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RTPI invests in research into the value of planning

17 March 2015

The RTPI has awarded funding for two successful projects which were judged the best proposals for innovative research demonstrating the ‘value of planning’.

The projects are:

  • ‘Putting a price on planning? A cross-national investigation into the behavioural economics of managed development’ by Alex Lord (University of Liverpool). It will consider how behavioural economics provides an insight into the approaches taken to planning by different nations within the EU.
  • ‘Planning for growth: international evidence from China’
    by Fulong Wu (pictured below) from University College London will present evidence about the role of Chinese planning for economic and urban development for understanding the wider value of planning.

Fulong WuThis research will build on the RTPI’s existing wider research programme which is developing understanding within the research community and planning profession about the economic value of planning. This work will be shared with our growing network of academics, stakeholders and planners to develop support for further research into how planning can deliver positive economic outcomes for place.

Mike Harris, RTPI Deputy Head of Policy, Practice and Research who manages SPIRe said:

“This new research will contribute to our understanding of the economic and financial value of planning while still recognising the importance of broader social and environmental values. This research helps the RTPI to build support amongst a wider audience for the important work planners do to create positive outcomes for places”.

“This new research will contribute to our understanding of the economic and financial value of planning while still recognising the importance of broader social and environmental values.

These projects are funded under the Small Project Impact Research (SPIRe) Scheme, set up in 2013 to support small-scale research projects. As a part of its work to promote research into planning, the SPIRe Scheme is intended to encourage high quality research projects that have the potential to impact on policy and practice, and to encourage closer collaboration between the RTPI and Planning Schools.

This new research builds on the 2014 RTPI report, ‘The Value of Planning’ by Professor David Adams (University of Glasgow) and Professor Craig Watkins (University of Sheffield), which characterises planning as a much broader activity than the narrow regulatory role to which it is relegated by many economists and some politicians. It explains how planning helps to create the kinds of places where people want to live, work, relax and invest; and that planning is in essence about improving places by helping them to function better economically as well as socially and environmentally.

In addition, as part of a wider research workstream into the value of planning agenda, the RTPI is also developing a follow-on project to the ‘Value of Planning’ report, ‘Realising the Value of Planning’, which continues our collaboration with Glasgow and Sheffield on this agenda, and will deepen and extend the evidence and arguments set out in the first report.

For further information on these projects, visit the SPIRe project webpages.