Earlier this week I was honoured to receive the OBE for services to planning, at an investiture at Buckingham Palace.
The award of the OBE was made in the Birthday Honours list in June 2016. The investiture ceremony that I attended was held at Buckingham Palace, and the award was presented by Prince William. You have a short chat as you received the medal, and so I was able to make reference to the fact that like the Prince, I have a degree in Geography. We talked about planning and he commented that I did a lot of work internationally. So I was able to mention the work that the Commonwealth Association of Planners has done,and the importance of planning if urbanisation is to be managed in more sustainable ways.
I am honoured to receive the award, but I realise that whatever I have achieved has depended on the contributions of many others – from my parents, through my school teachers, some inspiring academics, my wife and family, supportive work colleagues, and then more directly over the past 20 years those who supported and took forward the message of the Commonwealth Association of Planners, “No sustainable development without sustainable urbanisation, and no sustainable urbanisation without effective and pro-poor planning”. In particular I would thank Robert Upton, who as Secretary-General of the Royal Town Planning Institute, backed CAP when it might have gone out of existence in 1999-2000; Judith Eversley, who as RTPI International Officer, was a great talent and support; Annette O’Donnell, who provided the competent administration that made CAP reliable and efficient; Christine Platt, who took CAP to a new level when she succeeded me as President in 2006; and Clive Harridge who has been Secretary-General since 2010 and has sustained my links with CAP ever since. The list of others who deserve a mention is too long to set out, but as well as CAP and the RTPI and the Commonwealth Foundation, it would encompass people in the other institutions I have been involved with such as ESPON, BEFS and PAS. Underpinning it all are those from earller generations who recognised the importance to all our lives of the places where we live, believed in making a better world for my and subsequent generations, and built a welfare state in post-1945 Britain.
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