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RTPI in European research win

24 October 2012

The Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) has successfully led a partnership of six European organisations to secure nearly €500,000 of European Union funding to ensure research generated by the European Observation Network for Territorial Development and Cohesion (ESPON) informs practitioners and policy-makers.

ESPON map 2The RTPI will work on the project, called 'USESPON', with partners from France, Germany, Greece, Luxembourg and Poland for the duration of the contract (June 2014). USESPON will help planners and policy-makers to apply findings from the ESPON Programme and make the best use of local assets to enable economic growth.

Trudi Elliott, the Chief Executive of the RTPI, said "Our job is to get the message out. The new project will focus on holding more events, producing teaching materials and engaging with practitioners to help them use ESPON findings to develop effective place-based policy. This is an excellent opportunity for the RTPI to build on the expertise gained during the ESPON-INTERSTRAT project, which used interactive events to introduce UK policy-makers with ESPON data and concepts."

ESPON is a European research programme providing data and techniques for those involved in developing place-based policy. There is a 'Contact Point' which encourages people to bid for European grants and encourage practitioners to use ESPON findings in each of the 31 countries involved in ESPON (the 27 counties in the European Union, plus Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland). RTPI was appointed by the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) as the UK's 'Contact Point' in January 2008.

Pictured above: The map shows internet usage throughout Europe. Access to information and communication technology is vital for smart growth, and competitive cities such as London, Paris and Stockholm are shown to have particularly high concentrations of IP addresses per capita. The main challenge for strategic planning is to ensure that local businesses and citizens are linked to high-speed internet infrastructure.