01 April 2009

Planners celebrate 20 years since graduation

The Town and Regional Planning MA Class of 1998 recently held a reunion event to celebrate 20 years since graduation. The report from Simon Marsh is below:

Deep in the Thatcher years of planning, a small group of postgraduates completed their studies at Sheffield University’s Department of Town and Regional Planning.

Twenty years on, nine of us went wild at Losehill Hall in the Peak District, the site of our very first field trip, aided and abetted by partners and no fewer than ten children under the age of 12.

Over a sunny summer weekend some took part in study tours, either testing our spatial awareness in the hills or assessing the impact of the tourism industry in local tea shops. In an unusual move, keynote speeches during the main event were restricted to one minute, without hesitation, repetition or deviation. Those who took part in plenary debates reflected on whether knowledge of Circular 22/80 had made any difference to our lives, or whether the mediation of space was best accomplished with the aid of chocolate cake. Highly practical workshops tested the feasibility of tall building designs using only newspaper and sellotape, assisted by the younger generation.

Outside the organised sessions, delegates enjoyed a photo exhibition of the past 20 years and vintage copies of the former journal Not the Planning News. Others preferred the puppet show and the Bob the Builder playset.

Representing local authorities, the Planning Inspectorate, the private sector, academia and an environmental charity, our employers represent the diverse nature of all those involved in planning today. The event threw down a serious challenge to the next generation of planners: have fun.