Monday, 26 October 2009

Sponsorship pays off for the Scottish Planner

Scottish Planner in a bin
As my regular readers will know, I was mightily impressed with the new format for the Scottish Planner which came out in February of this year in a bi-monthly format - and in colour! For those of you who are unfortunate enough not to be qualified in town planning, the Scottish Planner - or the Journal of the RTPI in Scotland as it is subtitled - is usually an opportunity to keep up to date with the mind-dumbingly tedious gossip around the few folk who run the show in Scotland. But it also features articles by some of the greatest thinkers of our time - hardened professionals tempered by the fires of regeneration and property development.
a great article of critical importance to the world of town planning
In the current issue, the great Italian Planner Stefano Smith, Regional Director for Development and Design (Scotland and Ireland) at Halcrow Group Ltd, (what an impressive job title!) considers the next wave of business parks which will sweep over the economic landscape in the next few years, destroying small businesses and carving away at outmoded neighbourhoods like a knife through butter. This is a spanking article and a must-read in which planning in Dubai is mentioned - more than once! Halcrow really know what they are doing here and I'm filled with admiration for their deep dynamic thinking, their appreciation of transcendent themes and their blinding strategic innovation. I can't wait to see some real evidence of this on the ground, particularly in some of Scotland's smaller towns which have been waiting to be swept away like this for many years.
great sponsorship has changed the magazine
Now there is another important point here worth mentioning. Halcrow are sponsors of the Scottish Planner with Biggart Baillie LLP and together they have published an article in each of the issues since the new format was announced - three from Halcrow and two from Biggart Baillie. Some of my colleagues think this is corrupt and shameful - they are entitled to their opinion. Well my message to them is, "Let's have more please!" More news about business parks and less gossip and tittle-tattle will suit me fine. It is great that Halcrow have seized the moment and found a way to get their abundant skills across to the great unwashed of local council planners before other less worthy firms get a look-in. A great piece of work and my hearty congratulations to all those involved in this.


Tim R said...

Hey Dave, RU serious that some of your colleagues are criticising the new look, all singing and dancing Scottish Planner because they think it's corrupt and shameful? Really?? Shame on them, more like.

I know for a fact that the our gallant staffers in the RTPI have been trying for years to get the Scottish Planner published in colour. Obviously it's the mark of any decent professional journal.

I really can't see the connection with firms like Halcrow and Bigot Baillie having regular slots and "corruption".

Do your colleagues think that they're buying space in the magazine to promote their skills? Surely not. The RTPI - and respected professional firms of the calibre of Bigot B and Halcrow - are way above that kind of behaviour.

If that's the kind of colleagues you have to work with, Dave, I strongly urge you to get out of there.

There must be a few consultancies who would appreciate your "can do" mentality. How about Halcrow for starters?


Dave Thompson said...

Thank you Tim R and hello again. Thanks for taking the trouble to write at such length about this disturbing matter. My word, I would be overwhelmed if Halcrow offered me a job and literally in tears. I would like to get out of Auchterness for I fear things are not looking good for the future - my future. But I am loyal you know and won't walk away. With every best wish - Dave T

Geordie said...


Your posts in the past few weeks have been an inspiration - and one in the eye for those Dismal Jimmies who doubt that Scotland can hold its own in the age of "place competition".

These case studies will be an invaluable resource for students of architecture,urban design and planning the world over. They show that when it comes to creating places that are stylish, sophisticated and just bursting with "vibrance" (as they say at Edinburgh's exciting but admittedly entirely vacant new Springside development) Scotland leads the world. I'm in exile in the north east of England just now, and it won't surprise you to learn that - confronted with these wonderful new developments - many people here are talking excitedly of a new Scottish Enlightenment, and making plans to move to our Caledonian Utopia.

I'm not a planner, but I'm happy to hold my hands up and say that all of us owe a huge debt of gratitude to you and your professional colleagues for guiding these world-class schemes from the drawing board to glittering reality.

Carry on the good work. Respectfully yours,


Dave Thompson said...

Dear Geordie

How kind of you to write such a glowing report card for me - I wish you had been my teacher! I might write about Caledonian Utopia someday - it sounds very exciting. With every best wish - Dave T

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