The RTPI Young Planners’ Centenary Conference attracted numerous delegates from around the country and was opened by the Mayor of Bristol, planner, architect and urbanist, George Ferguson. The two day Conference packed in 20 main speakers, six workshops and study tours around the region.
The golden thread running through all plenary sessions of the Conference was keeping people at the heart of planning. In the opening words of The Mayor of Bristol, he urged young planners to think about resilience as a way to achieve a better place; to understand community and get under the skin of people in order to be a good planner, creating great places for people. He added that too often planning is about the glossy pictures in the magazines, and not enough about people and place. He reminded delegates that whatever we do spatially affects people’s lives, quoting: “It’s the people, stupid!” Jonathan Speed from Future Cities Catapult reinforced the Mayor’s comments as he encouraged planners to consider, who you are planning for and, importantly who you are planning with. He added that Planning with people is key, and people are becoming more able to engage in different ways.
Jon Kirkpatrick of Lend Lease EMEA spoke in the Envionmental Resilience plenary session and quoted Charles Darwin: “It is not the strongest or the most intelligent who will survive but those who can best manage change” emphasising the need to build in resilience in Development Planning.
Other plenary topics included Housing and Population, Infrastructure Challenges, as well as reflections on the RTPI’s Centenary, thoughts from Young Planners, and a key session looking at Reassessing our Systems. David Warburton from HCA said in the Housing and Population session: “Never have we needed good town planners more than today given the scale of the housing issue and population growth”.
This year’s conference was organised by the South West Young Planners.
Tristan Dewhurst of GVA was thanked for leading the Conference organisation as Committee Chair.
Janet Askew, RTPI Vice-President said: “These young policy makers of the future showed that they are raising really important issues, and their enthusiasm will allow them to challenge the status quo and bring about a better future for the profession.”
The Conference speakers were inspiring and thought-provoking, looking at some key planning issues for the UK and beyond. The headline sponsors for the event were Atkins and Turley. Our thanks goes to them and the Young Planners for making the event a continued success.