Wisdom, with Rob Burns artwork
The Start of Something... The Planit Podcast

Wisdom, with Rob Burns

  • E3
  • 31:18
  • August 14th 2023

In this month’s edition we speak to the man known within Planit simply as ‘Uncle Rob’.  

From discovering antiquities in Libya to helping Wirral Council prepare the recent World Heritage application for Birkenhead Park, Rob Burns is a true polymath. 

Trained originally as an archaeologist, moving into historic buildings through his time at English Heritage, then helping guide the transformation of Liverpool city centre through Liverpool One and Mann Island, Rob has left his mark in many ways and many forms, but never credited as ‘the designer’. 

Latterly in his career, as leading on Heritage and Urban Design for Liverpool City Council, to now operating as a consultant, he brings a unique perspective on change and development, one we have embraced and woven into our work. We collaborate so closely, so regularly, Rob even has a Planit CV! 

You will hear him talk poetically about history, progress, the psychology, and character of place – giving some golden quotes, in particular about the difference between Urban Designers and Architects.  

 As we have grown, so Rob has worked alongside us, not just to collaborate on project work, but to listen to and mentor our team, inputting to bids and pitches for projects across the UK. 

He is, to us, the ‘Obi-wan Kenobi’ of city-shaping and we hope you enjoy listening to just a few of his stories of how he has worked and why we consider his greatest contribution to Planit to be him sharing his immense wisdom. 


Created by Planit, produced by Goldbean Studios.

See podcast.co/privacy for privacy information.

The Start of Something... The Planit Podcast

Welcome to the Planit podcast. We are landscape architects, urban designers, visualisers and community engagement specialists.

This year we turn 25 and wanted to celebrate what we’ve learnt – our successes and our failings – and hear stories from key people we’ve met along the journey.

The podcast name shares a title with Planit’s new book, ‘The Start of Something...’.

Its content reflects the way we look at our work and the part we can play in fixing the world around us. 

We don’t ‘finish’ places when a project of ours completes. It marks the beginning of something. We will always be ‘starters’, committed to the craft of change and movement towards regenerative practice; despite our projects taking years or decades to realise and mature. We have a saying that gets used in our work: ‘Plan for the life of an Oak tree’.

The Start of Something series speaks to everyone interested in positive change, generous leadership and, through business, the drive to leave the world better than we found it.

In each episode, we’ll introduce you to some great thinkers, creators, and leaders.

We have completed the first year of content – thanks to those people who feature in the book.

Tune in every month to find out more, and head over to our website, planit-ie.com, where you can find our news, discover our team, and learn why we do what we do.


Created by Planit, produced by Goldbean Studios.

See podcast.co/privacy for privacy information.

Meet the Host

Pete Swift avatar
Pete Swift
Co-Founder, Planit

I am one of the three founding Directors of Planit. Proud Joint MD with my fellow founder Ed Lister and member of the B Corp Climate Collective - committed to the accelerated journey to Net Zero by 2030.

I’m a Landscape Architect operating as an Urban Designer and spending my days across all our studios, sharing wisdom and experience with all members of the 80 strong Planit-IE team.

I oversee a select number of our major projects through the early stages up to planning approval, and I am frequently involved in funding and grant bid preparation and submission.

Large or small scale, like all of Planit’s team, I hope my enthusiasm and drive is infectious!

I am currently leading our team as ‘Masterplan Guardian’ for Peel L&P’s £5bn Liverpool Waters project and working as part of a growing team for Manchester’s Victoria North and the delivery of our City River Park.

I’m a member of the Liverpool Combined Authority Built Environment Board, a B Corp Ambassador and avid long-distance cyclist.

Specialties: Urban Design & Masterplanning; Community Engagement; Expert Witness; Landscape Management & Stewardship; Design Review. B Corp Governance