Thank you to everyone who joined Women in Planning London and Dentons on the 19 June 2018 at our third event of the ‘When Women Plan London’ series. The theme for this evening event was ‘Unlocking growth through infrastructure’ and it was well attended by professionals across the public and private sector. We are extremely grateful to Dentons for hosting and sponsoring this event.
The event was introduced by Rachael Herbert, planning lawyer at Dentons and Vice Chair of the Women in Planning London Committee.
Cynthia Bowen, President of the American Planning Association, then delivered a presentation on the American experience, focussing on the potential that infrastructure projects have to unlock housing, affordable housing, employment growth, green space and create new communities such was the case with the Atlanta BeltLine, which started of as a university student’s thesis. There were however similar challenges shared between the UK and the US which include community involvement and funding for large scale projects although in some instances cities are actively voting to raise taxes in support of infrastructure delivery. The Minneapolis- St Paul line was a prime example of this where engagement with communities was used well to enhance the green line to add more stations to its route.
The topic was then discussed by our esteemed all female panel:
- Victoria Hills, Chief Executive of the RTPI (formerly CEO of Old Oak and Park Royal Development Corporation)
- Caroline Taylor, Commercial Specialist, Delivery Unit of the Infrastructure & Projects Authority
- Caroline Foster, Senior Development Manager at Urban & Civic
- Cynthia Bowen, President of the American Planning Association
with James Drinan, chief executive of the American Planning Association, moderating the discussion.
Some of the key takeaway points from the panel discussion include:
- Improvements to journey times through better transport infrastructure will change people’s working and commuting lifestyles looking at Manchester, Birmingham and Cambridge
- Community engagement is important for discussions but important not to change the narrative for development
- Important for planners to think about place making which will have a positive future impact on health and well being if people can walk and cycle to their jobs, services and facilities
- Important to reach out to the future generations to involve them in infrastructure decisions that will have an impact on their lifestyle. The APA are working with local high schools and have published an illustrated book targeting younger generations to think about places.
We look forward to seeing you at our next event – the Summer Social on 26 July 2018.