Urban Strategies shortlisted for a prestigious award for planning excellence

Urban Strategies’ Belfast City Centre Regeneration Strategy and Investment Plan has been shortlisted in the category for Excellence in Planning to Create Economically Successful Places at the 2015 Planning Awards for Excellence. The Awards, run by the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) and which focus on projects in the UK and Ireland, will be held at the Pullman London St Pancras on July 6, 2015.

The Belfast City Centre Regeneration Strategy and Investment Plan is a visionary document that sets the agenda for Belfast City Council as it prepares to become the planning authority for Belfast in April 2015. It puts forward high level policies and a series of concrete projects that will position Belfast to take advantage of increased investment interest and major new developments in the city centre. Addressing all aspects of city centre regeneration including economic development, public realm, transport and inclusive community building, it provides a comprehensive framework to guide Belfast City Council’s actions and priorities at this critical time. The plan making process brought together influential players and critical thinkers to have a wide-ranging conversation about the future of the city centre and its importance not just to Belfast but to the whole of Northern Ireland. The plan’s greatest contribution has been to change the narrative about the city centre; not only does it provide a physical, economic and social program, but it has built consensus around the recognition that investment in Belfast city centre has spin off effects that benefit the entire region. The Belfast City Centre Regeneration Strategy and Investment Plan provides both the ambition and the catalytic actions to drive the development of Belfast city centre as a major European regional capital.

“This was one of the most interesting and rewarding planning assignments I have ever had,” said Joe Berridge, partner at Toronto-based Urban Strategies. “It is wonderful to watch a once-divided city come together to plan its future.”

The RTPI represents 23,000 planning professionals worldwide and promotes spatial planning, shapes policy and raises professional standards. The Awards for Planning Excellence have been run by the RTPI for over 30 years to recognize planning excellence.

This year’s headline sponsor is AECOM with other sponsors and supporters including Bilfinger GVA, The Planner, Planning Aid England and the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea.

Janet Askew, President of the Royal Town Planning Institute said: “The shortlist reflects the very best planning projects, strategies and processes that are helping to make great places for people to live and work. The 80 finalists highlight exceptional examples of planning that have made an impact and brought considerable benefits. It will be a tremendous challenge picking individual category winners from such a high-quality field.”

Projects on the shortlist have been recognised for their national contribution to planning and demonstrate how significant schemes can be delivered speedily through the planning and other consents systems.

For more information, please visit http://rtpi.org.uk/briefing-room/news-releases/2015/march/finalists-for-rtpi-awards-for-planning-excellence-2015-announced/