A Legacy Event: A Tale of Two Cities

Lorna Sim, Convenor of RTPI East of Scotland Chapter, and Nicola Malone, Committee Member of RTPI East of Scotland Chapter, outline their thoughts following an inspiring event on the past/ present/ future legacy of Patrick Geddes, Perth and Dundee.

2014 is a year of legacy. The RTPI celebrates its centenary and the University of Dundee is marking 50 years of planning education in the City. To celebrate, the East of Scotland Chapter and the University came together on the 20th March to deliver an event, looking at the past, present and future of the Chapter area’s two cities, Perth and Dundee, as well as the legacy of Patrick Geddes. Over 80 planning professionals, University of Dundee students (both past and present) and interested individuals joined, in the heart of Dundee, to celebrate legacy.

Stephen Tucker (Convenor of RTPI Scotland) opened the event by reiterating that ‘places are where planning and planners have made a difference’. On this note, Barbara Illsley (University of Dundee), David Littlejohn (Perth & Kinross Council) and David MacDougall (former Dundee City Council) drew on their own experiences and illustrated examples of planning’s legacy through people and place, linking Dundee, Perth, the University of Dundee and the RTPI.

The discussion confirmed that within today’s world planning has undoubtedly moved. Indeed here in Scotland we have been fortunate with the RTPI and the Scottish Government supporting planners to align the value of place and economic growth, social policy formation and importantly the professional profile of planning and planners. However and wherever planning evolves over the coming centuries, it remains the case that unless we know and empathise with how people live then we can offer little in catering for current or future needs. Demands will be different in the future, pressures and opportunities undoubtedly so.

As experienced planners, young planners, and soon to be planners, within the East of Scotland Chapter and Dundee University, we are passionate about celebrating past successes and understanding where future pride and opportunities in planning can develop. The key message taken away from the event was that we must embrace our influential planning legacy whilst being ambitious and determined in planning for our future. As Geddes firmly protested, we must ‘think global, act local’ and ensure that we are planning for the ‘folk’.

This event was the second of the year for the East of Scotland Chapter and we are hopeful that the resounding success is a sign of things to come for the remainder of the year. The Chapter has an exciting programme for 2014. If you would like to be added to the East of Scotland Chapter’s mailing list, please email: east.scotland@rtpi.org.uk. Watch this space…!

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