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'Place' key for inclusive economic growth, Welsh conference hears

12 June 2017

Wales Planning Conference Rosemary Thomas

Well planned places are key to inclusive, sustainable economic growth, over 200 delegates heard at a national planning conference in Cardiff last week. It must be a priority for planners, who can play a key role in addressing the spatial dimension of patchy economic growth across the UK and globally. American Planning Association's Policy Director Jason Jordan highlighted the "critical role of place and place making" which he described as "the biggest driver of economic development today".

Speakers, including former Welsh Chief Planner Rosemary Thomas, the RTPI's President and Jordan were unanimous in their belief in planning as a tool to deliver more homes in the right places, jobs and infrastructure needed by communities. Thomas said: "It's about place making, the quality of our built environment matters."

Jordan cautioned, however, that in order to deliver planners must "reposition the profession from a protector of process to an enabler of outcomes". Thomas also urged planners to keep abreast of changes because "change is constant".

The conference, celebrating its 10th year, reflected on how planning has evolved and how it could adapt to meet society's future needs. 

Alan Southerby, RTPI Cymru Chair said: 

"We were inspired to think about how planners can provide leadership on current challenges, such as more even and fair economic development. It's clear planners have a role to play in helping to deliver solutions to our shared challenges and the conference continues to be an opportunity to learn from and inspire each other."

RTPI Cymru Wales Planning Conference

Savills, Hydrock, Francis Taylor Building and Design Commission for Wales sponsored the conference.

The 2018 Wales Planning Conference will be held on 7 June at City Hall, Cardiff.

See how the event unfolded on Twitter with #walesplan17

View: Photos from the day

Enter: Wales Planning Award 2017