Working across professional boundaries was a key theme among the winners of the 2019 Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) Awards for Research Excellence, which were announced this week. The awards were presented at the opening ceremony of the UK-Ireland Planning Research Conference at the University of Liverpool.
Idox is proud to have supported the awards since 2015, and this year we again sponsored three of the five awards – the Sir Peter Hall Award for Wider Engagement, the Consultancy Award, and the Student Award.
The judging panel of 28 experienced academics and leading voices from the public and private sector, considered submissions from across the UK and around the world, and the winning entries reflected this diversity.
Entries were on a range of topics, including climate change, spatial justice, physical and mental health, rural development, neighbourhood planning and community engagement.
Award winning research from around the world
RTPI President Ian Tant, who presented the awards, commented that: “High quality and impactful research forms a vital basis for planning practice. This year’s Research Awards have again shone a light on fantastic planning research from around the world.”
Henk Heerink, Director of Idox Content, said: “It was inspiring to see the research showcased in this year’s award applications. At Idox, we have a close relationship with the research community via RESEARCHconnect, our end-to-end solution which supports researchers and institutions to find funding or research partners.”
“It is again a pleasure to see these awards bestowed on researchers who are leading the way in showing how planning research can help shape the world we live in.”
Supporting communities in neighbourhood planning
The Sir Peter Hall Award was awarded to Gavin Parker, Kat Salter and Matthew Wargent (University of Reading – Real Estate & Planning, Henley Business School) for their book and supporting website designed to help communities to engage with community-led planning. This work is the result of extensive research in neighbourhood planning and community involvement in planning led in the past five years by the Neighbourhood Planning academic research hub at Reading University.
The judges found that the project had succeeded in “engaging a wider audience, mobilising an impressive research output and communicating it in an innovative and clear way.”
Planning for healthier outcomes
All four shortlisted entries for the Consultancy award were for research undertaken by Lichfields in different parts of the UK. The ultimate winner was Myles Smith, for their annual review of Local Plan progress under the NPPF 2012. The detailed review of Inspectors’ reports and the qualitative application of planning judgements within them has set the standard for future research in this area.
The judges found the research “eminently relevant for planning practice and research and extremely well-documented.”
Cross-cutting impactful research
The Academic Award went to Dr Chinmoy Sarkar, Prof Chris Webster (University of Hong Kong, Faculty of Architecture, Department of Urban Planning and Design) and Prof John Gallacher (Department of Psychiatry, University of Oxford) for their study ‘Residential greenness and prevalence of major depressive disorders: A cross-sectional, observational, associational study of 94,879 adult UK Biobank participants’.
The Early Career Award went to Dr Guibo Sun for his work with Prof Chris Webster and Xiaohu Zhang (University of Hong Kong, Faculty of Architecture, Department of Urban Planning and Design): ‘Connecting the city: A three-dimensional pedestrian network of Hong Kong’.
The Student Award went to Richard Lundy (Cardiff University, School of Geography and Planning) for his Masters dissertation: ‘Incompatible Imagery: The conflict between heritage and development at Liverpool Waters’.
For the first time, two Practitioner Research Awards were also made. RTPI members who are practising planners were invited to submit research proposals and the winners received £5,000 of research funding.
The full list of winners and shortlisted finalists for the 2019 RTPI Awards for Research Excellence are available here.
We interviewed the winner of the 2016 Sir Peter Hall Award for Wider Engagement, Dr Paul Cowie from the University of Newcastle, about the impact of winning the award for the Town Meeting project, which used theatre to engage communities in planning.