A New Concept of Interprofessional Education in Planning Programmes: Reflections on Healthy Urban Planning Project

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Ellis, G.
Morison, S.
Purdy, J.
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Journal for Education in the Built Environment
Although widely debated, some of the defining professional characteristics of planners appear to be competencies in co-ordination, mediation and multidisciplinary working. Despite this, there is little pedagogical reflection on how interprofessional skills are promoted in planning programmes. This paper reflects on the experience of bringing together undergraduate students from medicine and planning to explore the concept of Healthy Urban Planning in a real life context of an urban motorway extension. This reveals a number of unexpected outcomes of such collaboration and points to the value of promoting interprofessional education, both as a way of increasing interest in some of the key challenges now facing society and in order to induce greater professional reflection amongst our students.
There has been a long and enduring debate over the purpose of planning systems, the specific areas of competence that define the planning profession and how these are represented in planning education (e.g. Baum, 1997; Friedmann, 1996; Sandercock, 1999; Frank, 2006). This debate has encompassed a range of topics, including identifying the socio-spatial process that should fall within the domain of planning, the ethical dimension of professional practice, the degrees of literacy needed in design, ecology, GIS etc and skills in engaging with diverse communities. Although there are a wide range of views over the key competencies that planners should exhibit, many commentators identify the abilities clustered around project management, co-ordination, multidisciplinary working and acting as “boundary spanners” (Williams, 2002, p. 103) as being some of the defining features of the profession.
Planning systems, Health Interprofessional education
Ellis, G., Morison, S. & Purdy, J. 2008. A New Concept of Interprofessional Education in Planning Programmes: Reflections on Healthy Urban Planning Project. Journal for Education in the Built Environment, 3, 75-93.