12 Apr 2012

Many of us in the field of regional studies take a keen interest in issues related to urban and regional planning, housing, communities, infrastructure and transport - to name a few. In the United Kingdom, the Royal Town Planning Institute recently launched a major initiative for England that sought to bring together data across a wide range of inter-connected topics with the aim of helping ensure that there is a joined up approach to planning infrastructure and services in England. The result of the analysis - by a team of researchers at the University of Manchester's Centre for Urban Policy Studies - is 'A Map for England', a comprehensive study examining a broad range of existing government policies and how they relate to each other, plus a map compendium.

The fact that there is currently no national 'map' or spatial planning framework may be something of a surprise to some people in different parts of Europe but in England this situation has persisted for a long time. But what is the point of all this? Well, this is what the RTPI say on their website...

"By overlaying a number of these maps and diagrams together, the researchers demonstrated that some policies and programmes, when considered against each other in relation to different parts of the country, may have unintended consequences.

For example, the study revealed that there is considerable overlap between broad areas where housing growth is projected in the future and where there are the greatest environmental and policy constraints to growth. These constraints include the risk of flooding and expected future household water shortages."

If you're interested in contributing your thoughts on this, you can join the debate on Twitter @rtpiplanners or #map4england. You can also listen to the podcast.