This website uses cookies so that we can provide you with the best possible experience. If you continue to use this site we will assume that you are happy with this. You can find out more about how we use cookies here. If you would like to know more about cookies, or how you can delete them, click here.

Public policy can work better if it understands the differences between places

04 June 2014

Thinking Spatially with textIn the face of increasing numbers and complexity of inter-connected economic, social and environmental challenges, the Royal Town Planning Institute, the largest professional institute for planners in Europe, has issued an intellectual call-to-action to change the way that public policy is made if we are to avoid these challenges turning into crises.

Thinking Spatially seeks toaddress the global challenges we face: rapid population and urbanisation stretching our capacity to provide adequate housing, energy, water; climate change; the unbalanced nature of economic growth; sprawl; and political unrest. Research and practice has established that issues are inter-related and that our responses to them need to be related. Crucially the RTPI holds that by thinking spatially the connections and the solutions to the challenges become more apparent. The paper contains one central message, as our call to action for everyone involved in public policy: policy needs to be more integrated and strategic through a better understanding of the differences between places.

Cath Ranson, President of the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI), said: “Thinking Spatially examines the challenges that we face globally, the reasons why policy-making fails, and what we can do to resolve this. The report focuses on polices, including those beyond the remit of planners, and explains why it is imperative that decision-makers consider the wider consequence of their decisions. From the local to the national and international, policy is rarely approached with an understanding of how we use land, and the effect of interactions between the different land uses. With the publication of Thinking Spatially, the RTPI is calling on politicians and policy-makers to focus on the importance of both place and space in responding to these challenges.”

Thinking Spatially, the first in a series of five ‘big picture’ papers (branded ‘Planning Horizons’) published by the RTPI, is global in scope but contains messages that will resonate with policy-makers at every level of governance.

Picture credit

This picture represents the spatial accessibility of London’s street network, created by Space Syntax Limited.

The Space Syntax Laboratory at The Bartlett, University College London, is the internationally-renowned home of academic research, software development and teaching in the field of ‘space syntax’.

Space Syntax Limited is an applied research company, created at UCL in 1989 and now working internationally to apply space syntax theory and technology in practice.