Think differently artwork
50 Shades of Planning

Think differently

  • E64
  • 1:13:35
  • March 21st 2022

When we think of diversity, and the awareness and inclusion in public life of people of different identities, we perhaps instinctively think of ethnicity, sexuality and age. We perhaps do not think instinctively of neurodiversity. Sam Stafford's youngest boy’s school, for example, had made space in the calendar to raise awareness of ethnicity, sexuality and age discrimination, but not, until it was pointed out, neurodiversity. This despite the fact that around 1 in 7 people in the UK are neurodivergent.

Neurodiversity, for anybody unfamiliar with the term, is the diversity of all human brains, which includes those with Dyslexia, Autism, ADHD, Dyspraxia and other neurological conditions. The movement is centred around the principle that there is no “normal” or “right” type of brain.

This is manifestly important to planning because a system cannot be considered effective if it is not engaging with, and working for, 15% of the population. This means that we need to talk about neurodiversity within the profession and within the workplace; we need to talk about engaging the neurodiverse in planning; and we need to talk about designing and delivering for the neurodiverse.

Sam discusses these three themes in this episode with Keeley Mitchell (Trainee Planning Officer at Dacorum Council), Krystian Groom (Associate Director at BECG), Jenny Offord (Senior Planning & Enabling Manager at Homes England) and Atefeh Motamedi (Strategic Planner at Atkins).

The Neurodiversity in Planning group, which is mentioned throughout this episode, can be contacted via LinkedIn (https://www.linkedin.com/groups/13908485/) or [email protected].

Some accompanying reading.

'Why planning should be more neurodiverse' by Layla Vidal-Martin

https://www.rtpi.org.uk/blog/2021/april/why-planning-should-be-more-neurodiverse/

BECG’s Neurodiversity in Planning Toolkit

https://becg.com/neurodiversity-in-planning-toolkit-launched/

'Why is housing for people with autism a failure?' by Deborah Smith

https://www.placenorthwest.co.uk/insight/why-is-housing-for-people-with-autism-a-failure/#utm_source=Place+North+West&utm_campaign=INSIGHT___Latest_expert_tips___2021-07-30&utm_medium=email

'How cities can be redesigned for neurodiversity' by Elissaveta M Brandon

https://www.fastcompany.com/90662691/how-cities-can-be-redesigned-for-neurodiversity

First building design standard for sensory and neurological needs – BSI

https://www.bsigroup.com/en-GB/about-bsi/media-centre/press-releases/2020/october/project-launch-first-building-design-standard-for-sensory-and-neurological-needs/

'Planning with Autism in Mind: A Six Feelings Framework' by Kyle Ezell

https://www.planning.org/blog/blogpost/9155086/

The Autism ASPECTSS Design Index

https://www.autism.archi/aspectss

'14 Patterns of Biophilic Design' by Terrapin Bright Green

https://www.terrapinbrightgreen.com/reports/14-patterns/

Some accompanying viewing.

RTPI Webinar Part 1. Designing for Neurodiversity - Autism Friendly Environments

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cO3X1P4zYmc

RTPI Webinar Part 2. Engagement

https://www.bigmarker.com/rtpi-enterprise/Neurodiversity-in-Planning-Part-2-5c89d09112d3a1fe69ebe8d4

Paddy & Christine McGuiness – Our Family and Autism

https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m00122vl

Some accompanying listening.

Wu Tang Clan – Think Differently (Instrumental)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QxAT7W8i03k

50 Shades T-Shirts!

If you have listened to Episode 45 of the 50 Shades of Planning Podcast you will have heard Clive Betts say that...

'In the Netherlands planning is seen as part of the solution. In the UK, too often, planning is seen as part of the problem'.

Sam said in reply that that would look good on a t-shirt and it does. Further details can be found here: http://samuelstafford.blogspot.com/2021/07/50-shades-of-planning-t-shirts.html

50 Shades of Planning

Sam Stafford started posting on the 50 Shades of Planning blog in 2012 and in 2019 turned it into a podcast. 50 Shades of Planning is about the foibles of the English planning system and it's aim is to cover the breadth of the sector both in terms of topics of conversation and in terms of guests with different experiences and perspectives.

50 Shades episodes include 'Hitting The High Notes', which is a series of conversations with leading planning and property figures. The conversations take in the six milestone planning permissions or projects within a contributor’s career and for every project guests are invited to choose a piece of music that they were listening to at that time. Think Desert Island Discs, but for planners. If you would like to feature on 'Hitting The High Notes', or know somebody that would make a great guest, please email [email protected].

If you have listened to Episode 45 of the 50 Shades of Planning Podcast you will have heard Clive Betts say that...

'In the Netherlands planning is seen as part of the solution. In the UK, too often, planning is seen as part of the problem'.

Sam said in reply that that would look good on a t-shirt and it does. Further details can be found here: http://samuelstafford.blogspot.com/2021/07/50-shades-of-planning-t-shirts.html

Sam is on Bluesky (@samuelstafford.bsky.social) and Instagram (@samuel__stafford), and his blogs can be found here: http://samuelstafford.blogspot.com.

As with the 50 Shades Blog, the 50 Shades Podcast is a platform for Sam's personal opinions, which may or may not represent the opinions of his past, present or future employers.

50 Shades of Planning is produced in association with Cavendish (www.cavendishconsulting.com).

The image of the Piece Hall is used with the kind permission Ellis Robinson (I: @ellisjrobinson) and has been turned into the 50 Shades logo by Vicky Payne (I: @_.vicky_payne._).

Why Fifty Shades? Well, planning is not a black and white endeavour. There are at least fifty shades in between...

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