UWE Bristol's Janet Askew becomes RTPI President

Issue date: 19 January 2015

Janet Askew speaking at her inauguration

Janet Askew, Director of Academic Engagement and Enhancement at UWE Bristol, has been inaugurated as President of the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) for 2015 at a ceremony in central London.

Janet takes over from outgoing President and UWE Bristol graduate, Cath Ranson.

The RTPI is the UK's leading professional body for spatial, sustainable and inclusive planning and is the largest planning institute in Europe with over 23,000 members.

In her inaugural speech, Janet emphasised how vital it is to continue to promote the positive benefits of planning and also highlighted the contribution planning and planners can make to addressing social inequalities. She outlined three key opportunities to promote planning: through education, through community planning, and internationally.

Addressing students and young planners, Janet Askew said, “Be radical in your ideas, like the earliest and most successful planners of 100 years ago. You are the policy makers of the future and you don't need to follow the status quo but challenge it. The future of planning is in the hands of the young planners, and we must do all we can to make planning an attractive career option for potential students.”

Janet's speech is available to view, in full, on You Tube.

Last year, speaking ahead of her appointment, Janet said, “To be president in the year of a general election offers great opportunities to join in political debates about the future of the country. Locally, Bristol will hold the title of Green Capital in 2015, and with the elected mayor passionate about promoting ideas for a better quality of life through better planning, I hope that there will be opportunities to put UWE Bristol at the centre of some of these debates during my time as President.”

There have been 101 presidents of the RTPI and Janet Askew is the sixth woman to hold the position. UWE Bristol has produced three presidents of the RTPI, of which Janet Askew is the third, reflecting its importance as a planning academy.

Janet Askew is currently the Director of Academic Engagement in the Faculty of Environment and Technology at the University of the West of England, Bristol. During her forty year career in planning, following graduation from the University of Wales, she has worked for Shetland Islands Council, various private consultancies in London and Bristol, and latterly as the Head of Planning and Architecture at the University. She was a member of the QAA Town and Country Planning Benchmarking Committee. She is a regular visitor to the National Cheng Kung University in Taiwan, where she works in the Department of Urban Planning.

Janet chaired the Development Management Network for many years and has contributed to the Education and Lifelong Learning Committee.

Find out more about studying at UWE Bristol, see: Department of Geography and Environmental Management

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