The Bartlett School of Planning


RTPI Awards for Research Excellence 2016: Shortlisted Entries

3 August 2016

Congratulations to a number of BSP staff who have been shortlisted under various categories for the RTPI Awards for Research Excellence 2016.

Just Space RTPI Awards

UCL students meeting with local organisations in the Just Space Tottenham network
Picture Credit: Myfanwy Taylor

The Awards are run by the RTPI to recognise and promote high quality, impactful spatial planning research from RTPI accredited planning schools, and planning consultancies around the world. There was tough competition to be named a finalist, with 87 entries to this year’s awards, a more than 40% increase on last year. Dr Michael Harris, RTPI’s Head of Research, said: “The RTPI Research Awards have gone from strength to strength. The growing body of high quality research work in planning is impressive but more importantly, it is a positive sign that more academic researchers want to reach out to practitioners and policymakers with insights and findings that can inform and influence their work. This is what the Awards celebrate and I am pleased that RTPI planning schools and planning consultancies have responded.”

The following were nominated for the Sir Peter Hall Award for Wider Engagement:

Michael Edwards, Myfanwy Taylor (Geography), Elena Besussi and Jessica Ferm: Just Space

The innovative feature of JustSpace.org.uk is that it's a network of community organisations at multiple geographic scales which support each other in engaging with the planning system. It mobilises the knowledge and expertise which community groups, activists and campaigners have about their neighbourhoods and cities so they can feed into the policy process — not always welcomed by the powers that be. Students and staff of universities have been able to support and help this growing movement and simultaneously ground their research and learning in the concrete experience of communities. For the Bartlett School of Planning (and other parts of UCL) this is helping to challenge ivory towers and embed 'Public Engagement'.

Matthew Carmona: AHRC, CABE, Place Alliance and the House of Lords

From the spring board of an Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) funded project examining the work and legacy of the former Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment, Matthew has played a key role in building a new national movement for place quality, the Place Alliance.  The research also fed directly into the work of the Select Committee for National Policy on the Built Environment through Matthew's role as Specialist advisor to that Committee and which argued for fundamental shift to a place-led approach to policy.  Through these means underpinning research has helped to keep a national concern for design / place quality alive and on the agenda at a time of widespread retrenchment.  The case demonstrates first-hand the power of research and of the neutral and trusted space provided by a university setting to harness and engage constituencies from community-led organisations to national government and everything in-between.

Nominated for the Academic Award:

Nicholas A Phelps and David Valler (Oxford Brookes University): Delivering growth? Evaluating economic governance in England’s South East sub-regions

This research, funded under the RTPI's SPIRE (Small Project Impact Research) scheme, examines the role of planning and governance in delivering economic growth. It focuses on the challenges involved in evaluating governance arrangements in particular sub-regional territories in the South East of England, specifically: the 'Partnership for Urban South Hampshire', the 'Gatwick-Diamond Initiative', and 'Science Vale UK' in south-central Oxfordshire. Given the challenges of evaluating complex governance arrangements, the project developed an innovative evaluative frame based on a set of criteria for 'good economic governance' as perceived by the stakeholders concerned. Performance across these criteria then forms the basis for a judgement regarding the 'quality' of economic governance in each case.

Nominated for the Early Career Researcher Award:

Pablo Sendra: Infrastructures for disorder. Applying Sennett's notion of disorder to the public space of social housing neighbourhoods

This paper contributes to the debate on whether introducing too much order into urban regeneration processes hinders social life and interaction in the public space. It engages with Sennett's call for introducing certain kinds of disorder into city life. While this debate has been addressed in urban literature, many urban regeneration processes in social housing neighbourhoods have attempted to remove all kinds of disorder from the city, thus removing urban life from the streets. This paper proposes 'infrastructures for disorder': strategies for intervention that create conditions for the unplanned use of the public realm in social housing estates.

The winners will be announced on 7 September during the 2016 UK-Ireland Planning Research Conference at Cardiff University. 

The full list of finalists are available. See who won last year’s awards.