The last twelve months have seen two important changes in my life. First after more than 30 years as Editor of Progress in Planning I have retired and handed this interesting and challenging task on to Professor Michael Hebbert now at the University of Manchester. However it remains connected with Planning Studies at LSE because as many of you know M.H. succeeded me as the person in change of Planning Studies. I know 'my journal' is in good hands and that M.H. Will be glad to consider material from Ph.Ds completed in the Planning Studies programme at LSE.
The second change is a totally successful hip-replacement operation which means I can now continue to walk the M.Sc. Annual intakes round the planning successes and failures in London. However as it is now a whole decade since I formally retired from LSE I really feel that it is time to bring to an end this annual message.
Best wishes to all associated with the Planning Studies programme - past, present and future.
Michael Hebbert mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org
Michael Hebbert (Lecturer 1979-1994) looks forward to receiving your correspondence and contributions to the Elsevier journal 'Progress in Planning' which he inherited from Derek Diamond and now co-edits with Tom Clark of the University of Colorado at Denver. He is also involved in a great academic adventure at the University of Manchester where city planning, architecture, geography and international development have combined to create a School of Environment and Development in a brand new building designed to make the most of this great mix of disciplines.
"I took up the post of Director of Urban Policy at the ODPM (UK Office of the Deputy Prime Minister) in July 2005. I am very pleased to be working in Government at an exciting time for UK urban policy. Cities are increasingly seen by government as a resource and as an economic driver rather than as a series of separate issues. The focus on the 'urban renaissance' of the last few years is being complemented by a better understanding of the importance of cities' economic role, as well as a continuing commitment to social inclusion and neighbourhood renewal."
For me a major feature of the last year was the publication of my book (with Peter Newman) titled 'Planning World Cities: Globalization and Urban Politics', Palgrave/Macmillan. It looks at the way that the major cities of the world have been transformed in recent years. It suggests that new developments such as city centres, airports and waterfronts give the appearance of similar responses to globalization. However globalization is not an inevitable force and scope for variation exits with urban politics and planning strategies open to a degree of local control. Most of you will find the material on London and New York familiar from SA4A3 lectures and Peter and I are very grateful to you all for the stimulus and ideas we gained from our seminars together. The book extends these arguments into Asian cities covering Tokyo, Shanghai, Hong Kong and Singapore.
In January 2005 I undertook a fascinating trip to China. I was invited by the Urban Planning Society of China to join a five-person (three practitioners and two academics) delegation. This was organised and funded by the British Council. The purpose of the delegation was to provide advice to Chinese Municipalities on urban regeneration. Visits were made to talk to planners in Harbin, Chongqing and Guangzhou and a meeting was held in Beijing with delegates from cities across the country. An academic conference was also organised and we advised University representatives on the development of their planning courses.
At the end of last year I went on another interesting trip - this time to Turkey. I contributed to an international Conference and was invited to give ideas to the Mayor of Kucukcekmece District. This part of Istanbul has many squatter settlers but is under development pressure as the location of the international airport, Olympic bid development, and motorway access to Europe. An interesting case of the clash between local and global interests.
Christine Whitehead made an extremely interesting trip to Australia in May/ June 2005. One of the main reasons for going was to act a keynote speaker for their National Affordable Housing Conference run in Darling Harbour - a regeneration area which has now become a major leisure location. Not that the conference was at all leisurely - I gave 4 papers in two days plus trips to see different types of development. Another reason for the trip was to work with Judy Yates at Sydney University on issues of housing finance and particularly the development of intermediate tenures - which has so far produced one journal article comparing the UK and Australian finance systems and a conference paper given at the ENHR conference in Reykjavik on shared equity. As always in Australia, the debates were about house prices and the lack of housing for the poorest on the one hand and meeting environmental and sustainability targets on the other. In this context there was much interest in using land use planning to generate land and finance for affordable housing as well as mixed communities which could achieve environmental benefits.
As side trips, Christine was able to visit Dubai - a building site with traffic jams, and beeches; South Korea - another building site with traffic jams but really interesting housing issues; and New Zealand where most of the interest was again on intermediate tenures but also on whether the young really want to become owner-occupiers. In between whiles quite a lot of research and writing got done so it was a most productive and valuable few weeks.