What the Town and Country Planning Association does is important. As you would expect, I am a firm believer in that. But, I also believe that we haven’t always been good enough at explaining what we do and why our work is important to new potential members, funders and partners. This was part of the motivation behind us developing our new strategy, Working to secure homes, places and communities where everyone can thrive, which I am delighted we have published this month.
The TCPA is rightly very proud of its heritage. Our founders worked to transform the way that places were created and aimed to build beautifully designed and sustainable places for everyone. Achieving social justice was the driving ambition of the Garden City movement and it remains central to our work today.
The strategy sets out that our vision is for ‘homes, places and communities in which everyone can thrive’. And our role in that is to challenge, inspire and support people to create healthy, sustainable and resilient places that are fair for everyone.
That is, of course, a substantial task! So for 2021 to 2025 we have set out that our strategic priorities, which are informed by our heritage and, therefore, the Garden City Principles, are to:
- Work to secure a good home for everyone in inclusive, resilient and prosperous communities, which support people to live healthier lives.
- Empower people to have real influence over decisions about their environments and to secure social justice within and between communities.
- Support new and transform existing places to be adaptable to current and future challenges including the climate crisis.
The aim of developing and publishing this strategy wasn’t to radically alter the work of the TCPA. It was more about being clearer about what we do and why. About what difference we are trying to make and what success will look like. About the fact we are trying to make people’s lives better. The strategy does, however, set out that to achieve the differences we want to over this five year period we want to work more directly with community groups and individuals, in order to empower them to influence the world around them. We will need to develop new projects and secure new sources of funding to enable us to do that. And look to develop new partnerships.
We worked to develop this strategy during a time of great uncertainty. But also at a time when the COVID pandemic has meant that many people have appreciated far more the importance of the quality of their home and their local environment. I hope people will read it with interest. As it sets out, how well we plan, design and create new places and regenerate existing ones will help or hinder work to tackle health inequalities, climate change, and the economic resilience of places. The impact of places on people’s lives means that the importance of the work of the Town and Country Planning Association is higher than ever.
Photo by Markus Spiske