Posts By: cliffhague

How to tackle Shrinking Cities?

Murmansk – a shrinking post-socialist city

Shrinking cities are a focus of growing concern. Globalisation has increased the vulnerability of cities to sudden adverse changes in their economic base. Austerity policies augment the problems. Loss of a key economic activity, can be followed by net out-migration of economically active age groups, falling tax revenues, an aging population but declining public services, “excessive” infrastructure that is expensive to maintain, empty property and gap sites. What strategies are being pursued in different parts of the world to address these challenges? Read more on How to tackle Shrinking Cities?…

The Global Initiative for Resource Efficient Cities

Resource-efficient cities need to look after their city centres through design that keeps them attractive: Seventh Street, St.Paul, Minnesota

One of the positive outcomes to emerge from the Rio+20 summit last year was the UN Environment Programme’s Global Initiative for Resource Efficient Cities (GI- REC) In trying to plot a way towards sustainable urban development it aims to reduce pollution and infrastructure costs while improving efficiency in cities across the world. The GIREC will work with local and national governments, the private sector and civil society groups to promote energy efficient buildings, efficient water use, sustainable waste management and other activities. Read more on The Global Initiative for Resource Efficient Cities…

European practices in making regional strategies

Successful regional development can no longer be achieved through top-down public sector action. The skills and resources of the private and voluntary sectors are needed. This also means that planning for regional development must be done in a more inclusive way, less hierarchical and with co-operative networks and partnerships. However, action at regional scale needs also to be aligned to policy at national and transnational scales but also at local scale. These are messages from a new study that looks at regional development practice in four areas – the Randstad in The Netherlands, England’s West Midlands, Zealand in Denmark and Västerbotten in Sweden. Read more on European practices in making regional strategies…

Women’s safety in India

The death of the 23-year old physiotherapy student after she was gang raped on a New Delhi bus has commanded headlines around the world. This appalling and tragic event has focused attention on the failures of the Indian authorities, and Indian society more generally, to tackle long standing problems of sexual assault and harassment. The sense of outrage stepped up when allegations emerged over the weekend of another gang-rape and murder in Noida, a satellite city east of Delhi. The media has concentrated on the failures of the local police. However, planners and urban designers also need to address the issues of women’s safety in urban areas. Read more on Women’s safety in India…

Ring out the old, ring in the new – a global review of 2012

I would like to award the prize for the best contribution to environmental sustainability for 2012 to Hurricane Sandy. Sandy single-handedly managed to convert more American citizens to the threats posed by climate change than any number of scientists, scientific publications or politicians. By dumping extreme weather on the US eastern seaboard, massively disrupting transport and business, and above all by providing great TV pictures, it made a strong case in many different ways. Read more on Ring out the old, ring in the new – a global review of 2012…

Development and planning in Cyprus

Outstanding mosaics in Paphos

Last week in Cyprus, I was able to get some insights into the development challenges facing this part of Europe. In a snapshot, Mediterranean islands like Cyprus were early cradles of urbanisation and often have a rich archaeological legacy. They were poor agricultural areas until mass tourism began in the 1970s. The boom saw the spread of urban uses along the coasts and around the villages, often undermining of the quality of the places that people were attracted to. Now these places face austerity and threats from climate change. Read more on Development and planning in Cyprus…

What development strategy for the European Union’s Neighbourhood?

Tea break during the ESPON Seminar on the EU Neighbourhood, Paphos, Cyprus

What kind of regional development actions might boost competitiveness and growth through forging new links with states around the borders of the European Union (EU)? This is the question that will be the focus of a meeting in Cyprus that I am participating in this week. The EU’s European Neighbourhood Policy dates from 2004. Its objective is to avoid “the emergence of new dividing lines between the enlarged EU and our neighbours and instead strengthen the prosperity, stability and security of all.” What are the pressures and opportunities and how might a place-based approach help? Read more on What development strategy for the European Union’s Neighbourhood?…

A new world order? Commonwealth planners report

What are the issues that planners across the globe are grappling with? This week I attended a meeting in London of the Commonwealth Association of Planners (CAP). Representatives from Africa, the Caribbean and Americas, Asia, Australasia and the Pacific, and Europe gave fascinating presentations. In the space of an hour we were given a kaleidoscope of planners’ work and concerns – from post-earthquake Christchurch to crime and sprawl in Caribbean islands, from the “jobs and growth” agenda in Europe to the forced removal of people to make way for major infrastructure projects in dynamic African countries. Where does planning go from here? Read more on A new world order? Commonwealth planners report…

Read more on A new world order? Commonwealth planners report…

International accreditation of planning degrees

Post-graduate planning students at University of Cape Town discussing their views on the course. Photo by Dr.Brian O'Callaghan.

What are the implications of moves to offer international accreditation of planning education, particularly on North-South basis globally? The RTPI has fully accredited a planning programme in Africa for the first time. I chaired the Accreditation Board that visited University of Cape Town last week. On 30 October the Commonwealth Association of Planners will hold a meeting in London that will consider how to build capacity and institutions for planning across the Commonwealth. The following day I will be part of a video-link panel to the annual conference of the American Collegiate Schools of Planning in Cincinnati, where the theme of the panel will be international accreditation. Read more on International accreditation of planning degrees…

International job swaps amongst planners

The Columbia Gorge – an example of the outstanding landscapes and natural environment of Oregon.

The idea of planners exchanging jobs with colleagues in another country to broaden their experience and outlook is an attractive one. I understand that the International Division of the American Planning Association (APA) is looking at ways to facilitate such swaps. I know that there is also strong interest in similar ventures between countries in the Global South, with particular interest here in South Africa, where I am writing this current blog. Read more on International job swaps amongst planners…