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Past Projects and Events

The following list provides a summary of past research projects and events that the RTPI has been involved in over the past years. These have been categorised into the following categories:

Housing / Planning Education / Spatial Planning / Sustainable Development / Strategic Planning / Climate Change / Water / Sustsainable Living / Planning Research


Critical Perspectives on Devolved Governance

A volume of contributions from leading academics and policy makers elaborating on some of the topics covered at the RTPI Symposium 'Critical Perspectives on Devolved Governance'. Given our recent output on these topics, it gives the Policy and Research team great pleasure to provide a forum for these important debates and it is our hope that this small volume will stoke further discussion on different models of governance as the UK embarks on a new political cycle.


  • Critical perspectives on devolved governance – lessons from housing policy in England. Miguel Coelho, Institute for Government
  • Assessing the impact of decentralisation. John Tomaney, Bartlett School of Planning, UCL
  • Planning, Place Governance and the Challenges of Devolution. Patsy Healey, School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape, Newcastle University
  • Making strategic planning work. Nicholas Falk, UrbEd
  • The contribution of planning to England's devolutionary journey. Janice Morphet, RTPI
  • Place-based leadership and social innovation.Robin Hambleton,University of the West of England*
  • Collaborative Innovation: The argument. Jacob Torfing, Roskilde University

 Read Critical Perspectives on Devolved Governance here

 *Due to a technical fault Professor Hambleton's references are not included in the pdf document. They are listed below


[1] Hambleton R. (2015) 'Power, place and the New Civic Leadership', Local Economy, Vol 30 (2) pp167-172

[2] Hambleton R. (2015) Leading the Inclusive City. Place-based innovation for a bounded planet.  Bristol: Policy Press

[3] Frederickson H. G. (2005) 'Transcending community: Local leadership in a world of shared power', Public Management, Vol 87, No 10


RTPI Symposium, Critical Perspectives on Devolved Governance

This event, which took place in UCL in April 2015, involved a range of academics and policy experts giving their perspective on devolved models of governance. Inspired by the RTPI's Planning Horizons series, the symposium took the critical perspective on devolution that has arguably been lacking in some recent public debates.


Planning for Housing in England:

In January 2014, the RTPI launched the first research report from the Small Projects Impact Research (SPIRe) scheme. The report, 'Planning for Housing in England', examines recent changes in household formation rates and their implications for planning for housing. The research, conducted for the RTPI by Neil McDonald and Peter Williams from the Cambridge Centre for Housing and Planning Research, suggests how planners and others might respond to these changes. For further information, see the Full Report [PDF] or read the Research Briefing.

Planning Successful Places: Towards an Integrated Research Agenda for Housing

The RTPI, supported by the Economic and Social Research Council, organised a research seminar on promoting the UK housing research agenda on 6 December 2013. The seminar, which took place at the University of Sheffield, looked at a range of perspectives on the existing (and lacking) evidence base on UK housing issues in order to explore the potential for an inter-disciplinary research agenda for planning and successful 'place-making'. The seminar was organised around six presentations from a diverse range of speakers: Place-making and housing research agenda;  Housing demand and projection data; Housing and infrastructure; Social and community cohesion; Health and well-being; and Spatial thinking and welfare reform. These were then followed by a discussion with the audience. For more information, read the Summary Report which reflects on the range of presentations, discussions and interventions that took place that day.  

Future of the Planning Academy

The Future of the Planning Academy Report was commissioned by the RTPI and delivered by a team led by Geraint Ellis of Queens University Belfast. It profiles planning education in the UK and is an important contribution to the development of professional planning education and monitoring. Based on in-depth surveys, interviews and focus groups in late 2009/early 2010, the report paints a portrait of a diverse sector with a sustainable age profile and international outlook. For more information, see the Executive Summary, the Full Final Report and the Background Scoping Report.

Outcome Indicators for Spatial Planning in England

The Department of Communities and Local Government and the RTPI commissioned this research to explore how indicators can be used to assess and improve the contribution of spatial planning to the delivery of sustainable development. It was carried out by a research team from the Centre for Urban Policy Studies at the University of Manchester and the Department of Town and Regional Planning at the University of Manchester. To read more, see the Executive Summary and the Full Final Report.

Suburban Neighbourhood Adaptation for a Changing Climate

The Suburban Neighbourhood Adaptation for a Changing Climate (SNACC) project, led by Professor Katie Williams of the University of West of England, aims to develop a portfolio of potential adaptation and mitigation strategies for suburbs (including autonomous and planned adaptations, for individual dwellings and neighbourhoods) and cluster these into testable adaptation 'packages'. For more information on planning and climate change research, click here.

Planning Research and Climate Change

The RTPI launched seven commitments on planning to live with climate change  at the RTPI Planning Convention in 2009. These commitments define the RTPI's programme of action to support and participate in research about the contribution of planning, use and development to tackle the challenges of climate change. 

Sustainability Appraisal in Spatial Planning

The RTPI and Land Use Consultants (LUC) carried out a review of research on sustainability appraisal on behalf of the Sustainable Development Research Network. The Final Report, published in 2008, highlights issues for the practice of sustainability appraisal in spatial planning.

Urban River Corridors and Sustainable Living Agendas                     

Urban River Corridors and Sustainable Living Agendas (URSULA) studied how cities can improve rivers, how rivers can improve cities, and how both improve life for all. The project team used the River Don corridor through Sheffield as their main case study, and worked closely with local groups and organisations such as the Environment Agency and Sheffield City Council.

Where next for Strategic Planning? [EVENT]

This event took place in Newcastle on 23 November 2012 and discussed strategic and sub-regional planning. Using English Regional Planning 2000-2010: Lessons for the future as the basis of the event, discussions centred on why strategic planning is needed, what the RTPI's Map for England initiative can do to enable policy making at this level, and how such planning is being dealt with in Scotland via strategic development plans. The Final programme included presentations on Why do we need strategic planning by the book editors Corrine Swain and Tony Baden, Evolving Strategic Planning by Andrew Pritchard, Strategic Planning Post Regional Strategies by Catriona Riddell and a Panel Discussion led by Tim Marshall (also an editor of the book). The event followed a workshop on new evidence to deal with development challenges in rural and urban England: Overcoming rural, urban and cross-border challenges - Evidence from the ESPON Programme.

Research Excellence Framework

The Research Excellence Framework (REF) sets out the criteria and procedures for assessing the quality of research in UK higher education institutions. In 2010, Professor Alan Penn (University College London) was appointed chair of the panel, along with 22 Sub-Panel members. RTPI members David Adams, Simin Davoudi, Cecilia Wong, Will McKee and Katie Williams represent the planning discipline in the panel's work. For more information, see the RTPI's Final Consultation Response (2009) and the Sub-Panel for Architecture, Built Environment and Planning.

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