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Rebuilding Britain

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  • UserDr Hugh Ellis, Town and Country Planning Association
  • ClockWednesday 04 February 2015, 16:00-17:00
  • HouseMill Lane Lecture Room 1.

If you have a question about this talk, please contact Clare Eaves.

Britain faces extraordinary challenges, from housing and climate change to growing social inequality, but as a nation it has no plan for the future. Rebuilding Britain is a lecture which asks a simple question: how should Britain organise itself, not just for survival, but to build a fairer and more sustainable society? During our grandparents’ lifetimes the question was not only asked, discussed and imagined but also acted on. Many of the institutions which now shape our lives are part of their legacy. Decent social housing replaced slum cities and health and education were made available to all. In the 1940s in the aftermath of a catastrophic war and as a bankrupt nation we managed to build over 30 new communities, which still house over 2.5 million people today. We designated national parks and transformed our infrastructure. We offered people a better way of life and as a nation we shared a collective ambition to rebuild Britain. This lecture is inspired by that passionate ambition. It is inspired by the pioneers of the planning movement, who did so much to reshape our society for the better.

The lecture is based on book of the same title written by Hugh Ellis and Kate Henderson and published by Policy Press. ‘Rebuilding Britain’ is radical call for a new debate about our collective future. It frames the scale of the challenge the nation faces and drawing on past inspiration and international examples it seeks to challenge the current deafening silence about the nation’s future. Ultimately this book is about the disturbing possibility that we can do better.


Hugh Ellis joined the Town and Country Planning Association (TCPA) as Chief Planner in March 2009. He is responsible for leading the Association’s efforts to shape and advocate planning policies that put social justice and the environment at the heart of the planning debate.

Prior to this, since 2000 Hugh had been National Planning Advisor to Friends of the Earth England, Wales and Northern Ireland. He holds a Diploma in Town Planning, a Bachelor of Arts (with Honours) in Urban Studies and a Doctorate in Land Use Planning from the University of Sheffield. After spending a number of years working for the Coalfield Planning Cooperative on community planning projects Hugh took up a teaching and research post at the University of Sheffield, where his key interests were sustainable development and community participation.

Hugh was closely involved in the passage of the 2004 and 2008 Planning Acts, including providing evidence to select committees and working closely with parliamentarians on both the Commons and Lords committee stages of both Bills. He has delivered parliamentary briefings on the Localism Bill and the Growth and Infrastructure Bill, and provided evidence to the CLG and Environment Audit Select Committees on the National Planning Policy Framework.

This talk is part of the Land Economy Departmental Seminar Series series.

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