Thursday, 5 February 2009

For the first time ever today, I attended the RTPI awards ceremony - held this year at the Park Lane Hilton. Yes, 600 planners in the same room. The Oscars of the planning and regeneration profession. Now, the cynics amongst you will undoubtedly assume that this was the most boring event ever invented, and that awards must have included 'award for the most innovative water feature in Bradford 2008', and you'd be partly right (there was an award for a golf course) but actually mostly you'd be wrong. Normally, I wouldn't be seen dead at this sort of event and I'm a Grade A cynic about such things. I loathe marketing and networking with a passion, mainly because last time I went to such an event two separate sweaty fifty somethings cornered me for the best part of two hours, trying to talk to me about a new document they loved, called Manual for Streets (which actually won an award today, but that's a separate story).
Today I was involved in presenting the 'Infratructure Project of the Year award' (yes, I'm that cool) which was won by the Channel Tunnel Rail Link and as I mocked (internally of course) I suddenly realised what a difference the Channel Tunnel - which runs between France and England and has obviated the need for ferries between the UK and the rest of Europe - has made to my life and those of countless others. The romantic trips to Paris which now take 2 hours! The visits to the Lille Christmas market which took less time than a trip to Birmingham... And I also realised how hard everyone who worked on the project must have worked. And how infrastructure and regeneration schemes totally transform the way we and others see the UK. And suddenly I was up there clapping with the rest of them.

And anyway, what's the problem with celebrating the area you work in? Not everyone can win an Oscar (and anyway don't get me started on my usual rant of WHY it is that actors are revered as they are anyway. Especially as most of them have zero talent) and it's lovely to see your work rewarded. OK, rant over...

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