Sir Terry Farrell CBE has called on the planning profession to embrace the opportunities presented by the continuing technology revolution.
Speaking at a ceremony at which he became only the 15th person in more than a century to be awarded the RTPI’s Gold Medal, the architect, planner and urban designer said emerging technologies were set to “transform” the planning profession.
”We may get to the point where we don’t have planning committees,” said Sir Terry, “instead having decisions on planning applications made through the equivalent of game simulators where you can press a button to decide yes or no.”
“I also think that 10 years from now, automated vehicles will be affecting city making in a huge way as they will require far fewer car parking places, lanes for traffic and so on.”
Talking about building information modelling and collaborative information technology in general, Sir Terry called the 21st century “the century of city making”, suggesting that planning would benefit from the wider pool of people becoming involved in decision-making.
“These are extraordinarily exciting times for any involvement in city planning,” said Sir Terry, “and I think town planning is at the core of that.”
Sir Terry also used his address to suggest that more should be done to credit all the individuals involved in the design of a building or a space.
“It’s unfair that a building is seen as solely the work of this or that architect,” said Sir Terry. “There tends to be an over-exaggeration of the individual and I think that’s not right. People need to shout more about what they do; it would be better if buildings had a role of honour like film credits.”
The Gold Medal was presented to Sir Terry at the Great North Museum in Newcastle. He called his receipt of the RTPI’s Gold Medal a great honour. “There’s an awful lot of proactive planning going on and I think the RPTI should be celebrating it more. My receiving of the Gold Medal is hopefully a return to a restating of planning’s value. I think planning is a great way to spend one’s life.”