dominated the ESPON INTERSTRAT one day conference in London on 30 September. In this blog I summarise the presentation that I made. For simplicity, I picked out ten messages that are embedded in a number of ESPON research projects and that point the way for “Planning for Growth”.
This blog was first posted on the Planning Resource website on 28 September 2011.
There is a clear message that comes from the modern literature about competitiveness. In a knowledge economy, competitiveness is closely tied to innovation. However, innovation is not a linear process from men in white coats in laboratories through to a commercially successful product. Indeed many innovations that are brought to the market come from companies that do not have an R and D function. Rather innovation comes from multiple feedbacks, absorbing messages from customers, sharing tacit knowledge, a willingness to experiment. Thus regions can be important catalysts for innovation. How do we build these insights into plans for growth?
This blog was first posted on the Planning Resource website on 26 September 2011.
As the Eurozone teeters on the brink, what future patterns of regional change look likely? How does today’s crisis relate to the idea of territorial cohesion? A major conference in London on Friday will look at Planning for Growth from a European perspective. What are likely to be the key themes and what can the evidence from the ESPON programme add to debates in England about the future of planning?
This blog was first posted on the Planning Resource website on 22 September 2011.
Next year will see the twentieth anniversary of the landmark UN “Earth Summit” that was held in Rio de Janeiro. Will the 2012 “Rio +20” summit in Brazil next June become a new landmark or an epitaph for environmentalist dreams? What strategy should planners and the other built environment professions adopt if they are to have their voice heard?
This blog was first posted on the Planning resource website on 15 August 2011.
The recently published report of the State of South Africa’s Cities makes extensive use of the concept of “resilience”. This is a theme that I discussed in a previous blog a couple of months back. However, as far as I know, the South Africans are the first to use it as a building block for a major national report. Thus “Towards Resilient Cities: Reflections on the first decade of a democratic and transformed local government in South Africa 2001-2011” is interesting both for its use of the concept and for what it has to tell us about what is happening in South Africa. In addition, it comes at a time when work is being progressed by the Commonwealth Association of Planners and others on a Commonwealth Urban Agenda and a Commonwealth set of urban indicators.
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.
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.
This blog was first posted on the Planning Resource website on 25 July 2011.
As the UK government urges planning authorities to plan for growth and Local Enterprise Partnerships set out to boost local economies, what do we know about spatial trends in the knowledge economy?
This blog was first posted on the Planning Resource website on 18 July 2011.
Tax Increment Financing (TIF) is a controversial tool for economic development. New and so far unpublished research on its use in Chicago questions the benefits that TIFs generate. These findings strengthen the reservations about TIF that my co-authors and I expressed in our new book on Regional and Local Economic Development. In England the TIF idea has been promoted by the British Property Federation and the Core Cities Group, and has received government backing. Meanwhile the Scottish Government has indicated that it will support six pilot TIF projects. So why are there so many criticisms of TIFs in the USA?
This blog was first posted on the planning resource website on 3 July 2011.
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?