Broader dialogue proposed to enhance planners' profile

Junior vice-presidential candidate Richard Summers outlines his programme of reform for the profession.

Spatial planning is our core business. It is the practice of place-shaping and delivery at the local and regional levels. Our work in policy planning and development management is tackling climate change through sustainable development. Planning is a key tool in securing global survival.

Spatial planning is my agenda. I am leading the RTPI's planning policy and practice committee and the effective practice in spatial planning initiative to support culture change. I want you all to get involved through our institute's general assembly, the networks and regions and other activities.

I want to lead and represent the profession, engage with all our members, particularly young planners, and help provide better services. Let's work together to strengthen our profession and shape tomorrow's places and communities.

I want to drive change in what planning delivers. I am leading on refreshing the New Vision for Planning. We want to introduce a climate change override in conventional planning for sustainable development and an action plan to promote a wider approach to spatial planning for the 21st century.

I want to make the RTPI more effective and approachable. Stronger links are needed between the general assembly and executive board to open up dialogue on policy, practice, education and careers. We must simplify the associations, committees, panels, networks, regions and nations to make things work better.

I have the confidence to promote spatial planning because my work in consultancy and local government has shown the scope for integrating spatial planning and economic development at all levels. My overseas work has shown what can be achieved internationally. My current roles as an RTPI trustee, member of the general assembly and executive board and as a former branch chairman have demonstrated the diversity of our work.

As junior vice-president I would seize the opportunity to promote a better understanding of spatial planning by the profession and the public. I would encourage a better understanding between the public and private sectors. I would work to increase the number and status of planners in national and local government and extend the voice and influence of planning in government and business.

- Richard Summers is an independent consultant in spatial planning and economic development. The other junior vice-presidential candidate, Peter Geraghty, will deliver his statement in next week's issue.

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