Environmental planning student wins £4000 prize

Published: 5 January 2007 at 10:45

Anglia Ruskin environmental planning student Shelley Blackaby is celebrating her recent win of a prestigious post graduate student sponsorship competition.

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Sponsors IDOX plc, owners and operators of the UKPlanning Managed Service, launched the competition to select an outstanding student from a RTPI (Royal Town Planning Institute) accredited course. The prize, one year’s membership of the IDOX information service and £4000 towards education and living costs, was awarded to Shelley who is now in the fourth year of her planning studies for her essay on public participation in the UK planning system.

The essay, entitled ‘Assess the potential of the internet as a tool to revolutionise public participation in the UK planning system’ recognises the benefits and shortfalls of using the Internet to replace traditional consultation events.

Shelley’s essay analyses the government’s proposals for e-planning and concludes that it has the potential for revolutionising the participation in planning but that it just not be at the expense of traditional methods.

Shelley (23) is studying for a post graduate Diploma in Environmental Planning, one of the two routes available to students who want to hold the much-acclaimed RTPI town planning qualification. The RTPI is a dynamic organisation leading the way in the creation of places that work now and in the future.

“We have been delighted with the response to our competition, which was open to all post-graduate planners undertaking an RTPI accredited course within the UK”

said IDOX Information Service Director, Tony Burton.


“Our aim was to stimulate creative thinking about the opportunities the internet offers for the future of planning services. Fifteen planning schools from across the country submitted entries, and the competition essays have made very interesting reading for us. Shelley Blackaby is a deserving winner, and it is my pleasure to award her this marvelous prize.”

Said Dr Matthias Hardinghaus, Course Leader of the MSc/PGDip in  Environmental Planning at Anglia Ruskin University:

“We are very pleased for Shelley. She is an outstanding student and this is wonderful news for her.”

“The Internet is an extremely powerful tool and has many implications in terms of the way the planning sector will work in the future. What Shelley identified in her essay is that it does have its limitations but it is something that the planners of the future need to work into their ideas for improving the way we shape the places in which we live and work."

"There is currently a shortage of town planners for the ever increasing number of urban regeneration projects, a problem which we are currently trying to address by attracting more students to our courses, such as the Honours and Foundation Degrees in planning. Competitions like this one can only help to raise the profile of planning and create additional interest in the various careers based on the subject."

Shelley is a member of the RTPI Young Planners Network which actively encourages individuals to join the planning system.

A growing number of Planning students at Anglia Ruskin University work in placements in the county, many with Essex County Council. Graduates are often recruited direct from the University as a result of this relationship.

Information about entry to the undergraduate BSc Environmental Planning pathway can be obtained from Bernard Bourdillon on 0845 196 3464 or via b.bourdillon@anglia.ac.uk, and for the postgraduate MSc Town Planning pathway from Ann Hockey, 0845 196 3339 or a.e.hockey@anglia.ac.uk or visit www.anglia.ac.uk