London: Delivering a liveable city for a changing population

On 6th-7th December 2012 a Working Group comprised of London-based spatial planners presented to the European Union’s Committee of the Regions and Secretariat of the ECTP on ‘London: Delivering a liveable city for a changing population’. The report was the product of a series of virtual workshops held since 2011 with counterpart groups across Europe and coordinated by the umbrella organisation for spatial planning institutes in Europe, the European Council of Spatial Planners – Conseil Européen des Urbanistes (ETCP-CEU).
The UK Working Group was drawn from a range of professional private and public sector planning backgrounds, reflecting the diversity of the planning and development industry. The purpose was to examine the urban systems of different European cities/regions with a view to improving upon territorial cohesion and, in doing so, propose reforms to planning in London.

The Group report identified several reforms to improve the spatial development and growth of London and concluded that the principles of territorial cohesion were already embedded in the UK planning system but could be expanded upon further through stronger communication and cross-sector policy integration. This requires an increasingly joined-up and multi-tier approach involving cooperation between individual, organisational and institutional stakeholders in the development industry with particular regard to areas of Governance, Housing and Transport.

The Group contribution was well received and the Committee of the Regions and ECTP-CEU attributed particular significance to the Group’s response to the Q&A, during which Jonathan Manns at Colliers International, challenged the Committee to develop the ways in which planning stakeholders can ‘facilitate tangible, meaningful and lasting change’. Colin Haylock, President of the RTPI and in attendance for the plenary sessions stated ‘I was enormously impressed by the work which the UK Group had done and by the exchanges of views and collaboration with groups from other parts of Europe over the past year. The working methods adopted and the personalities and professional capabilities involved have brought a freshness of view and a perspective unconstrained by established thinking. This has produced well argued approaches and ideas which seriously challenge current thinking and activity in highly important areas of planning’.

The UK Group Report will be published alongside those of the other European countries as a definitive collection in Spring 2013. The intention following this is to take forward a separate pan-European working group thereafter to progress implementation of the proposed reforms.

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