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Ben-Gurion University
[Ben Gurion U, Geography] Oren Yiftachel lectures about Israel's colonialism this week in Belfast


Planners map sustainable future at Queen's University
Posted in: Science Conferences Queen's University Belfast 
 Jonathan Porritt CBE, Chairman of the UK Sustainable Development
Commission, will speak at Queen’s University Belfast this week as part of the largest planning research conference in the UK and Ireland.

As the ten year anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement approaches, Belfast’s transformed built-environment will play host to 160 of the world’s leading planning experts at the UK-Ireland Planning Research Conference; including delegates from countries as diverse as Brazil, Australia and China.

Hosted by the School of Planning, Architecture and Civil Engineering at Queen’s, the experts will gather from today to Thursday (18 to 20 March), to discuss all aspects of planning research, but with a special focus on Sustainability, Space and Social Justice.

Study tours of Belfast have been arranged, to include a tour facilitated by the Northern Ireland Housing Executive, demonstrating the difficulties of providing social housing in a divided city.

Areas of discussion will include rural planning, the countryside and wildlife; inclusion, diversity and social justice; urban and rural design and the built heritage; planning, accessibility and transportation; governance, policy and spatial planning and urban and rural regeneration.

Jonathan Porritt will be speaking on the topic of Using Sound Science Responsibly: Are we? Founder Director of the Forum of the Future and Co-Director of The Prince of Wales’s Business and Environment Programme, he was awarded an honorary degree from Queen’s for distinction in
sustainable development in 2006.

Joining Jonathan Porritt as keynote speakers will be three other distinguished academics:
Susan Owens OBE, Professor of Environment and Policy at the University of Cambridge on Planning, democracy and public policy; Professor Julian Agyeman, Tufts University, Boston on Towards Just Sustainabilities and Professor Oren Yiftachel, from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Israel on Planning and ‘Gray Space’: policy, colonialism and urban change.

Professor David Cleland, Head of the School of Planning, Architecture and Civil Engineering at Queen’s said: “Queen’s is privileged to host such a prestigious event. This high profile conference underlines the value of a robust spatial planning system. Planning is about more than PPS14, gaining permission for porches or mediating local development disputes. The whole area has the potential to help shape the future and develop a more sustainable, prosperous and just society for everyone.”

Organiser of the conference, Dr Geraint Ellis, Senior Lecturer in the School of Planning, Architecture and Civil Engineering at Queen’s added: “The arrival of this conference in Northern Ireland is particularly timely. Ten years on from the Good Friday Agreement, Belfast has been reborn but we are now challenged with healing the scars still perceptible in the city’s built environment and deprived communities. These issues have posed considerable challenges for spatial planning, and the topic has never been far away from the headlines in recent months.

“We are also aware of the key challenges we face as a global community, particularly climate change. Sustainable development offers the key solution for tackling this, but we must think beyond just environmental concerns and also address social injustice concerns.”

Further information on the conference can be found at

For media enquiries please contact: Lisa Mitchell, Press Officer, +44 (0)28 9097 5384, Mob: 07814 422 572, lisa.mitchell@qub.ac.uk





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