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Victoria Hills: Insights from a month of industry events

The built environment sector was abuzz with activity in the last month, with three major events taking place around the world. From MIPIM in Cannes, to Planner Live North in the UK, and the American Planning Association Conference in Philadelphia, leaders and experts in the field have been sharing insights and ideas on how to build sustainable and equitable communities.

Taking the pulse of the international property sector at MIPIM 2023

MIPIM – the Cannes event was an opportunity to connect with key partners and colleagues across built environment sector. President Sue Bridge, led a busy programme of speaking and engagement. We gained valuable chance to take the pulse of the international property sector.

Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) was everywhere this year, and it's clear that investors are increasingly focused on companies' ESG credentials. The planning profession is uniquely placed to draw together the UN's Sustainable Development Goals, and we need to work together across the built environment sector to ensure that we're collectively delivering sustainable outcomes.

Another theme that emerged was the growing focus on social value. It's clear that there's a growing awareness of the importance of delivering positive social outcomes alongside economic benefits. This is something that planners have been advocating for many years, and it's encouraging to see that this message is starting to resonate with investors and developers.

Public-private partnerships were also a hot topic at the conference. Partnerships are back on the agenda, and it's clear that they have an important role to play in delivering major infrastructure projects, provided they incorporate equity as part of the conversation.

Given the international position of MIPIM, it seemed the perfect opportunity to launch the RTPI’s new guidance on working in the UK for town planners. We believe that a career in planning is open to all, and we're committed to working with the government to open up further opportunities in this important field.

Telling the story of planning at Planner Live North

March also marked the return of the Planner Live North event, which explores how the North can use the powers of planning to drive a more prosperous future by harnessing its natural, geographic, economic and societal assets.

The RTPI's Director of Communications Simon Creer and The Planner magazine’s deputy editor Simon Wicks took to the stage, explaining how we improve storytelling in the profession, and target the people most affected by planning decisions.

It seems that there has never been such an important time to tell the story of planning. A recent survey conducted by The Planner found that 87% of planners feel social media is fuelling misinformation about local planning issues.

As a profession, we need to help residents understand that planning decisions are not done to them, but with and for them. It's clear that effective storytelling is key to engaging communities and delivering positive outcomes, and we'll be looking to build on this theme in our work going forward.

Taking UK planning stateside

Philadelphia, with its walkable streets, diverse neighborhoods, and rich planning history courtesy of the Penn plan, provided a beautiful backdrop for this year’s the American Planning Association (APA) conference. It was inspiring to see how the city has embedded planning principles into its public spaces.

As the RTPI President, Sue Bridge, and Young Planner of the Year, Simeon Shtebunaev, attended the conference, it was also an opportunity to connect with other planning leaders from around the world. It was energising to be surrounded by thousands of passionate planners, committed to addressing issues of mental health, sustainability, and affordability, with a strong dose of community engagement and equity.

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