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PR 59 - Global survey unearths key challenges facing planners

28 October 2008

A global survey of 1250 planners in over one hundred countries, developed by the Royal Town Planning Institute and the Commonwealth Association of Planners, has produced key insights into the main concerns facing the global planning community. The research comes days after UN reports predicting a rapid increase in global urbanisation with more than three million people moving to cities across the developing world every week.

The research, to be unveiled in Zhenjiang, China at the Global Planners Network Congress this weekend (31st October – 2nd November) found that one quarter of planners said managing the impact of development and increasing planning capacity are the greatest challenges they face. Added concerns faced by planners include socio-economic factors like poverty, adequate resources, implementing development and the natural environment.

These challenges parallel concerns addressed in The UN Habitat report, 'State of the World's Citites 2008/2009 – Harmonious Cities' released on October 23rd which highlights international issues affecting urban planning such as unsustainable development, a culture of rule breaking, the pressures of migration, poorly planned infrastructure provision, pollution and poverty. The report states that innovative approaches to urban planning have to be able to respond to these priorities and concerns and of paramount importance is climate change with the report stating:

\"Well-planned and well-regulated cities hold the key not only to minimising environmental losses, but to generating creative solutions to enhance the quality of the environment and to mitigate the negative consequences of climate change.\"

Janet O'Neill, President of the RTPI, will be visiting China as part of the RTPI delegation attending the conference;

\"The report has shown that many planners are frustrated with the lack of political will to recognise planning as an essential part of the development process. The RTPI, in its work to become a global citizen of planning, is seeking to engage closer with UN Habitat and planners worldwide. Through regular open dialogue we can share knowledge between planners and grow the capacity to plan effectively.\"


For further information contact:

Sophie Stapleton, Communications Manager, Royal Town Planning Institute, 020 7929 9479.


1. The Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI)
RTPI is a dynamic organisation leading the way in the creation of places that work now and in the future. We understand that just as people develop places, so places develop people. We are committed to the enhancement of our natural and human environment, using spatial planning to manage competing pressures on our built environments and the very real effects on our space. Through our members, we constantly seek to create areas and places in which people want to live and work.

As well as promoting spatial planning, RTPI develops and shapes policy affecting the built environment, works to raise professional standards and supports members through continuous education, training and development.

For further general information, visit the RTPI website at:

The RTPI, 41 Botolph Lane, London, EC3R 8DL is a registered charity in England 262865 and Scotland SC037841.

2. The Capacity Assessment work has been developed by the Royal Town Planning Institute and the Commonwealth Association of Planners with generous support of the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy and the RTPI Trust. For more information please contact the research team at the RTPI by email, post The Royal Town Planning Institute, 41 Botolph Lane, London, UK, EC3R 8DL, telephone 44 (0)20 7929 9494 or fax 44 (0)20 7929 9490.

3. A summary of key findings can be viewed online here

4. The Global Planners Network Congress 2008 will highlight critical planning issues, organised around the conference themes of urbanisation, poverty, climate change and hazards. The GPN Congress will immediately precede the World Urban Forum 4 which has become the world's premier gathering for the exchange of knowledge expertise and solutions on managing growing towns and cities. For more information please visit