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The power of mapping policies and programmes

2 August 2016

Dr Brian Webb from the School of Geography and Planning with colleagues Professor Cecilia Wong, Dr Mark Baker, Dr Stephen Hincks and Dr Andreas Schulze-Baing from the University of Manchester are finalists in the Academic Award category at the 2016 Royal Town Planning Institute’s (RTPI) Awards for Research Excellence.

The team have been nominated for their work Mapping policies and programmes: The use of GIS to communicate spatial relationships in England. This research draws on the RTPI commissioned study ‘A Map for England’ to examine the interplay between policy needs and spatial contexts through the mapping of government policies and programmes. The team have demonstrated the value of employing simple mapping overlays to communicate complex planning issues in a ‘language’ that is easily understandable.

The Awards for Research Excellence 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.

Speaking about the nomination Dr Brian Webb, Lecturer in Spatial Planning, said: “We are very pleased to be shortlisted for this award. Government policies have spatial impacts and consequences which are not always fully understood. By compiling and visualising those policies through maps this research highlights how Government departments and programmes interact and influence places in different ways. From the national to the local this helps identify to policymakers, politicians, and the public the need for coordinated policies that are sensitive to place.”

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.”

Andrew Riley, Chief Operating Officer at Idox plc commented: "High-quality research is key to increasing our understanding of how planning can help create sustainable places for people to live and work. As the UK’s leading provider of planning and building control solutions to local authorities, Idox is very proud to be continuing our relationship with the RTPI and supporting the RTPI Awards for Research Excellence in 2016.”

Jonathan Manley at Routledge/T&F said “As RTPI’s publisher, Routledge/T&F are delighted to continue our sponsorship of the RTPI Research Awards. RTPI’s mission to reward the best in planning research complements our own ambition to publish the work of not only those with an established reputation in the field but also scholars at the dawn of their career”.

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

The Royal Town Planning Institute champions the power of planning in creating prosperous places and vibrant communities. Using its expertise and research it brings evidence and thought leadership to shape planning policies and thinking, putting the profession at the heart of society's big debates.

The article the award nomination is based on is available here: Mapping policies and programmes: The use of GIS to communicate spatial relationships in England.

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