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TCPA Conference: Planning out Poverty

The planning system originally grew out of a powerful recognition that the placesin which we live have a huge impact on the quality of our lives – and a collective view that, as a society, we should aspire to create places in which everyone canthrive. Throughout the 20th century successive iterations of planning policy had social justice at their heart. Now, however, both in policy and in practice, this seems to be disappearing. Does this matter?

The TCPA thinks it does. In 2014 the Association published a groundbreaking report, Planning Out Poverty, which looked at the impact that planning decisions have had on the lives ofpeople in deprived areas in England. Commissioned by the Webb Memorial Trust, the report highlighted the way in which a range of planning decisions led, cumulatively, to increasingly difficult situations for communities that were already struggling. Throughout the country there are places that have been blighted by poor planning decisions. Whether a community is cut off from jobs and services; whether it has attractive green spaces; whether it has been designed to be flood-resilient or not – all of these factors can be the results of the actions of planning authorities. Poor decision-making can lead directly to increased poverty and, insome instances, heightened social tension as people fight over dwindling resources.

Many local authorities want to create high-quality places but say they no longer have thepower to do so. National planning policy emphasises economic viability over quality. Councils say they are being forced to give planning permission for poor-quality homes, with shockingly small rooms, because developers say they cannot afford to meet higher standards. Are we building the slums of the future? How much will this cost the nation in the longer term?

With the country’s acute shortage of housing high on the agenda for the 2015 election, the link between the planning system and social justice is being made once again. This timely and important conference is essential for councillors and other community representatives; policy-makers; planners and regeneration officers; neighbourhood planners; community developers; planning consultants; people working to bring forward new developments; tenants’ groups; academics; and anyone who thinks that the fundamental purpose of theplanning system is to increase people’s wellbeing by creating healthier, fairer places.

The TCPA would like to encourage delegates to bring their own experiences of good and badplanning decisions to contribute to the afternoon break-out sessions. What is happening onthe ground? Why are poor decisions being made? How can we work together to improve the poor-quality places in which so many people live?

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Download speaker presentations below:

10.30 Registration and coffee

11.00 Welcome and introduction from the Chair: Mary Parsons, Group Executive Director, Places for People, and Trustee, TCPA

11.05 Why planning matters: the impact of planning decisions on people’s lives: Dr Hugh Ellis, Head of Policy, TCPA

11.25 Tackling urban poverty, transforming places: Maria Adebowale, Director, Living Space Project

11.45 Transforming the profession: Dr Andy Inch and Dr Lee Crookes, Lecturers, Department of Town & Regional Planning, University of Sheffield

12.05 How the planning system impacts on homelessness: Deborah Garvie, Senior Policy Officer, Shelter

Followed by Questions and discussion with the speaker panel

12.35 Keynote Speech: What might a society without poverty be like? Barry Knight, Director, Webb Memorial Trust

13.00 Lunch

13.40 Introduction to the afternoon sessions from the Chair: Mary Parsons, Group Executive Director, Places for People, and Trustee, TCPA

13.45 The art of building slums: Dr Hugh Ellis, Head of Policy, TCPA, and Karen Ross, Inclusive Design Officer, London Borough of Islington

14.05 The impact of the planning system on neighbourhoods: a view from the Andover Estate, London: Richard Schunemann and Theresa Coyle MBE, Andover Future Forum

14.25 Empowering people to create better places: Pam Warhurst CBE, Chair, Incredible Edible Todmorden

14.50 Break-out sessions. Delegates can choose to take part in one of the following:

A. How can planners create healthier places? Facilitators: Andrew Ross, Consultant and co-author of Planning Healthier Places, and Julia Thrift, Head of Projects and Events, TCPA

B. Spatial equality benefits everyone Facilitators: Derek Hooper, Equality consultant, and Jonathan Davis, Independent urban design and planning advisor

C. Planning, flooding and climate change.What could we do better? Facilitators: Dr Hugh Ellis, Head of Policy, TCPA and Alex House, Projects and Policy Officer, TCPA

15:50 Tea and coffee break

16:05 How do we move the agenda forward? Panel discussion with break-out session facilitators

17:00 Closing remarks from the Chair

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