Planning Ahead: The Next Generation

 

This blog was written for The Planner magazine by our Head of Architecture, Planning and Design, Freddie Bell. Follow this link to read from The Planner website 


One of the things I tell most of the Planners I meet is that if I had known about planning when at school, I would have studied it at university. And I doubt I'm alone in this.

When we consider encouraging inclusivity and diversity in planning, we rightly highlight doing more to ensure women, LGBTQ and people from minority backgrounds are better supported in the industry. But from my angle, we miss a trick by not fully engaging with the next generation in planning.

cityplanning Unlike recruitment, you need a degree, often a Master's, in order to start in planning. Despite this, town planning is simply not a career path being talked about at school level. The majority of younger planners I network with often studied geography initially at undergraduate level and it's here they discovered a passion for planning. Though it's fantastic to hear that many take this route, it's not ideal for those like myself who did a different bachelors and remained none the wiser to the existence of town planning until beginning my career elsewhere. So how can we address this problem?

The obvious change that must happen is making the industry known to children when they're still at school. Schools are often made up of a wide variety of people from different races, different backgrounds and different beliefs – all in one room and equal to one another. By reaching out at this level we not only address the need to get the planning industry better understood, but we will naturally reach out to a wide cross-section of society.

The second positive move we can make is better tying in planning with games and virtual reality. Games like Sim: City and Run That Town are fantastic tools in getting younger minds to consider the built environment and the impact we can make on it. The augmented reality in Pokemon Go is an easily accessible way for people to actually view the architecture, buildings and city directly around them. At the national level, the planning community needs to reinforce this with children by better helping them understand how they can turn their passion into a career. From my experience we're an engaging industry, it will then be on us to provide time and resources to reach out the next generation.

There truly is no better time to make changes to this end than right now. The housing crisis is at the forefront of discussion in politics at both the national and local level. The planning industry can do more to rise to this challenge; engaging with the next generation will not only aid with this but will also help ensure we have a diverse makeup of the industry to cater for the whole population.


 

FreddieI now head up the Planning & Architecture team after joining mid-2016. My background has always been in recruitment, learning my craft while working across a range of different sectors including FMCG Marketing and Employability & Skills. I have expertise in recruiting across the UK as well as internationally which is great fun as I love meeting a wide variety of different people. I work with some of the best companies and people in the industry – what more could I want? Well, a sausage dog – I don't have one...yet

frb@mattpart.com

 

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We at Mattinson Partnership are proud partners of The London Wildlife Trust, a charity dedicated to protecting the wildlife and wild spaces of London by driving environmental projects throughout the city. Our team often get involved at ground level by helping to maintain and restore treasured spaces and land… we love to get our hands dirty! Our very own Associate Director Ruth is also heavily involved in the Wild Talent Project, an initiative designed to increase diversity in the environmental work landscape and remove the barriers to entry for a career in the nature conservation sector. Ruth has contributed to their CV workshops and interview practises within their training programme.



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