RTPI awards Research Excellence Award to Christine Whitehead and colleagues for their book, Planning Gain: Providing Infrastructure and Affordable Housing


The Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) have awarded the Excellence in Planning Research award to Tony Crook, John Henneberry, and Christine Whitehead for their work on the book, Planning Gain: Providing Infrastructure & Affordable Housing.

The book draws on research undertaken by the authors over the last two decades and examines critically the development and implementation of planning obligations (planning gain) mainly in a British context but also drawing on experience from other developed countries. Planning obligations require developers to contribute towards infrastructure, affordable housing, and other community facilities. In England this policy has been a major source of funding (£5bn in 2007-08 alone). Planning Gain examines the rationale for planning gain; the history of policies  to ‘tax’ the increases in land values that come from granting permission; the specifics of section 106; the actual impact of the funds for infrastructure and affordable housing; and the possibilities of continuing this policy. The authors also draw from overseas experience; (namely: Australia, Germany, The Netherlands, and the United States), to bring out what works and what needs improvement. This research suggests that negotiated solutions based on local plans have, against the odds, been more effective in raising funds for planning authorities than nationally imposed taxes – at least in rising markets.

The RTPI Awards for Research Excellence recognise and promote high quality, impactful spatial planning research from RTPI accredited planning schools, and planning consultancies, in the UK, the Republic of Ireland and internationally. In this case, the schools include scholars from the University of Sheffield, The London School of Economics and Political Science, and University of Cambridge.

Professor Christine Whitehead, Professor Emeritus of Housing Economics at LSE and lead researcher of LSE London, said: “It has been great—and quite unusual—for colleagues from different universities to work together and develop their ideas over a decade or more.”

Policy makers, analysts, and academics would benefit from the in-depth and longitudinal research of planning obligations this book provides. The book identifies aspects of planning gain that may be of benefit to other countries while noting that the geographic context is particularly important in how these aspects are implemented.

The book is available here through Wiley.



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