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Planning and design: making better places - Birmingham

Thursday, 19 April 2018 at 9:30AM - 4:30PM
Etc venues, Maple House, 150 Corporation Street, Birmingham, B4 6TB
RTPI Training

Course aim

Design – the physical form of buildings and spaces is an essential part of planning policy, development management and sustainable development.

Achieving high standards of design through the planning system has rarely been more challenging. On the one hand, the National Planning Policy Framework recognises design as an essential part of delivering sustainable development. On the other hand, local authorities have to come to terms with funding cuts and the government’s desperate need to get homes built.

  • How can local authorities write effective design policy?
  • How can design guidance and design codes help?
  • How can consultants help developers achieve good design?
  • What is the role of design in winning planning appeals?
  • In appraising development, how can planners tell the difference between good design and bad?
  • How can we avoid the problem of a development receiving planning permission but then something of much inferior quality being built?


Through a combination of expert trainer input, discussion and group work, you will:

  • Gain an insight of national and local frameworks and the implications these have for design
  • Take part in a sight visit – exploring the process of appraising design
  • Learn how to write design policy and guidance.
  • Work on case studies and review good practice.


masterclass format icon

Delegate numbers are restricted to enhance learning outcomes

This links to the following CPD Priorities:

  • Effective decision making
  • Communication, mediation and negotiation skills


Our trainer

Our masterclasses are delivered by our pool of industry leaders who are able to draw on their extensive personal experience to offer practical, interactive courses to our delegates.

Explore our trainer's background and their areas of expertise below.

Rob Cowan

Rob is an urbanist and writer, and director of the consultancy Urban Design Skills. He is one of the UK’s most experienced planning and urban design trainers, working with both members and officers. He has delivered the RTPI’s masterclasses on Design in the Planning System for the past 12 years. He is editor of Context, the journal of the Institute of Historic Building Conservation, and a judge of the Civic Voice Design Awards. He was the joint author of the government’s first urban design guidance, By Design, and he has edited its replacement, the recently published Design Companion for Planning and Placemaking.


Please note there is limited availability for Licentiate, Independent Consultants and concessions. To be eligible for the Independent Consultant rate, you need to be member of the Independent Consultants Network (ICN). For the RTPI concessions rate, you need to be a RTPI student, unemployed or retired member. You will need your membership number and password to book.

If you are having difficulties booking, please contact us on 020 7929 8400 or email


The RTPI supports the adoption of all 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals and this course specifically supports:

SDG 10 SDG 11 SDG 13 UN Emblem