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PR 2 - Politics and the death of planning: the RTPI annual lecture 2008 by Simon Jenkins

23 January 2008

Simon Jenkins, noted journalist and Guardian columnist, will be presenting the Royal Town Planning Institute's 2008 annual lecture. The lecture is entitled, 'Politics and the Death of Planning' and is likely to be highly controversial. The lecture will take place on Wednesday 20 February 2008 at the Brunei Gallery, School of Oriental and African Studies, Russell Square. Registration from 5.00pm, lecture begins at 5.50pm. Further details are available on www.rtpi.org.uk

Press can attend for free, to reserve a place please contact the events team on awards@rtpi.org.uk 0207 929 9473

Synopsis:
Is democracy an inalienable human right or a gift from central Government? This argument is being played out within the humble planning system both at home and abroad. Whilst slum clearances and mass population movements take place under dictatorships in the name of good planning abroad, so increasingly the UK Government is centralising planning powers at home.

The Planning Bill proposes the development of national policy statements, a centralised planning commission to decided major UK infrastructure projects, an increasing raft of national guidance and the abolition of regionally elected Assemblies in favour of unelected business-focused regional quangos. Under this sort of increased pressure can the democratic planning system survive and even rediscover some of the lost arts of urban design?

The very best urban design is done with communities not to them. Great planning is part of the urban fabric, which relies on local knowledge gained through community participation in the process. Can urban design be effective within a system that is in danger of being over-centralised and over-commercialised? Is current Government housing policy about to create the sink estates of the future?

Ends

For further information please contact:

Andrew Kliman, RTPI Communications Manager: 0207 929 9479

Editors Notes:

1. The Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) is a dynamic organisation leading the way in the creation of places that work now and in the future. Through our 20,000 members, we constantly seek to create areas and places in which people want to live and work. As well as promoting spatial planning, RTPI develops and shapes policy affecting the built environment, works to raise professional standards and supports members through continuous education, training and development. For further general information, visit the RTPI website at: www.rtpi.org.uk
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