Giving communities a greater voice in all areas of planning is a key theme for Place Studio. More and better community engagement is, in our view, crucial in strategic plan-making as well as development management (through pre-application engagement). It is also central to neighbourhood planning. We have promoted both the principle and practice of genuine engagement nationally, notably through articles – and a key book – by Jeff Bishop.

The book, a really practical guide in the Royal Town Planning Institute series, is called ‘The Craft of Collaborative Planning’. The book covers everything from designing overall processes to facilitation, and from one-off events to making engagement mainstream within whole organisations. According to reviewers it is “a must for all those interested in the shaping of tomorrow’s cities” and “a marvellous book of … honest, straightforward, practical guidance”.

Whilst we’re on the subject of books published by members of the Place Studio team, Jeff has also written and published a fascinating book entitled ‘Bristol Through Maps’. It is a great read because, although there are many books on maps, they are either historical or just include maps. Jeff’s book includes – and he writes about – old maps, new maps, artists’ maps, people’s maps, the Pub Stops map and, much more relevantly here, planners’ maps from 1966 and 1998, and even a map from a made Neighbourhood Plan!