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Austin Williams All Planned Out? - The Worldwide Impact of the British Town and Country Planning System
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All Planned Out?
The Worldwide Impact of the British Town and Country Planning System

18 and 19 May 2007

Austin Williams

Austin is Director of The Future Cities Project, and at the NBS is the author of Shortcuts: Essential guides for building designers.

He is critical of the implications of sustainability on the built environment, and the parochial politics of transport; primarily he questions the culture of low horizons and advocates increased infrastructural provision.

An architect and project manager by profession, he is also a regular columnist with the Daily Telegraph, and is an architecture critic with BBC London’s Robert Elms’ Show.

Austin was the co-ordinator of the Future of Community festival, and is the originator and organiser of the Bookshop Barnies.

Austin is co-author of The Macro World of Micro Cars, (2004) and is author of the forthcoming book Enemies of Progress. (2008)

He has written for a range of publications, including The Times Literary Supplement, Times Higher Educational Supplement, Top Gear, New Humanist, Blueprint magazine, the Architects' Journal, Building Design, spiked-online, and the Municipal Journal.

Website: www.futurecities.org.uk

e-mail: Austin.Williams@theNBS.com

click here for The Future Cities Project

14.00 to 15.30 on Friday 18 May 2007

What does it mean when planners try to reduce the need to travel?

Summary

The cost of congestion in the UK is said to represent a loss to the economy of around £20 billion a year, while the European Commission considers that the figure is even higher. But as one early academic report put it, "… if all vehicles were able to reach free flow speed on all roads at all times there would be a tremendously costly over-provision of road space."

So perhaps congestion is just a natural consequence of realistic transport provision? Unhelpfully, assessments of "congestion" now factor in ethereal "social costs", such as the monetary effect of poor employee performance caused by stress after being stuck in traffic, or various "environmental harms".

While the delay to business freight and delivery vehicles certainly has a genuine and direct cost implication, the notion that cars are responsible for slowing down the competitiveness of British industry is a hugely misanthropic and corrosive concept.

This presentation will explore the increasingly bureaucratic response to transport and congestion, criticising the mantra that the answer lies in reducing the need to travel.

What does it mean when planners try to reduce the need to travel?

More to follow shortly...

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