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80 years of Scottish town planning profession celebrated

20 May 2010

MSPs and town planners from across Scotland have gathered at a reception at the Scottish Parliament to celebrate the 80th anniversary of the founding of the Royal Town Planning Institute in Scotland.

At the reception, hosted by Sarah Boyack MSP (a former town planner), guests heard from Ann Skippers, President of the RTPI and Stewart Stevenson MSP, Minister for Transport, Infrastructure and Climate Change, whose great uncle in 1928 hosted the meeting in Edinburgh at which it was decided to set up a permanent Scottish Branch of the Institute.

Ann Skippers, President of the Royal Town Planning Institute said:

\"Scotland has a proud history of town planning, from Edinburgh's New Town to the pioneering vision of New Lanark and more recently the regeneration of the Gorbals. It is the birthplace of the widely-recognised father of town planning, Sir Patrick Geddes and his legacy lives on today in the range of innovative projects led by planners underway across Scotland.

Eighty years ago the Scottish planning profession came together to found the Scottish branch of the Royal Town Planning Institute, recognising Scotland's separate and unique system of land tenure, legislation and local and national character. Its members have shaped the fabric of Scotland's built environment, culture and character over the past eighty years and I'm delighted to celebrate the achievements of the RTPI in Scotland, and to look forward to an exciting future where planners are leading in shaping Scotland's development.\"

Stewart Stevenson MSP, Minister for Transport, Infrastructure and Climate Change said:

"I was delighted to discover my family connection with the origins of the Royal Town Planning Institute in Scotland. Planning has achieved much for Scotland over the past 80 years. Our reforms of the planning system are designed to ensure that we have a planning system which is fit for purpose in the 21st century. The Scottish Government wants to see planning playing a key role in addressing the contemporary challenges of economic recovery, sustainable development and climate change."

The foundation of the Scottish Branch of the Royal Town Planning Institute
In October 1928 the then Town Planning Institute came to Edinburgh and their meeting was hosted by Provost Sir Alexander Stevenson, great-uncle of Stewart Stevenson, Minister for Transport, Infrastructure and Climate Change. At this meeting it was decided to set up a permanent Scottish Branch of the Institute. Arising from the January meeting there was a unanimous resolution to form a branch and call it \"Scottish Branch\" covering the area of Scotland. The Scottish Executive Committee of the Royal Town Planning Institute in Scotland was established in 2000 and replaced the former Scottish Branch and Scottish Planning Policy Panel.

RTPI in Scotland reception
The Parliamentary Reception was held at the Scottish Parliament on Wednesday 19th May 2010 at 6 pm. It was hosted by Ms Sarah Boyack MSP and attended by over 100 invited guests and MSPs. The reception celebrates the 80th anniversary of the founding of the Scottish Branch of the RTPI and will welcome members of ECTP-CEU (the European Council of Spatial Planners) to Edinburgh, where their annucal general meeting is taking place.

An exhibition 'Scotland's Planning Legacy: an exhibition marking the 80th Anniversary of the Scottish Branch' will be on display in the Garden Lobby of the Parliament. The exhibition has been designed by Roger Kelly who was Convener of the RTPI in Scotland in 2008.