What architects should know about planners

Royal Town Planning Institute chief executive Victoria Hills

Victoria Hills hits back at Amin Taha’s remarks on the poor architectural knowledge of planners

Architects are specialists in designing buildings; planners are specialists in designing places. As all good history students know, it was the rapid, unchecked industrialisation and building development of the 19th century that led to the first Housing and Town Planning Act 1909.

Thomas Adams became the first town planning inspector in 1910 and set up the Town Planning Institute in 1914 with three objectives: to advance the study of town-planning, civic design and kindred subjects, and of the arts and sciences as applied to those subjects; to promote the artistic and scientific development of towns and cities; and to secure the association – and promote the general interests of – those engaged or interested in town-planning.

Planning was set up from its outset as a profession to “promote the artistic” development of towns and cities and to advance the study of civic design and “kindred subjects”. It is therefore alarming to read that one of our most high-profile architects, Amin Taha, has been saying that nowadays planners have little understanding of architectural history. Design has been at the heart of the planning profession since it was established as a profession in its own right more than a century ago.

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