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Migration, gender and territorial change in Europe

How has the economic crisis impacted on migration patterns across Europe? This question is addressed in a new four-page ESPON Evidence Brief. The theme was also a central feature of the ESPON seminar in Vilnius on 4-5 December. Migration has been a priority concern of the Lithuanian EU Presidency. This is not surprising, given the scale on which this small country has been haemorrhaging people in recent years. It is estimated that a sixth of the population has been lost over the last 20 years. However, as we in the UK know,  migration has become a hot political topic in many countries. For example there are concerns in countries around the Mediterranean about their “front line” position in relation to illegal immigration from Africa and the Middle East.

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Ten messages if your are Planning for Growth

Planning for growth means making use of local assets

In my last couple of Blogs I have covered issues around planning for growth. This one continues that theme by looking at messages in ESPON research that give pointers to territorial actions that would put “Planning for Growth” into practice. Continue reading

Urban resilience and South Africa’s metropolitan areas

Table Mountain and the V & A Waterfront, Cape Town.

The recently published report of the State of South Africa’s Cities makes extensive use of the concept of “resilience”. This is a theme that I discussed in a previous blog a couple of months back. However, as far as I know, the South Africans are the first to use it as a building block for a major national report. Thus “Towards Resilient Cities: Reflections on the first decade of a democratic and transformed local government in South Africa 2001-2011” is interesting both for its use of the concept and for what it has to tell us about what is happening in South Africa. In addition, it comes at a time when work is being progressed by the Commonwealth Association of Planners and others on a Commonwealth Urban Agenda and a Commonwealth set of urban indicators. Continue reading

Does Tax Increment Financing deliver economic development?

A mural opposing the TIF in the Pilsen neighbourhood of Chicago

Tax Increment Financing (TIF) is a controversial tool for economic development. New and so far unpublished research on its use in Chicago questions the benefits that TIFs generate. These findings strengthen the reservations about TIF that my co-authors and I expressed in our new book on Regional and Local Economic Development. In England the TIF idea has been promoted by the British Property Federation and the Core Cities Group, and has received government backing. Meanwhile the Scottish Government has indicated that it will support six pilot TIF projects. So why are there so many criticisms of TIFs in the USA? Continue reading

Planning and Food Security

A crop diversification project in Zambia

A crop diversification project in Zambia. Plan International photo

Food security is an issue that is rapidly rising up the international agenda.

As a recent paper produced by the Commonwealth Association of Planners explains, the global consensus is that population and food prices are increasing, while access to food is decreasing.

Last August the RTPI released a policy statement on Planning for Food, and then took a leading role in an on-line discussion of the topic on World Town Planning Day last November.

The American Planning Association has also issued policy guidance on “Community and Regional Food Planning” ,and as my blog last week showed, food was a key concern of “tweeters” at last month’s APA annual conference.   So should food security become a key consideration in the practice of planning across the globe? Continue reading