Planning is rarely out of the news these days, certainly in England. It gets mentioned in speeches by party leaders, it garners headlines in the national and local press and has been the focus of multiple reform initiatives, especially over the last twenty years. Yet, these debates largely concern the ‘planning system’ and its policies, targets, methods, legislation and decision-making procedures.
What about the planners themselves? What do they do all day?’ These are not an unreasonable questions for a town planning-based podcast to ask, especially for an episode timed to coincide with World Town Planning Day, and, helpfully, are questions that a study to be published by four academics, Geoff Vigar, Abigail Schoneboom, Jason Slade and Malcom Tait, seeks to answer.
Their book, ‘What Town Planners Do’ (from where Sam Stafford pilfered that opening paragraph) offers “a unique insight into the everyday lives of planners and those in associated built environment occupations” and readers are promised “an exceptional account of the micro-politics of a knowledge-intensive profession”. “It seeks to put planners and where they work at centre stage”.
Sam talks in this episode about the themes of the study and the four ethnographic case studies from which they emerge with three of the study’s authors. Geoff Vigar is a Professor of Urban Planning at Newcastle University; Abigail Schoneboom is a Lecturer in Urban Planning at Newcastle University and Jason Slade is a Lecturer in Town Planning at Sheffield University.
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