With the country recovering from a pandemic and experiencing a cost-of-living crisis, there are increasing concerns about the future young people are facing with inequalities that persist in today's society. It is vital that attention is drawn towards combatting issues that arise for not only young people, but the population as a whole.
The Levelling Up Agenda has been put forward to solve this issue. Unveiled in February 2022, the document sets out a plan to transform the UK by spreading opportunity to all parts of it, aiming to combat geographic inequalities. Place plays a vital role in addressing these socioeconomic issues at the micro level, with Planning being at the forefront.
Recently, the urban policy research unit , Centre for Cities hosted the seminar ‘Unequal futures: addressing poverty, health and inequality for young people’. The seminar was led by Andrew Carter, Chief Executive of Centre for Cities, with contributions made by other experts in the field.
Many concerns were raised for young people regarding the planning system and how it could help address the problems they face now and in the future. Links between poverty, poor health outcomes, and economic inactivity in young people were explored in the seminar discussion, themes that are key for the planning and wider property sectors to consider in the decisions they make.
Inequality should not only be measured by physical health, which although important, does not consider levels of happiness or self-worth that contribute to economic inactivity.
The Levelling Up agenda was discussed as a possibility to help deliver opportunities for young people in need.
Jess Nicholson, a member of LSH’s PR+I team in attendance at the seminar, stated, “place plays a vital role in addressing inequalities at the microscale and local level, which the Levelling Up agenda seeks to readdress. If people feel their opinions are valued, they are likely to have a greater sense of place and worth”.
The planning system should continually place a focus on the importance of local people and opinions, promoting the development of open and physical spaces where all communities, including the younger generation, can be made to feel safe, valued, and happy.
Jess confirmed “the planning sector should be placed at the forefront of driving solutions for inequality throughout different community groups”.
The consultation on the NPPF considered a wide variety of planning issues and considerations, including planning for climate change objectives and other increasingly important issues.
It is imperative that Local Planning Authorities understand the underlying issues that affect wider socio-economic considerations for local people in their areas, to begin making an impact on addressing healthcare issues, mental health problems, and economic inactivity in all age groups.
At LSH, our Planning, Regeneration + Infrastructure (PR+I) team have made representations to proposed updates to the National Planning Policy and Guidance. We provide advice to our clients throughout the country to ensure that planning policies are supported by a robust evidence base, which can impact the socio-economic conditions of an area and continue to promote development with regeneration projects to achieve these aims.
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