- Where did you study planning?
My planning education began with a postgraduate course at University College London and still continues.
- What skills did you have when you graduated?
Generic skills in literacy, numeracy and reasoning and a patchy understanding of the planning system, forecasting models and development economics.
- What attracted you to planning?
I developed an interest at school in Bath, at a time when city planning and conservation seemed to be in needless conflict - as they still are.
- What did you learn in your first job?
I organised surveys for a county-wide information system to monitor land availability and development progress. I learned that efficient monitoring captures data when it is created, but that local authorities find it difficult.
- What skills have you had to learn over your career?
Responding to unreasonable political expectations is the hardest thing to learn and I am not sure that I have.
- What or who have been the biggest influences on your career?
Moving between public and private sectors has provided a balanced view of the planning system.
- What is your career highlight?
A project in East Cambridgeshire which showed that consultants can play a much larger role in plan preparation than is often recognised.
- What have you learnt outside work that has influenced your career?
Most people do not define town and country planning in terms of legislation and regulations. Neither should professionals.
- What further skills do you aim to obtain or develop?
I would like to better understand geographical information systems.
- How important is it to keep abreast of developments in allied professions?
There is a pressing need for better integration of land-use and transport planning, which the RTPI is beginning to reflect through its development planning and transport networks.