This blog was first posted on the Planning Resource website on 24 June 2011.
Should shrinking regions be abandoned? This was a key question raised during the final day of the ESPON Open Seminar in Hungary (the opening day is covered in my previous blog this week). It is clear that many European regions face a difficult future in which their population is aging and people are moving out, especially young women. Should such regions be sustained by public investment – or left to gently fade away, as key services are withdrawn, infrastructure is not maintained and only those prepared to live in such conditions are left?
This blog was first posted on the Planning Resource website on 22 June 2011.
What can local and regional authorities do to speed economic recovery? What kind of actions are needed to make the pattern of development more sustainable? How can we make places more inclusive? The Territorial Agenda of the European Union 2020 (TA), agreed by the Ministers responsible for spatial planning last month, aspires to point the path “Towards an Inclusive, Smart and Sustainable Europe of Diverse Regions”. Now I am at the ESPON meeting in the Royal Palace at Godollo, Hungary that seeks to explore what knowledge is needed to take the TA forward and to inform the EU’s Cohesion Policy after 2013.
This blog was first posted on the Planning Resource website on 14 June 2011.
After spending a month in the USA (the reason for the lack of recent blogs) I have really begun to grasp the scale of the housing market crisis there. The sub-prime US mortgage market triggered the global economic crisis in 2007-8. Now the weakness of the housing market is slowing the US recovery, and making front page news day by day. As housing became a commodity and an investment opportunity, rather than a place to live, so speculation led to over-production and predictable bust. Foreclosures have soared, homebuilding has stopped and many homes now lie empty.
This blog was first posted on the Planning Resource website on 16 May 2011.
This is an exciting time. There is a new confidence in economic geography and regional science. We are seeing the emergence of a set of concepts and propositions that have strong and direct implications for policy makers and practitioners. One of these is the notion of urban and regional resilience. It has been described as a “steering model” for urban and regional development. It offers some pointers for planners and regeneration and economic development professionals.
This blog was first posted on the Planning Resource website on 4 May 2011.
Food security is an issue that is rapidly rising up the international agenda. As a recent paper produced by the Commonwealth Association of Planners explains, the global consensus is that population and food prices are increasing, while access to food is decreasing. Last August the RTPI released a policy statement on Planning for Food, and then took a leading role in an on-line discussion of the topic on World Town Planning Day in November 2010.
The American Planning Association has also issued policy guidance on “Community and Regional Food Planning” ,and as my blog last week showed, food was a key concern of “tweeters” at last month’s APA annual conference. So should food security become a key consideration in the practice of planning across the globe?
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.
This blog was first posted on the Planning Resource website on 11 April 2011.
Across the world, administrative boundaries, and particularly international borders, are blocks to economic development, management of energy and conservation of natural resources. Rivers flow across frontiers, where flood prevention measures differ. National energy policies and grids constrain efficiency. Small towns split by a border struggle against larger economic hubs. The culture of officialdom looks inwards. However, across Europe border barriers are being tackled through spatial planning and economic development. Local blinkers are being replaced by new forms of co-operation and policy-making.
This blog was first posted on the Planning Resource website on 4 April 2011.
Frustrations with urban conditions were a fundamental factor behind the popular uprisings in Egypt, according to Doug Saunders, author of a new book Arrival City: The Final Migration and Our Next World. The book looks at neighbourhoods that are transitional between rural and urban. Across Africa and Latin America rural dwellers are moving to temporary locations for temporary or seasonal work. They form their own neighbourhoods on the outskirts of ‘urban’ areas, the first rung on the urban ladder. Once they get established, they want to move on, but find themselves blocked by housing policy and planning regulation. That’s when social unrest and political crises can be expected.
This blog was first posted on the Planning Resource website on 23 March 2011.
I am one of Europe’s growing cohort of old age pensioners. In 31 European countries, even if life expectancy does not improve, the population aged 65+ would increase by 40 per cent to 2050. If life expectancy continues to grow, the number of persons aged 65+ will leap by between 87 and 111 per cent. However, with out-migration and low birth rates, many of Europe’s regions face the prospect of a population that is both ageing and reducing in numbers. Unless things change, 60% of European regions will experience population decline up to 2050. Demography is a key factor in the development and planning of cities and region: what are Europe’s prospects and what are the implications?
This blog was first posted on the Planning Resource website on 15 March 2011.
By 2030, one in every two urban residents in the world will be in Asia. Dhaka, capital of Bangladesh, brings this dramatic urban transition into focus. Faced with a constant battle against water, inadequate infrastructure and sanitation, endemic traffic congestion and electricity shortages how are the planners faring?
This blog was first posted on the Planning Resource website on 7 March 2011.
Cities are invisible in the UK Department for International Development (DFID) review of UK aid. Yet only a year ago DFID were calling cities “The New Frontier” in a high profile document that proclaimed “Cities are the future of the twenty first century”. In contrast, the aid review does not discuss cities at all. Its focus is strongly tilted towards rural areas, and support for UN-Habitat is to be withdrawn. All “urban” voices within DFID appear to have been silenced.
This blog was first published on the Planning Resource website on 25 February 2011.
Aleppo has made it to the UNESCO World Heritage List. A historic crossroads location on trade routes that criss-crossed the Middle East and connected it to Asia and Europe generated the wealth to invest in the built environment. The result is some grand set-pieces, perhaps most noticeably the 12th century Great Mosque and the monumental 13th century Citadel. However, much of the character of the city comes from the intricate network of streets and suqs within the walled city.
This blog was first posted on the Planning Resource website on 21 February 2011.
It was great to see the Commonwealth Association of Planners given the President’s Special Award at the RTPI Awards ceremony in London recently. Retiring RTPI President Ann Skippers emphasised the work CAP does in supporting planners across the Commonwealth. She invited the audience to imagine that they were the only planner working in their office, and then reminded them that in some small Commonwealth states there may only be one planner in the whole country.
This blog by Cliff Hague was first posted on Planning Resource on 28 October 2013.
The scale of the challenges that planners face from urban transport is made clear in the new UN-Habitat Global Report on Human Settlements. As ever more trips are made it becomes harder and harder to move around cities, even when money is invested in transport infrastructure. Across the globe, but especially in the rapidly urbanising mega cities of the global south, cities are facing a crisis of accessibility. Quite simply, unsustainable forms of urban transport are no longer working.
Young Eyes is a new IC project. It looks to me like it will be a good one. I was at the kick-off meeting in a cold and misty Warsaw in January. All the partners were there – Jelgava and Rauna from Latvia, our Polish friends from Suwalki, and from the far north came the delegation from Robertsfors in Sweden. In addition there was PAS from Edinburgh, bringing a lot of experience in youth involvement in built environment issues.
Across Europe the centres of small and medium sized towns are facing serious challenges. Retailing was the key function that drew people to these places. But we shop differently nowadays. A generation ago the big retailers began to move their businesses out of town centres and to edge of city retail parks.