World Town Planning Day 2011 – Going Public Spaces in Our Communities

Lester Hillman introduces the WTPD panel

Tuesday 8th November 2011

With the world population exceeding the seven billion mark, there is increasing pressure to secure, create and improve the quality of public spaces for the benefit of our existing and future communities. The role of public spaces in global cities such London is ever more important and under increasing pressure from more intensive use.

For this year’s World Town Planning Day, the branches of the RTPI London, NZPI and PIA organised a successful evening seminar to discuss this year’s theme ‘Going Public Spaces in our Communities. The significance of this debate was confirmed by record participation levels (circa 100 private and public sector planning professionals). The key speakers for this year’s discussion included:
  • Neil Fourie (Team Leader on Sustainable Development in Planning, Housing and Construction, DEFRA), who initiated the discussion by providing a national perspective on the planning of green infrastructure in the context of the incoming National Planning Policy Framework.
  • Colin Wilson (Senior Manager, Planning Decisions Unit, Greater London Authority) provided a case study of the Vauxhall Nine Elms Opportunity Area Planning Framework, which demonstrates how local authorities’ can set a forward thinking vision for securing quality open space that developers will need respond to in their design of their schemes.
  • Rob Aspland (Director of Landscape Architecture, LDA Design) focused on public space design in the context of the mounting global pressures of rapid urbanisation, climate change and economic change that are influencing how we deliver quality public spaces.
  • Kathryn Firth (Chief of Design, Olympic Park Legacy Company) provided an area study of the Olympic Park Legacy Phase, highlighting the important transformation of the site post-games to provide a quality interactive open space that connects with the existing neighbourhoods and serves the needs of the new residential communities.

The evening concluded with a lively Q& A discussion and professional networking, which essentially captures the essence of World Town Planning Day, which is to encourage the global discussion of environmental and urban issues that are affecting the liveability of our urban environment.

Panel debate

Zoe Green

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