Could the Royal Town Planning Institute have contributed to the shortage of qualified planners?

It seems that many people have postgraduate qualifications, for example in housing or regeneration. In some cases this leads to chartered status.

But these bits of paper, along with the considerable practical experience that these people can offer, seem to be worthless to the RTPI. You only seem to be part of the “in crowd” if you have done an MA or MSc that carries a specialist recognition. These qualifications are from the same universities that validate planning courses for the RTPI.

We need to expand our skills base and move away from the old attitudes. We need people with hands-on experience to meet the challenges of the 21st century. The leading universities make a great deal of money from courses and have the most to gain from the current closed shop of the RTPI, despite the poor quality of teaching.

Clearly the defenders of the status quo will see me and my friends as heretics but we are the ones writing the cheques. It would be useful to have an open debate on our future.

Mike Davies