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Shortlist - Academic Award

Academic

 Chinmoy Sarkar - WINNER

Chris Webster - WINNER

John Gallacher - WINNER

 

Neil Harris

Brian Webb

Robert Smith

  

(Shortlisted)

Shenjing He

Dong Wang

Chris Webster

Kwong Wing Chau

 

(Shortlisted)

Claudio De Magalhães

Sonia Freire-Trigo

Nick Gallent

Kath Scanlon

Christine Whitehead

(Shortlisted)

 Linda Robson et al.

(Commended)

 

Winner - Chinmoy Sarkar and Chris Webster

(Hong Kong University - Department of Urban Planning & Design, Faculty of Architecture)

John Gallacher

(Department of Psychiatry, Oxford University)

Entry title

Sarkar, C., Webster, C. and Gallacher, J. (2018) ‘Residential greenness and prevalence of major depressive disorders: a cross-sectional, observational, associational study of 94 879 adult UK Biobank participants’, The Lancet. Planetary Health, 2(4), pp. e162–e173.

Abstract

Background

Increased urbanisation and the associated reduced contact of individuals with natural environments have led to a rise in mental disorders, including depression. Residential greenness, a fundamental component of urban design, has been shown to reduce the public health burden of mental disorders. The study investigates the association between residential green exposure and prevalence of major depressive disorders using a large and diverse cross-sectional dataset from the UK Biobank.

Methods

In this cross-sectional, observational, associational study, baseline data from the UK Biobank cohort of participants aged 37–73 years from across the UK are used. Environmental exposure data were derived from a modelled and linked built environment database. Residential greenness was assessed with a 0·5 m resolution Normalised Difference Vegetation Index, which is derived from spectral reflectance measurements in remotely sensed colour infrared data and measured within geocoded dwelling catchments. Other environment metrics included street-level movement density, terrain, and fine particulate exposures. A series of logistic models examined associations between residential greenness and odds of major depressive disorder after adjusting for activity-influencing environments and individual covariates.

Findings

Of 122 993 participants with data on major depressive disorder, the study analytical sample comprised 94 879 (77·1%) participants recruited across ten UK Biobank assessment centres between April 29, 2009, and Oct 1, 2010. A protective effect of greenness on depression was consistently observed, with 4·0% lower odds of major depressive disorder per interquartile increment in Normalised Difference Vegetation Index greenness (odds ratio 0·960, 95% CI 0·93–0·99; p=0·0044). Interaction analyses indicated that the beneficial effects of greenness were more pronounced among women, participants younger than 60 years, and participants residing in areas with low neighbourhood socioeconomic status or high urbanicity.

Interpretation

The results point to the benefits of well-designed green environments on mental health. Further longitudinal studies are needed to decipher causal pathways. In the UK, policies aimed at optimising allocation and design of green spaces might help preserve psychological ecosystem services, thereby, improving the mental wellbeing of populations and enhancing the mental capital of cities. 

Motivation

"Recognising this research as cutting-edge, the judges particularly appreciated its originality, its innovative and rigorous methodology, and the relevance of its findings"

 

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Shortlisted - Neil Harris, Brian Webb and Robert Smith

(Cardiff University - School of Geography and Planning)

Entry title

Harris, N., Webb, B. and Smith, R. (2018) ‘The changing role of household projections: exploring policy conflict and ambiguity in planning for housing’, Town Planning Review, 89, pp. 403–424.

Abstract

Household projections have been a critical tool in establishing top-down hierarchical frameworks through which planning systems impose new housing requirements on localities. The research explores the role household projections play within localised and market-driven governance frameworks and an environment increasingly characterised by high levels of ambiguity. There are several important sources of ambiguity including the impact of economic recession on the role household projections play in identifying housing land requirements. It is argued firstly that in an increasingly localised system where government policy promotes local interpretation of household projections there remains considerable uncertainty about the ability of local planning authorities to depart from household projections interpreted as ‘housing targets’. Secondly that this uncertainty is compounded by the effect of financial crisis and economic recession on household projections creating a high policy conflict environment. In doing so we contribute to the policy implementation literature by exploring how change in policy ambiguity can result from a change in and stakeholders’ interpretation of an externally derived referential goal. A case study of planning for housing in Wales explores the ambiguities and conflicts that arise as a result of these changes. Key features of the case study include the ways that stakeholders interpret national planning policy as well as how they navigate uncertainties created by a multiplicity of alternative projections and economic recession. Recommendations note the importance of coalition building and need to manage this process better as well as the requirement for greater local capacity and expertise to interpret and contest household projections.

Motivation

"The judges recognised this research as exemplarily well-documented and methodologically sound, with a good overall quality"

 

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Shortlisted - Shenjing He, Dong Wang, Chris Webster and Kwong Wing Chau

(Hong Kong University - Department of Urban Planning & Design, Faculty of Architecture)

Entry title

He, S. et al. (2019) ‘Property rights with price tags? Pricing uncertainties in the production, transaction and consumption of China’s small property right housing’, Land Use Policy, 81, pp. 424–433.

Abstract

The booming informal housing market has played an important role in providing inexpensive housing for lower income population in the developing world. In China, an informal housing strategy known as “Small Property Right Housing (SPRH)” is thriving on collective land owned by village collectives, and providing housing for more than a quarter of a billion people. Why and how the informal housing market has emerged and operates have been widely explored theoretically and empirically from the perspective of the peculiar arrangement of property rights that has created this market. Yet, we know very little about the pricing of this market, with its various constraints and uncertainties associated with the incomplete property rights. Most existing research takes a standard dichotomous view of property rights and thus overlooks the complexity of the degrees of rights that make possible this thriving informal market. Our study takes the more heterodox idea of a bundle of property rights that taken as a whole confers a graded degree of protection to a buyer at production, transaction and consumption stage, to understand offer-price determination in the SPRH market of China. Drawing on a large database of SPRH records in the city of Shenzhen, this is among the first attempts to quantitatively examine the pricing mechanism of China’s informal housing market. Our results show that even without clearly defined property rights, a well-functioning market of SPRH can exist. We find that the ambiguous rights created by the informal institutions involved in the production, transaction and consumption of SPRH are capitalised in the price. This research is of theoretical and empirical significance to understand the dynamics of informal housing development and how the market behaves when property rights are ill-defined.

Motivation

"The judges recognise it as well-rounded research, treating of a contemporary issue in a rigorous, critical and knowledgeable way"

 

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Shortlisted - Claudio De Magalhães, Sonia Freire-Trigo, Nick Gallent

(University College London – The Bartlett School of Planning)

Kath Scanlon and Christine Whitehead

(London School of Economics)

Entry title

De Magalhães, C. et al. (2018) Planning Risk and Development - How greater planning certainty would affect residential development. London: The Royal Town Planning Institute, p. 32.

Abstract

The research looks at whether and how planning adds to risk in housing development and what would be the impact on housing supply of planning policies aiming at increasing certainty. It seeks to test commonly held views about the role of planning in constraining the supply of housing by exploring how developers finance providers planners and consultants understand risk and perceive the impact of planning instruments designed to increase certainty and especially those that mimic zoning such as the new Permission in Principle. The research used in-depth interviews with a variety of actors in the housebuilding industry (selected on the basis of a typology of actors and their roles) and tested its initial findings in workshops with those actors. Its findings show that the relationship between planning development risk and housing supply is far more complex and nuanced than often assumed that there are no simple policy answers to increasing planning certainty and that there is a trade-off not always positive between increasing certainty through zoning-like instruments and maintaining the flexibility and accountability a discretionary system allows. The research and its findings are of considerable relevance to the current debate about the role of planning in the delivery of housing it is innovative in its approach to understanding how risk calculations are influenced by policy changes and it uses empirical evidence to open up a wide field of enquiry on how perceptions of risk influence the decisions of different actors in the housebuilding industry and how policy could influence that outcome.

Motivation

"Recognising the overall quality of the research, the judges liked to point out especially the importance of its findings for research and practice"

 

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Commended - Linda Robson, Sharon Biermann, Rachel Cardell-Oliver, Doina Olaru, Kirsten Martinus, Brett Smith, Sae Chi and Chao Sun

(University of Western Australia)

Tristan Reed

(Curtin University)

Ferry Jie and Craig Standing

(Edith Cowan University)

Candice Parson

(Arup - Perth)

Entry title

‘RailSmart Planning Support System’ (railsmart.patrec.org)

Abstract

The RailSmart Planning Support system was developed as a federally funded ‘smart cities’ initiative. It aims to model the optimisation of employment and public transport patronage in a rapidly developing outer Perth local government area (Wanneroo). The project showcases detailed transport modelling employment and land use trends enabling scenario modelling of potential outcomes of three new stations within the City based on outcomes realised at other metropolitan activity centres. Rail Smart provides data and significant evidence based solutions over time. This will:

  • provide economic social and transportation modelling;
  • increase efficiency and effectiveness of urban transport service delivery;
  • make sense of existing public data;
  • support strategic job creation through identification of the City’s competitive advantages and industry location quotients to better guide decision making.

The dashboard is an innovative applied research project aimed at feeding cutting edge research into the public decision making processes. The project is based on classic strategic planning and scenario modelling techniques but applies modern digital solutions to data integration modelling and reporting systems. The models are all high level academic models which have been previously published in peer review articles and which have been vetted by the research advisory board of PATREC (Planning and Transport Research Centre) links to the research are available on the dashboard. The system is innovative in the fields of the presentation of data application of leading research and integration of multiple tools into a scenario modelling/forecasting tool.

Motivation

"The judges appreciated the originality of the research and the innovative way of presenting the research’s findings"

 

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