ECTP-CEU Conference : Spatial Planning Governance for the 21st Century

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Recently ECTP-CEU had a terrific conference in Malta about spatial planning governance for the 21st century.

We feel privileged to have amongst our members a diversity of countries across the whole of Europe –east, west, north and for this Spring Conference we were meeting in one of our most southernly states. We feel that we can enlighten ourselves as planners, by discussing our most pressing problems and exchanging our most inspirational ideas for good planning.

At this conference, Janet Askew, our President held an interesting speech centered around the question, why governance? In this speech she explained the importance of good ethical planning and laid out the three most important points to ensure this.

⬇Below is an excerpt of her speech⬇

The ECTP-CEU has been discussing different systems and methods of governance a lot recently. Reform in the governance of planning – legal and regulatory – is very much on the agenda in many countries.

The issue for planners is that we believe that we can help to address today’s major problems through good planning –that is- sustainability, climate change, social justice and conserving our history and culture. But It could be argued that our main failure is the inability of planners to persuade politicians and communities that planning is a desirable activity to be carried out in the public interest.

The public have simply not engaged favourably with planning; politicians have long misunderstood its achievements and benefits, who since 1980, with the rise of market economics, have been torn between powerful interests of landowners and developers, communities and local government.

So, as we struggle to convince our politicians and our communities of the purpose and value of planning, what must we do?

1. We support the education of planners to high standards, working alongside universities to ensure that planning is based on good quality research with sound evidence that the solutions will work. Furthermore, we want to achieve mutual recognition across Europe so that planners can work in different countries. This is a vital demand for our Young Planners.

2. In bringing together all the associations of professional planners, we abide by a code of ethics, which tells us that we must act professionally without bias or corruption in all we do. A good planner is an ethical planner. A good planner adheres to the international code of professional conduct. An ethical planner is trusted by the community.

3. We believe in our Charter of European planning, which lays down some basic principles –at all scales– national, regional and local. This is accompanied by our charter of participatory democracy, which recognises that we must involve communities in planning, to engage with local people who feel that their own ideas are ignored by powerful interests in society.

Other thought-provoking ideas and speeches discussed at the next conference to be posted soon.