The Changing Context for Planning Education in the UK and the Prospects for Research-Led, Practice-Engaged Teaching

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper

Abstract

The UK’s Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) celebrates its centenary in 2014, marking 100 years of close relationships between university-based Planning Schools and a professional body focussed on planning practice. During this period, the context for university education and the very idea of planning has changed dramatically contributing to a continual renegotiation of the relationships between the planning profession and the educational institutions it accredits. These changes have been particularly acute in the last ten years where a number of factors have forced a rapid change in the nature of planning education in the UK. This has included a boom and then slump in the number of planning students linked to the national economic situation, a reorganisation of many planning schools and their merger with cognate disciplines such as geography and an increased focus of research output, rather than professional engagement the key institutional indicator of success. This last factor adds a particularly new dimension to the profession-university relationship, which could potentially lead to either a straining of tensions or a synergy through research-led teaching that could significantly benefit both.

This paper will briefly review the evolution of UK planning schools and the co-evolution of the main ideas informing planning education. It will then describe the current profile of UK planning schools, based on an extensive national survey conducted on behalf of the Royal Town Planning Institute. The paper will then critically review the main challenges and opportunities facing UK Planning Schools in the context of changes in both planning practice and higher education. It will then move on to the concept of research-led teaching, drawing on current practice in the UK and review how well this concept serves students and the idea of developing reflective planning practitioners. Finally, the paper will seek to draw broad lessons from the experience of the UK and reflect on the type of planning education that can best serve planning professions in a variety of international contexts in the future.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages12
Publication statusPublished - 21 Nov 2014
EventInternational Conference on Town and Country Planning Education: Retrospect and Prospect - University of Mysore, Mysore, India
Duration: 21 Nov 201423 Nov 2014

Conference

ConferenceInternational Conference on Town and Country Planning Education: Retrospect and Prospect
CountryIndia
CityMysore
Period21/11/201423/11/2014

Keywords

  • planning education;
  • research-led teaching

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