Events

London Event – When Women Plan London – Digital Innovation and Technology in Planning – 17 May 2018

The rise of data, digital innovation and technology have upturned and disrupted various industries, from finance to social services to healthcare, making them faster, more efficient and smarter. With innovation occurring in all these sectors, there is a presumption that planning, and the built environment is being left behind.

We have gathered some of the leading women in the planning and technology sector who are showing us that this is not the case. We will be hearing how digital disruption and innovation is occurring at all levels of planning and related sectors and how planning is fast catching up with embracing and utilising technology to help us plan better.

Date: Thursday, 17th May 2018

Time: 8:30 am – 10:00 am

Location: Future City Catapult Urban Innovation Centre, Future Cities Catapult, 1 Sekforde Street, London, EC1R 0BE.

Agenda

8.00 am – Registration  &  networking

8.30 am – Welcome address Stef Webb – Future Cities Catapult

8.40 am – Presentations and panel discussion, chaired by Nissa Shahid from Women in Planning London and Future Cities Catapult

9.20 am – Q&A

9.45 am – Networking

10:15 am – Finish

Speakers

Nissa Shahid, Women in Planning London and Futures Cities Catapult

Michelle Warbis – Future Cities Catapult

More to be announced!

Click here to book.

Kindly sponsored hosted by:

FCClogo

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Article

Are networking events for everyone?

Within planning consultancy’s networking is generally encouraged and I regularly enjoy attending planning events with other colleagues. However, after inviting some old colleagues to a planning event, it made me realise that there is unwillingness for some planners, particularly within local authorities, to attend social planning events in London.

After chatting with friends who work as planning officers within local authorities it is clear that networking events can carry a stigma as being just for ‘private planners’. I know from experience there is reluctance to attend networking events for fear of being targeted by consultants and the intimidation of not knowing anyone. Because of this, I used to avoid organised planning events or try and leave as soon as the ‘networking’ drinks began.

This led me to question what actually happens at planning networking events and whether these events can be beneficial to planners in all sectors.

When I first started as a junior planner working for a local authority, the thought of going to networking events after work seemed intimidating and uninteresting. There was the fear that I knew too little about the profession to join in with conversations or that nobody would be interested in what I had to say. Furthermore, I didn’t understand what benefits networking with other planners would give me.

I got dragged to my first networking event by a colleague, it was a summer social event and she persuaded me with the promise of free drinks and a chance to make some new friends. Upon arrival I realised that there was a real mix people, including public/private planners, urban designers, students and researchers. Of course there were people who knew each other, however, people seemed friendly, approachable and open to chat and meet new people.

Following this I began attending more planning events, where I made new friends and new contacts as a result. Personally, I used these events as an opportunity to informally chat with planners about their experiences and to learn more about the different opportunities in planning, not only to find out what planning consultants did on a daily basis!

I find that these events, particularly Women in Planning events, can also be a great way to chat in a relaxed environment with often inspirational and influential people in planning, of which you may not otherwise meet.

Having had a chat with two of my colleagues, it is clear that they also felt networking events were daunting but beneficial for different reasons. As an international planner from Australia, Analeise attended planning events in order to make friends in a new country and expand her knowledge of the UK planning system.

For my colleague Chris, who has worked in both the public and private planning sectors, he considers that attending organised planning events broadens his knowledge on how both sectors operate. Chris considers that often ‘insular attitudes’ in both sectors can prevent planners from understanding each other and these events help break barriers and can create a more positive relationship between sectors.

Among planning consultants networking events are generally acknowledged as being beneficial for expanding contacts and improving communication skills; however, I think they can certainly be beneficial for all sectors for different reasons.

For those who want to get involved, it’s important to know that these events are attended by a variety of professionals in all sectors, including students and people who just have an interest in planning. The majority of people there have no specific agenda other than to make new friends, learn new skills or even just to have a glass of wine and chat with interesting and like-minded people after a day at work.

For people, like myself, who would like to make use of networking events but feel intimated by them, why not drag a friend or colleague along for confidence, or grab a drink and introduce yourself to a couple of people following a talk, you never know what you might gain as a result.

By Tiffany Mallen, member of the Women in Planning London Committee.

 

Article

Pressing for Progress

As part of IWD I reflected on a few experiences from my working life. Progess? Yes…..but.

I started work in the late 1980s. There was no equalities training at my Council. No HR guidance to speak. An elderly, male, white colleague used to ask, when interviewing young women, ‘what does your husband do?’

 Definitely progress here, in my world this just would not happen now. But is that universal? I don’t think so.

A recent YouGov survey, for the Equalities and Human Rights Council, reported that of 1,106 senior decision-makers, a third of those working for private companies thought it was reasonable to ask, in the recruitment process, about a woman’s plans to have children in the future.

59% said she should have to disclose if she is pregnant and 46% said it was reasonable to ask a woman if she had small children. Which all implies that this would form part of their decision making process on whether to offer a woman a job.

44% of employers believed women should work for an organisation for at least a year before deciding to have children – can you believe that? All a bit Handmaid’s Tale with employers wanting to exert control over our bodies and fertility.

When pregnant with my first child I asked to come back on a job share basis. My boss, and the Council, saw it as a good thing, not a liberty, not a nuisance, but good working practice.

I know I was fortunate enough to have an economic choice. I was able to reduce my salary by 2/5ths, not everyone can.

My Job Share partner and I both worked 3 days a week (so there was a small cost). We did our job share for 10 years – an arrangement which enabled us to spend more time at home whilst continuing our career and of course our pension contributions (another area where women are affected more than men).

Not only continue our careers, but progress in them too. We applied, as one, for a promotion to be Head of a Service at another Council, a position we got. But it was an interesting experience. Between us we could ace that job; we had complementary skills, and together were a powerful combination. But we were very much seen not as one, but as two. Although the two of us would be doing one job, we had to both cover all the PS requirements – they weren’t looking at whether together we could do the job, but whether we could individually do the job. So we had to come first and second in the scoring. We did. But it doesn’t make it easy for a partnership like that to thrive and develop – would this approach give the impression that you can’t easily progress your career in a job share? Perhaps.

In terms of working in planning as a profession, I don’t think men and women have different attitudes or approaches. Planning tends to attract people with quite a caring and positive, want to negotiate, mindset. My male and female colleagues don’t approach their work differently. Some people might think that negotiation and compromise are more female than male traits, but I don’t see any evidence of that.

In terms of representation, there seem to be more male than female planners – including here – but we are closer to parity than in other built environment professions (38% of the chartered members of the RTPI are female). Although RIBA and RICS have both had female presidents recently, women are far less well represented in those professions.

But that’s not to say that male and female planners have the same experiences. Local authority planners have to tell architects/agents that there is a problem with their scheme. We have to be assertive and confident. Some female colleagues report being patronised, and perhaps on the end of more bullying tactics or conversations than perhaps our male counterparts do?

For me, personally, two #metoo moments spring to mind. Both around 5-8 years. I had a phone conference when I was working at home on a sunny day. The phone call (3 of us, one an immediate colleague and one an older, started with, of course, a chat about the weather. When I said I was working at home he said ‘I’m imagining you in your garden in a bikini’. He thought it was just friendly chitter chatter, but is was so not, so completely inappropriate.

The other instance was an industry awards event, at a London hotel, wine was flowing. This different older, male asked me if I wanted to get a room upstairs. I didn’t. I subsequently found out he had propositioned quite a few women.

Earlier I referred to the interview question. No one called the man out on it. And neither did I in my metoo moments, and it is a source of shame and regret that I didn’t.

Neither of these men were my boss, they couldn’t immediately make me lose my income. But I’m a reasonably successful, confident, woman, and didn’t feel able to pull these men up. There are so many other women who are (or feel) intimidated in work. But I also know of women who have taken cases up and lived to regret it because the consequences have been severe.

Progress? Well maybe the #MeToo movement is a step change. I hope so.

Two years ago on IWD I was at a conference hosted by the Planning Inspectorate. The outgoing, male, Chief Exec said in opening the conference that he was delighted to announce, on IWD, that the new, incoming CEx was a woman. Great. But there was not one woman speaker or panel member scheduled that day. I tweeted about the irony of this on IWD (not that it would have been right on any day), and lo, that afternoon, there was a female panel member. She didn’t have a name plate of course because she was a last minute after-thought.

Women’s visibility, and opportunities to speak are important.

If we aren’t visible on speaking platforms we will perpetuate the idea that women are few and far between, and have nothing worth saying. It shows the younger generation that we are here and have opinions. There has been some progress here, women are represented as speakers at Planning conferences (although still underrepresented, the next National Planning Summit has 34 speakers/ panel members, 11 are women). And Women in Planning are doing great work increasing the visibility of women planners.

 But some women pay a high price for speaking out (generally). They can be shot down, in horribly abusive ways. For daring to suggest that there might be a woman on the £10 note, for being a clever academic on Question Time who has long hair and doesn’t wear make up, or being outspoken about Parliament’s right to vote on Brexit. And the language often used to describe women who speak publicly – shrill, we shriek, whine and whinge. Well doesn’t that trivialise what we have to say? Those words are never used against males. They are authoritative, passionate. Even Boris Johnson’s most laughable performances are bumbling. Compare that to the treatment that Diane Abbott gets over a bad interview.

So whether it is at a planning conference, Question Time or a comedy panel show, women need to have fair representation. We are present, we have things to say, and we will be heard.

By Alice Lester, Head of Planning at London Borough of Brent

 

 

Article, Uncategorized

Searching the web for Sustainability – How you can Plant Trees too!

Picture the scene. You’re at your desk, you’re working on a report, you take the odd sip of coffee, and you’ve hit google search more times than you can keep count of in the last hour alone. Recent research by InternetLiveStats indicates that those internet searches equate to 3.5 billion searches a day – that’s 40,000 every second! It’s 2018, and we use internet search engines as our main source of information, for work enquiries, academic research, shopping, and all other weird and wonderful videos and articles the internet provides us with. Now, wouldn’t it be nice if those billions of searches benefitted the whole planet? Well, now they can.

I want to introduce you, and your office, to Ecosia – the internet search engine that uses its ad revenue to plant trees all around the planet. How does it work? It’s simple. When you conduct a search, the search ads generate income for Ecosia, and Ecosia uses this income to plant trees, with over  23 million trees already planted!

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Tree planting projects are underway across the globe, from Nicaragua to Indonesia, and are vital to ensuring global sustainability in the face of rapid urbanisation and economic expansion. In farming communities of Ethiopia, the restoration of degraded communal land through planting trees, has been fundamental in restoring the ecosystem, reducing overgrazing, and expanding crop planting of vegetables and honey harvesting for sale, supporting the local economy in a sustainable approach. In Uganda, tree planting aids the development of forest corridors in which chimpanzees can move from one forest patch to another, enabling their access to food sources. In this case, tree planting provides education to younger members of the local community in regard to the importance of sustainable forests for the community and for the benefits of vulnerable species. In Morocco, where intensive grazing has depleted the soil of its nutrients, causing increased temperatures and a lack of viable agricultural land, self-sufficient solar-powered nurseries of 1.3million fruit and nut trees have been established to address the fundamental local issues of nutrient-scarce soil. You can read more about these projects and others here.

Plus, the benefits of these schemes extend far beyond the immediate locality of their communities, but they benefit us all! We all know increased carbon dioxide is recognised as a main driver of climate change, and it is trees that absorb this gas, but not many of us consider the wider benefits of extensive tree planting. Maintaining large forests, for instance, can generate cloud coverage which reflects sunlight and aids the cooling of the planet. These forests are also home to some of the most diverse ecosystems, with a significant amount still undiscovered. Trees also protect soil from erosion and sustain fertile land, preventing desert conditions in areas of high vegetation, by regulating the water-cycle and acting as a water-storage system to prevent flooding and droughts.

Most of us do not get a chance to actively contribute to tree planting schemes across the globe, in places like Spain, Ethiopia, and Tanzania. But, now we can all contribute by doing what we already do! We just need to do it at Ecosia. You can make Ecosia your homepage, or download the app to search.  Every 45 searches provide enough revenue to plant 1 tree, and with over 40,000 internet searches conducted every single second, we can all contribute to a greener world. When focussing on the development of the built environment at our doorstep, we can lose site of the bigger picture, and the impact of increased urbanisation on the planet. Switching our search engine is a simple and easy way to do our part in helping global sustainability, so why not start now?

 

Author Details:

Kimberley Airey

Student of Environment & Planning at University of Liverpool

North West Committee Member of Women in Planning

LinkedIn: Kimberley Airey

event write up, North West committee

Plan Your Career: The Nine Pieces of Key Advice Every Professional Needs to Hear

Jill Bell – Chair | Women in Planning North West

Sara Todd – Deputy Chief Executive | Manchester City Council
Victoria Hessen – Managing Director | Gladman Developments
Rob Haslam – Planning Director | Savills
Vicky Hughes – Head of Town Planning | Blayze Group

The packed-out event featured those fresh onto the Planning scene as well as some more experienced professionals, all eager to hear advice from inspirational speakers from across both the private and public Planning sector. Jill, Chair of WIP NW, kicked off the evening by laying out the objective of the evening; to encourage all those who attend to achieve their goals, whatever their goals might be: “it might not be reaching the top, it might even be reaching the end of the week, or overcoming a small personal challenge.” Following Jill was Sara who discussed her role in City Council during the devastating Manchester terrorist attack in May, and how her experience and knowledge gained over her career had informed her action. Sara also shared advice gained from her career in the public sector. Victoria followed, discussing the lessons learnt in her career to reach Managing Director of Gladman Developments from her MA in Town & Regional Planning. Vicky and Rob teamed up for the closing session, Vicky using her insight of working with Planning organisations for the past fifteen years and Rob with his experience working in both the public and private sectors.

1. “People will forget what you did, people will forget what you said, but people will never forget how you made them feel” – Maya Angelou

Sara Todd emphasised how important it is to be kind and understanding in the workplace and how key it is to recognise when a co-worker needs to talk, and to put everything down to accommodate that. Victoria followed up on this with “having a sense of humour and being kind are two of the most important things I’ve learnt in my career.”

2. Relax!

Victoria Hessen highlighted the significance of not worrying about where your career is going; “more often than not, if you work really hard, things will happen in the right way to you.” Victoria recounted reading every ‘business book’ she could get her hands on, and how, when she came across the advice “serious women in business don’t wear cardigans” she thought it was time to give them a miss!

3. ‘Imposter Syndrome’

‘Imposter Syndrome’ is that nagging doubt in your head that you can’t do something, that we’ve all experienced. Victoria’s response to this is “call yourself out! You’ve earned your right to be here!” The panel also agreed that people are rarely born with confidence, but it can be learnt over time perhaps with the help of a mentor, which will be essential when it comes to selling yourself in a job interview.

4. Write Your Goals Down

“Writing your goals down will make them seem more real to you and then you’ll be more likely to go on and achieve it”, Victoria emphasised. Begin with the “end” in mind, then formulate a plan around how you’re going to get there. Continually reviewing your goals is also important; they may change or the route to get there may adjust (and that’s fine!) Whether they’re small goals you want to achieve by the end of the week, or larger goals you want to achieve in the next decade!

5. Feedback is Key

Vicky Hughes expressed how essential feedback is from all angles (your manager and your peers) in your Learning & Development journey; “if you can be critical of yourself, although it can be difficult, it’s incredible what you will learn. Asking for feedback is imperative for your progression. If you are able to do this, you’ll be putting yourself in a great position.”

6. Word of the Evening: Mentor

Mentoring was a consistent thread throughout the whole evening or, as Rob Haslam calls them, ‘Career Crushes’. “Find someone whose job you’d love to do,” says Rob, “take them for a cup of tea! No one is too mature for career coaches.” Rob was keen to point out that mentors are not just for professionals just starting out, but for all levels of experience; Rob has known Senior Management, including Chief Executives, who have mentors “as the learning journey doesn’t finish.” The entire panel also concurred that a mentor outside of your business, and even outside of your specific sector, would provide fresh insight onto your progress.

7. Take Control

Remember, you can’t control everything; “you can’t force your employer to promote you and you can’t force your employer to give you a pay rise. Look at what you can control and focus on that. Take personal responsibility for your career – it’s you who decides how you want it to pan out.” Rob followed on from Vicky to point out “as a manager, employees who are willing to look at new areas of work and develop new projects are of great benefit to me.”

8. Personal Brand

Vicky Hughes: “perception is everything and you can influence it – you need to understand what everyone’s perception of you is to inform your development in the future. Finding out what makes you unique is essential to this; what is your differentiator and how will this benefit your employer?”

9. Time Management

During the Q&A towards the end of the session, an attendee, someone who Rob has previously managed, described a time management technique that Rob has recommended to her; “separate your tasks into categories and then block out time to complete them. Keep your e-mail shut when you’re focusing on a task and work out when your most productive hours are; if it’s in the morning, do the strategically-focused tasks then.” Sara also shared how she always took half an hour for lunch to regain headspace from the day which is always blocked out by her secretary.

“It’s okay to enjoy the job you’re in! You don’t always have to think about the next thing – it’s as simple as that! Your goal doesn’t always have to be reaching the top, it could be about reaching the end of the week, or reaching your dream project.”

*Blayze Group are proud to support Women in Planning. As a values-first recruitment consultancy, our priority is to ensure the best outcome for our clients and candidates always.

By  from Blayze Group

This article was first published on Blayze Groups website – click here to view.

 

Women in Planning Official

Women in Planning Committee members included on RTPI The Planner’s Women of Influence list 2018

The Planner’s Women of Influence 2018 has been published to mark International Women’s Day on the 08 March. The list includes incredible women from across the planning profession. Women in Planning are very proud to announce that members of our Committee Branches and Co-Founders have been included:

Jill Bell MRTPI – chair of Women in Planning in the North West and consultant with HGH Consulting.

Mary Fortune MRTPI – chair of Women in Planning, London and senior planner with Savills.

Emma Langmaid MRTPI – chair of Women in Planning South Wales and director of Prospero Planning.

Alison Mackay MRTPI – co-founder of Women in Planning and senior planner with Colliers International; active with RTPI London.

Charlotte Morphet MRTPI – co-founder of the expanding Women in Planning network and principal policy planner at the London Borough of Waltham Forest; RTPI General Assembly member.

Sarah Reid – planning barrister with Kings Chambers, with a particular specialism in highways law; mentor to colleagues at Kings and board member of Women in Planning North West.

See the full list of inspiration women here: https://www.theplanner.co.uk/features/the-planners-women-of-influence-2018

event write up

Deeds for not words – How we Press for Progress

The theme for International Women’s Day this year was #pressingforprogress. It is a strong call for action for 2018, to make sure we “press forward and progress for gender parity[1] by motivating everyone to think, act and be gender inclusive.

Women in Planning London celebrated the day by attending the Suffragettes exhibition ‘Votes for Women’ at the Museum of London. It was great to have attendees from the committee and membership to celebrate the day.

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The exhibition was a celebration of the sacrifices these brave women made to ensure that some women had the vote through an insightful documentary. I recommend every woman visits and watches the documentary.

What I took away from the visiting was that to press for progress we need to find out inner Suffragettes. Words around gender equality are great but we need deeds.  Deeds like the Diversity Pledge set up the Future of London and speaker networks like Women Talk Real Estate. We need more initiatives like this in planning and related professions to press for progress.

Charlotte Morphet, Co-Founder Women in Planning.

[1] https://www.internationalwomensday.com