The Power of Plans podcasts - Shenzhen, Dublin and New York

Ian Wray & Lucy Natarajan
30 Aug 2023

Following our Special Issue on the ‘Power of Plans’, we’re sharing a mini-series of podcasts. Commissioning an international set of case studies on plans that have been shown to work, we had asked authors to give us their insights on how they worked and why. The resulting case studies were showcased in issue 48(4) of Built Environment in 2022, and we now also have a  companion 'mini-series' of podcasts.

 In three episodes, we join podcast guru Sam Stafford to explore three of the Power of Plans case studies with their authors. Sam Stafford’s podcast series ‘50 Shades of Planning’ has become something of an institution for those of us who are interested in the foibles of the planning system. Sam’s aim is “to cover the breadth of the sector both in terms of topics of conversation and in terms of guests with different experiences and perspectives”.

We were delighted when Sam agreed to make this mini-series with us, something he has termed an ‘international triumvirate’, and described as follows:


“In a recording made online in June 2023, Ian Wray and Sam Stafford talk about Shenzhen with Professor Mee Kam Ng. Shenzhen is a city that, when designated as China’s first Special Economic Zone in the late 1970s was a border town with a population of less than 250,000 and is now the country’s ‘Silicon Valley’, with a population of over 17 million.”


“In a conversation recorded remotely at the end of November 2022, Sam Stafford and Lucy Natarajan talk to Jim Steer about Dublin, where town planning in the 1960s and 1970s was not kind, with large-scale road building to serve car-dependent suburbs and little investment in public transport. In the early 1990s, though, an EU-funded Dublin Transportation Initiative put the city on a new path…”


“In a conversation recorded remotely at the end of November 2022, Sam Stafford and Lucy Natarajan talk to Bob Yaro about New York, a city that has experienced rapid growth, rapid decline and an impressive economic turnaround. New York has long been planned on a city region scale, but the origin of its series of great plans lies in a small number of planning pioneers and philanthropists. That economic turnaround has much to do, despite it not having a statutory function, with the Regional Planning Association, with which Bob is heavily involved and whose role he describes as ‘advancing ideas whose time has not yet come’.”


As ever we welcome further Built Environment blogs & tweets on this theme!    

Listing Image/Image 1: Dublin: a platform on transport whose ‘open and inclusive process brought together policy communities’, and enabled learning from past mistakes together. (Mangan et al., 2022, p. 541)  (Source: © Jim Steer. All rights reserved)

Image 2: Logo for '50 Shades of Planning' (Source: © Sam Stafford. All rights reserved)