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RTPI report highlights importance of links between planning, education, research and practice

18 January 2011

A new report by Senior Lecturer Dr.Geraint Ellis and colleagues at Queen's University Belfast School of Planning, Architecture and Civil Engineering, recently published by the RTPI profiles planning education in the UK and urges enhanced cooperation between planning academics and practitioners.

RTPI President Ann Skippers  said: \"The RTPI welcomes the report.  It's clear that the growth in the quantity and quality of research coming out of planning schools needs to be taken advantage of in planning practice. The UK funding councils' new emphasis on the impact of research will be an important stimulus for more cooperative work between practitioners and academics. At the same time, there is serious concern that the current and proposed cuts in higher education funding will sharply reverse these positive trends and impoverish our knowledge base.  We are keen to follow up on the report's findings and recommendations in supporting and developing planning education and the profession as a whole."

The report emphasises that changes over the last 10 – 15 years have transformed the relationship between the planning academy  and other parts of the profession. Other findings include:

  • There are now more students and more accredited planning courses than at any other time in the history of planning education.
  • Professional accreditation of courses by the RTPI is valued by universities, adding value to both quality and employability.
  • Planning practitioners from both the public and private sectors interact directly with planning schools through partnership boards, hosting student placements, involvement in research or student projects, commissioning research or acting as a guest lecturers or mentors for students and graduates.
  • Only 23% of respondents from practice had any links at all with academic work.

Dr Ellis added: \"This research underlines the fact that academics are a critical element of the wider profession, making an essential contribution to the vitality of planning as a professional activity. While practitioners recognise the importance of universities in producing future planners, the profession does not seem to be fully exploiting the valuable research undertaken by planning schools, which is something that both academia and practitioners will have to address if we want planning to be further evidence-based and more intellectually robust.\"

The Future of the Planning Academy : Full Report and Executive Summary can be downloaded here.