In a "vision statement" issued yesterday, the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) said it believes a planning profession that is more representative of society is "crucial" to bring about more inclusive and accessible design, housing and public environments.
The statement says: "The RTPI will seek to be and promote the planning profession to be as diverse as the communities it represents. We will act inclusively, treat everyone fairly, and seek to provide a culture which delivers the best outcomes for the diverse society in which and for whom we work."
The institute also announced that an action plan will be developed in 2019 setting out all the activities, projects and programmes that will drive forward and support the vision.
According to figures released by the RTPI, which has more than 25,000 members, its membership is currently 38 per cent female. Seven per cent are from black, Asian or minority ethnic (BAME) backgrounds and just over half are aged under 45.
"There are more men than women planners today, but it is fast changing," said RTPI chief executive Victoria Hills. "Across planning schools and entrants to the profession, there is generally a 50:50 split. Our student members, especially those of BAME backgrounds, are growing rapidly."
"But there is more work to do to encourage the best talents into the profession regardless of background, gender, age or disability. It is only by having a profession that truly represents the community it serves that the built environment can be planned to be accessible and inclusive to use by all."
An article looking at how the planning sector fares in relatiuon to the gender pay gap can be read here.