Sir Terry Farrell, who was awarded the RTPI Gold Medal last month, has called for a return to a more “physical and creative” approach to planning to chart a new era in city making.
In an interview with PropertyWeek (paywall) published last week, Sir Terry said the Gold Medal represents to him “a return after 40 to 50 years to the proactive, physical side of planning”.
Sir Terry said: “Around the late 1970s, planning retreated into only a part of its potential, which was more to do with development control and reacting to other people’s ideas. In the minds of most people, that is what planning has become. I don’t want to denigrate them because there are excellent people in development control, but if you plan a holiday or plan a shopping trip you actually set about as the originator of how you go about it - ‘to plan’ means something.”
As an architect, planner and urban designer, Sir Terry has practiced what he preaches in many different ways, having been involved in masterplanning for voluntary, public and private sectors.
He singled out the masterplanning of the quayside in Newcastle to be a career highlight.
He continued: “Now, I do see a change. That was partly expressed in the RTPI giving me, an architect-planner, the Gold Medal. I think it’s going in a better direction in that the private sector and voluntary sectors are recognised.
“I think there is a reintegration going on. I hope the Gold Medal will be a recognition of where things are going and what should be happening.
“I’m going to build on it because city-making is the biggest business in the world...It’s a very interesting time because we are coming to grips with the complexity of city-making. I’m hoping that this is the start of a new era of better understanding the processes that go into city-making and a recognition that it’s got to be physical and creative.”
Stephen Wilkinson, RTPI President, said: “Sir Terry has a deep passion and understanding for places and people and has successfully demonstrated that in his work throughout his career. He is one of the few top practitioners who has truly embraced architecture, urban design and planning in a holistic vision and so vitally helped to advance integrated thinking among these disciplines.
“I am delighted that we are recognising his enormous contribution to place-making and the planning profession, and the way he has transformed some of our cities and made them better places.”
The Gold Medal will be presented to Sir Terry at a ceremony in Newcastle in the autumn.