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Winners of RTPI research awards focus on design and quality of development

04 September 2018

Winners of the 2018 RTPI Research Excellence Awards were announced last night. A common theme for many is the design and quality of places and their relationship with well-being and health outcomes.

“This pool of new evidence is welcome particularly in the light of the revised National Planning Policy Framework, which puts new focus on the importance of design amid ambitious government housing targets.

Design, planning and well-being a key theme

A study led by a team at the Bartlett School of Planning, University College London won the Academic Award for exposing the low quality of residential dwellings converted from offices without the need for planning permission, following the deregulation of the planning system in England in 2013.

The study finds that just 30% of converted ‘studio flats’ meet national space standards, and that many office conversions in the middle of industrial estates have undergone barely any changes to make them fit for habitation.

Meanwhile, a project exploring how green infrastructure can be better planned through the creation of the UK’s first green infrastructure benchmark has won the Sir Peter Hall Award for Wider Engagement.

The “Building with Nature” benchmark defines and sets the standard for high quality green infrastructure design and aims to address the gap between policy aspirations and practicable deliverability. It follows from the team’s research which revealed that uncertainty surrounds what constitutes high quality green infrastructure, and that delivery is inconsistent.

The Consultancy Award went to a study that help planners in Southwark, London, achieve healthier outcomes. They find that building trust with local communities is crucial to learning about their perceptions around health issues, and that there is concrete evidence that shows changes in built environment design such as street layouts can improve health of residents.

Tom Kenny, RTPI’s acting deputy head of policy and research, says:

“This pool of new evidence is welcome particularly in the light of the revised National Planning Policy Framework, which puts new focus on the importance of design amid ambitious government housing targets.

“The winners and highly commended entries have demonstrated how academic researchers can positively reach out to practitioners and policymakers with insights and finding to inform and influence their work.”

List of winners

Sir Peter Hall Award

Building with Nature - Gemma Jerome (Gloucester Wildlife Trust and the Centre for Sustainable Planning and Environments, University of the West of England), Danielle Sinnett, Nick Smith, Tom Calvert, Sarah Burgess, Louise King (Centre for Sustainable Planning and Environments, University of the West of England)

Academic Award

Assessing the Impacts of Extending Permitted Development Rights to Office-to-Residential Change of Use in England - Ben Clifford, Jessica Ferm, Nicola Livingstone, Patricia Canelas (Bartlett School of Planning, University College London)

Consultancy Award

Healthy Planning and Regeneration: Innovations in Community Engagement, Policy and Monitoring - Helen Pineo (BRE and Institute for Environmental Design and Engineering, UCL), Simon Bevan, Andrew Ruck, Clizia Deidda (Southwark Council)

Early Career Award

Estimates of Transaction Costs in Transfer of Development Rights Programs - Sina Shahab (School of Architecture, Planning and Environmental Policy, University College Dublin), J. Peter Clinch (Geary Institute, University College Dublin), Eoin O’Neill (University College Dublin)

Student Award

What do they know? The Power and Potential of Story in Planning - Jason Matthew Slade (Department of Urban Studies and Planning, University of Sheffield)

 

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