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Planning for Growth: Innovation

There is a clear message that comes from the modern literature about competitiveness. In a knowledge economy, competitiveness is closely tied to innovation. However, innovation is not a linear process from men in white coats in laboratories through to a commercially successful product. Indeed many innovations that are brought to the market come from companies that do not have an R and D function. Rather innovation comes from multiple feedbacks, absorbing messages from customers, sharing tacit knowledge, a willingness to experiment. Thus regions can be important catalysts for innovation. How do we build these insights into plans for growth? Continue reading

Lessons in community planning from Australia

Phil Heywood's new book 'Community Planning: Integrating Social and Physical Environments'

The Localism Bill in England is creating new Neighbourhood Development Plans. The bill will also provide powers to communities to bring forward a ‘community right to build’.  So this is a good time to distil  key messages from experiences with community planning, and an international perspective can help. Phil Heywood’s new book “Community Planning: Integrating Social and Physical Environments” is a good place to start. It includes a compelling case study of the practice of design-led local community involvement  in Northern Queensland. Continue reading

Planning in the USA – tweet for nicer, greener suburbs

The American Planning Association annual conference in Boston provided a fascinating insight into the concerns and perspectives of US planners. The angle that particularly caught my attention was the blitz of presentations and activities about how planners and developers can use social media and new information technology in their work. Whether you want to tweet, trip or ClickFix, or just browse in the urban interactive studio, the APA was the place to be. Or not to be, maybe that was the question, for you didn’t need to be in Boston to be connected to this virtual planners’ world. Continue reading

Cross-border development:learning from Newry-Dundalk twin city

Across the world, administrative boundaries, and particularly international borders, are blocks to economic development,  management of energy and conservation of natural resources. Rivers flow across frontiers, where flood prevention measures differ. National energy policies and grids constrain efficiency. Small towns split by a border struggle against larger economic hubs.  The culture of officialdom looks inwards. However, across Europe border barriers are being tackled through spatial planning and economic development. Local blinkers are being replaced by new forms of co-operation and policy-making. Continue reading