Despite figures showing that 80 per cent of UK planning applications and around 90 per cent of the major commercial applications critical for economic growth submitted over the past decade have been approved, the UK planning profession has been criticised in recent months. Some have accused the planning system of hindering economic growth and stifling Britain's competitiveness.
However, these distorted views are not universal. Elsewhere in the world, planning is seen as an indispensable tool when facing looming challenges such as an ageing population and new energy demands.
A recent survey carried out in the US showed that more than three-quarters of Americans support community planning, while 75 per cent agree that engaging citizens through local planning is vital to creating jobs and enabling economic recovery. The consensus in the US is that community planners should be given a more prominent role in helping the economy grow.
So how can we communicate the value of planning in the UK and demonstrate our system's credibility? At this year's RTPI Nathaniel Lichfield Annual Lecture, American Planning Association president Mitchell J Silver will argue that, now more than ever, planning is a solution, not a problem.
He will suggest that the planning profession must regain its status by reaching out to the public it serves and working with renewed vigour to ensure that land values are strengthened, the economy boosted and resources sustainably managed for long-term public benefit.
Eleanor Rowe is research officer at the Royal Town Planning Institute. This year's lecture - generously supported by Dalia Lichfield and kindly hosted by University College London - takes place on 20 November. There are limited tickets remaining, so visit www.rtpi.org.uk/lecture2012 soon to book your place.