Five Scottish projects nominated for national planning research awards

Dalmarnock old and new - how did the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games impact the post-industrial neighbourhood?
Dalmarnock old and new - how did the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games impact the post-industrial neighbourhood?

Planning research projects from across the UK and internationally have been shortlisted for this year’s RTPI Awards for Research Excellence.

Ryden has been recognised in the prestigious Planning Consultancy category for its ground-breaking Planning for Infrastructure research project.

The Scottish Government and Transport Scotland commissioned Ryden, with expert input from Brodies and WSP, to carry out the study to review existing and emerging practice in the delivery of infrastructure to enable development through the planning system in Scotland. Ryden’s findings are currently being used to inform the basis of the next wave of planning reform in the country.

Dr Mark Robertson, partner at Ryden who led the project, said: “We’re absolutely thrilled that our research has been shortlisted for an RTPI Award. This was a significant study, involving a nine-month Scotland-wide programme of primary research to help shape planning reform in Scotland and it’s great that our team is being recognised for the hard work that went into producing this innovative report.”

The firm is up against five other finalists from across the UK including Land Use Consultants (LUC) and Nathaniel Lichfield & Partners.

LUC carried out the 2015 Scottish Marine Recreation and Tourism and Tourism Survey on behalf of the Scottish Government. The project was designed to fill a major knowledge gap by providing data on people’s visits to the coast – where they go, what they do, how much they spend. LUC used an innovative, web-based survey to collect data about the recreational activities people value around the Scottish coast. The results provide important new insights into people’s use of the coast, suggesting that, spending during coastal recreation and tourism trips contributes up to £3.7 billion to the Scottish economy.

Nathaniel Lichfield & Partners’ Supporting Scotland’s Growth research focused on assessing the degree of alignment between patterns of housing demand and the allocation of sites across the Strategic Development Plans (SDP) for Edinburgh and Glasgow city regions.

The research raised important questions about why delivery of new homes was being constrained and NLP was subsequently commissioned by the Scottish Government to replicate the analysis for the whole of Scotland.

Two research projects by the University of Glasgow were also shortlisted in the awards.

Ade Kearns alongside early career researchers Julie Clark and Claire Cleland explored the impact of the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games on the post-industrial neighbourhood of Dalmarnock, analysing the effects of scale, time and process upon resident perceptions of the mega-event.

Their study saw participants reflect on five years of intensive urban regeneration, evaluate the experience of ‘lockdown’ at Games time, and consider their hopes and fears for the future. It found that, alongside hopes for a new, mixed community in the area, improved infrastructure, amenities and housing were broadly welcomed. However, the paper also highlights concerns around urban governance practices and the limitations of a market-led approach to regeneration.

Kearns and Clark were joined by Louise Lawson, Cat Tabbner and Kelda McLean on a GoWell research and learning programme examining the health and wellbeing impacts of housing–led regeneration across fifteen deprived communities in Glasgow.

A number of interventions are being studied including housing improvement works, neighbourhood environmental enhancements, high-rise demolitions and the relocation of residents, and the provision of new mixed-tenure housing developments.

GoWell has maintained continual engagement with its study communities over the years, and more recently established a community panel of residents to aid two-way interchange, build community capacity and facilitate lateral and vertical linkages and empowerment for communities.

The Awards for Research Excellence are run by the RTPI to recognise and promote high quality, impactful spatial planning research from RTPI accredited planning schools and planning consultancies around the world. There was tough competition to be named a finalist, with 87 entries to this year’s awards, a more than 40 per cent increase on last year.

Dr Michael Harris, RTPI’s head of research, said: “The RTPI Research Awards have gone from strength to strength. The growing body of high quality research work in planning is impressive but more importantly, it is a positive sign that more academic researchers want to reach out to practitioners and policymakers with insights and findings that can inform and influence their work. This is what the Awards celebrate and I am pleased that RTPI planning schools and planning consultancies have responded.”

The winners will be announced on 7 September during the 2016 UK-Ireland Planning Research Conference at Cardiff University.

The full list of finalists is available.

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