The University of Aberdeen has this week celebrated the launch of a new Centre for Planning and Environmental Management, within the School of Geosciences.
This marks the culmination of substantial investment in the discipline of spatial planning, including the appointment of Professor William J V Neill to a Sixth Century Chair in Spatial Planning. Professor Neill's work and research has focused on questions of identity and belonging in North American and European cities including his native city of Belfast. He has been a recent member of the General Assembly of the RTPI and serves on its international committee.
The employment of Professor Neill strengthens the University's existing research into spatial planning, giving the institution the opportunity to go out into schools and recruit more students onto some of the exciting degrees on offer, as well as developing new advanced programmes and building international research links at the interface between Planning and Geography.
In addition, the evening occasion will be an opportunity to launch Professor Neill's latest book Migration and Cultural Inclusion in the European City (Palgrave, Macmillan 2007) edited with Hanns-Uve Schwedler, Director of the European Academy of the Urban Environment in Berlin. Dr Schwedler will also be in attendance at the event and has newly been appointed as an Honorary Professor at the University.
Professor Albert Rodger, Vice Principal and Head of the College of Physical Sciences is delighted to be hosting the evening event. He said: "The new Centre for Planning and Environmental Management represents a significant milestone in the evolution of spatial planning research and education at the University of Aberdeen.
"The School of Geosciences, in which spatial planning is now embedded, provides an exciting and strong interdisciplinary milieu for the study of place and environment. Spatial planning is now firmly located as an important part of this broader portfolio.
"The goal of the Centre is to engage in research, consultancy and teaching of international standing and scope while responding to the spatial planning challenges and unique opportunities in Scotland and the Grampian region in particular."
A reception is being held in the Court Room at the University, for an invited audience of around 30 guests from the Grampian region, including town planners, surveyors, lawyers, architects, environmental managers and local councillors.
Professor Neill will launch his latest book and will present the mission of the Centre at this evening's event. He said: "The commitment of the University to spatial planning and property/rural surveying programmes has never been so strong. The new Centre of Planning and Environmental Management, also a centre of research and consultancy, is the new locus of gravity for this taking advantage now of the interdisciplinary synergies in the School of Geosciences."
Throughout the evening, guests will have the opportunity to hear about the University's vision for the new Centre, and to meet with senior staff and hear about their interest in spatial planning. They will also hear about the mission of the new Centre and how spatial planning and surveying programmes fit into the University's portfolio of environmental disciplines.