Tear up the blueprints: Planning and funding Tomorrow’s City

By 2050, nearly 70% of the global population will live in cities. By then, Atkins estimates there will be a shortfall of 1.5m homes in London and the South East alone. Meanwhile, modern working methods – fuelled by digitalisation, big data and technological disruption – are radically impacting on the traditional notion of work/home life.

But does our current system of rules, regulations and financial norms hamper our ability to meet this new and evolving need?

Key themes from the debate were:

  • Decision making – should strategic placemaking decisions be made in the public or private sector? Currently decisions are made by large private institutions following viability assessments. Cuts in local government funding have created ‘planning by numbers’ approach. Decision making at micro level makes schemes vulnerable. Strategic intervention by a strategic authority is needed. Who should it be?
  • Digitisation and automation – an urgent need for digitisation of the planning system and use of automation in the construction process. Increasing interest in property from tech industry players may accelerate digitisation timescales. Investment in modern methods of construction (MMC) is key. MMC will deliver more homes, quicker and help reach targets.
  • Planning data – huge scope to improve data and increase opportunities for data analytics. Good data will bring more informed decisions and wider benefits. Data analytics software is likely to cost less than consultants, freeing up time for consultants to use their expertise.
  • Funding – the current regulatory framework for lending is restricting investment. Only the best deals get through. New funding structures and legal precedents are needed to enable change. Who takes the risk in making the changes which are needed? A role for lenders and lawyers in driving improvements in the process.

Our straw poll result: the majority thought the planning system was the biggest barrier to solving the housing crisis in London and the South East. The challenge for the property industry is to implement the changes which are needed.


  • Victoria Hills, Chief Executive Officer at Old Oak & Park Royal Development Corporation, and incoming Chief Executive of the RTPI
  • Peter Cosmetatos, CEO at Commercial Real Estate Finance Council Europe




Event Details

Date: Thursday 22 March 2018