Making Better Decisions for Places
In November 2014, the Royal Town Planning Institute published Making Better Decisions for Places: Why where we make decisions will be critical in the twenty-first century. This is one of five 'Planning Horizons' papers published during the RTPI's centenary year. The papers take a long term and global view of planning and the major challenges of the 21st Century.
The five Planning Horizons projects are:
- Thinking Spatially.
- Future Proofing Society.
- Promoting Healthy Cities.
- Creating Economically Successful Places.
- Making Better Decisions for Places.
Making Better Decisions for Places identifies a ‘contemporary crisis of government’ and argues that uncoordinated decision-making reduces the effectiveness of our response to major challenges. It suggests that, ‘Decision-makers at all levels need to be brought together to enable the best decisions for places, to ensure that communities are provided with the services and opportunities they need.’
The report presents examples of decisions made at inappropriate levels, and cites case studies where there are better governance arrangements, contrasting Leeds with the City of Malmö in Sweden.
It identifies four common failures:
- An inappropriate level of decision-making to deal with issues that cross administrative boundaries.
- Siloed policy and decision-making.
- Governing by borders rather than functional geographies.
- A lack of understanding of ‘subsidiarity’, and the importance of having well-resourced institutions.
The report sets out four ‘tests’ for successful devolution that might overcome these failures:
- Identifying those decisions that have a primarily national impact and those that have a primarily sub-national impact.
- Allowing policy decisions to be made according to where policies interact.
- Aligning governance arrangements with functional economic areas rather than administrative borders.
- Ensuring institutions are suitably equipped and resourced to make and implement decisions.
Cath Ranson, President of the RTPI, said, “Understanding what we want to create for local places requires a whole range of actors in the public, private and third sectors to work together – in particular communities need to be closely involved in decision-making. The challenges of making sustainable, better places won’t be resolved by one organisation alone, or indeed by one profession. Decision-makers at all levels need to be brought together to enable the best decisions for places, to ensure that communities are provided with the services and opportunities they need.”
 Related articles on Designing Buildings Wiki
- Neighbourhood planning.
- Place-shaping: a shared ambition for the future of local government.
- Royal Town Planning Institute.
- Smart cities.
 External references
Featured articles and news
OMA's plans for new arts centre to revitalise city's culture given planning approval.
Select committee criticises DEFRA for failing to take up its recommendations.
Nicola Sturgeon presents ICE's People's Choice Award to the Forth Road Bridge reopening.
Green paper published for consultation.
Mental health issues effect 80% of construction workers. Read our interview with the founders of a new wellbeing initiative.
Would Stephenson be disappointed by the lack of progress on the high speed transport of Hyperloop?
The immersive pop-up cinema experience that could revolutionise on-site health and safety training.
5 out of 10 filtering facepieces fail HSE tests.
Eleven Magazine announce the winner and runners-up in their Moontopia competition.
As January is the time for hitting the gym, Designing Buildings Wiki lists the best gym architecture in the world.
London is at the top of the list of global construction megacities, beating Dubai and Abu Dhabi.