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September 2016

Mapping paper nominated for top national planning research award

(4 September 2016)

Four academics from the School of Environment, Education and Development (SEED), together with a colleague at Cardiff University, are finalists in the Academic Award category in the 2016 Royal Town Planning Institute’s (RTPI) Awards for Research Excellence. 

Professor Cecilia Wong, Dr Mark Baker, Dr Stephen Hincks and Dr Andreas Schulze-Baing co-wrote a paper entitled 'Mapping policies and programmes: The use of GIS to communicate spatial relationships in England' with Dr Brian Webb of Cardiff University. The paper 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. These exhibit strong spatial expressions and significant spatial consequences which tend to be hidden and ignored. 

Through the analysis of growth-related planning issues in the report, a spatial reference framework emerges and reveals some of the implicit assumptions and unintentional consequences of government policy-making. It thus demonstrates the potential 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.

Cecilia said: “We are very grateful to be shortlisted for this award. This research argues for an improved understanding of the ways in which Government policies and programmes interact to influence the places we live. It identifies how approaching policy development from a more spatial perspective can improve policy coordination and outcomes by mapping existing Government interventions and evidence.” 

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