07 Aug 2017

The Royal Agricultural University (RAU) is thrilled to be shortlisted for an Academic Award at the Royal Town Planning Institute’s (RTPI) Awards for Research Excellence 2017 for its ‘Viability in the Planning System’ research, conducted in a consortium with the University of Reading, University of Kingston, and Ramidus Consulting.

The RAU was the lead contractor for the research, commissioned by a consortium of London Boroughs, which investigated the relationship between planning policy, notably in relation to viability assessments, land values, and the provision of affordable housing in London. It illustrated why the viability testing process is flawed and is working against planning intentions, resulting in reduced provision of affordable housing.

Since its publication in January, the report has been used in evidence within planning appeal cases and to inform discussions in the London Assembly, and is helping to counter the trend of reducing affordable housing provision in London.

The Awards for Research Excellence recognise and promote high quality, impactful spatial planning research from RTPI accredited planning schools, and planning consultancies around the world.

Professor Sarah Sayce, Professor of Sustainable Real Estate at the RAU, was the lead investigator. She said: “It is wonderful to be named a finalist for the Academic Award, as it brings greater recognition to an important issue. The notion of viability testing may be worthy, but it has resulted in planning and policy and land appraisal colliding in ways that have not produced optimal social outcomes. If our work can start a process of change, then it has been successful – not just for us as researchers, but for our communities.”

The winners will be announced on Tuesday 12 September during the 2017 UK-Ireland Planning Research Conference at Queen’s University Belfast.

Led by Professor Ali Parsa, the Centre of Real Estate at RAU has a number of very active researchers, most of whom have a particular interest in aspects of sustainability. Current research interests include global smart cities, modelling economic property cycles, the impact of energy efficiency on residential property, and professional ethics.