Never underestimate the value of networking – nor the variety of networking opportunities conferred on you by your RTPI membership. The networks, groups and forums operated by the institute embrace all aspects of professional planning practice and offer fast-track development for any planner seeking to specialise in a particular discipline.
As well as valuable peer to-peer discussions, you’ll put yourself in a position to debate hot topics and, through debate, influence developing RTPI policy and, ultimately, government policy. Network members share knowledge of these topics through the email bulletin, website, study visits and meetings and events.
The Regeneration Network caters for members interested in topics such as community involvement, participation and engagement, physical regeneration, tourism and regeneration, retail and town centres.
The Transport Planning Network (TPN), for transport planners and those with an interest in transport issues, is run jointly by the RTPI and the Transport Planning Society.
Members of the Urban Design Network recognise that there is a need to demonstrate and promote the value of good urban design – to clients, developers, local authorities and other community decision makers.
RTPI networks cater for planner type as well as specialism; those with less than ten years' post-qualification experience you can join the lively Young Planners network, which has branches in each country of the UK as well as branches in nine English regions. As well as informal networking and social events for like-minded people in a similar position, young planners networks off er the opportunity to get involved in the committees that organise each group’s activities. An annual young planners conference takes place each autumn.
For planners in planning enforcement roles, the Network for Planning Enforcement (NAPE) caters for those “at the sharp end” of planning and development management. The group encourages development management planners to network through local groups in all regions.
Those considering a move into consultancy are supported by the Independent Consultants' Network (ICN), an RTPI group set up for sole practitioners or individuals running their own small consultancy practices.
The Planning Education and Research Network (PERN) aims to support greater communication between educators, researchers and practitioners in the planning community.
The International Development Network (IDN) forms part of the RTPI's international activity and strategy. It's a networking and information resource for people with an interest in planning and international development. Those committed to sustainable settlements are encouraged to join.
The Planning for Housing Network is run jointly by the RTPI and the Chartered Institute of Housing (CIH).
For full details of the RTPI’s networks, groups and forums click here.
To read more from the Planner 2015 Guide to Career Development please click here.