Planning trouble

While agreeing with Petra Biberbach (Friends of The Scotsman, 3 June) that young people should be more involved in planning matters, I doubt this will be easy to achieve.

Although councils operate many services, including planning, few teach much about these in their schools. Many adults, including teachers, have little understanding of the planning system. It is as rare for council planners, engineers, health inspectors, housing officers, lawyers or administrators to participate in schooling as it is for teachers to be consulted by any of these.

The laudable aims of the Curriculum for Excellence include helping young people to think critically and creatively and be responsible citizens, but this cannot be achieved with the present out-dated ideas on education. Ability to think is crucial but few study philosophy; most subjects offer little scope for creative thinking.

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Much of what is learned to pass exams is soon forgotten and/or of little value to pupils or society, and most of what really matters is not learned in schools.

Subjects particularly relevant to town planning, such as physical and urban geography land economics, real estate, sociology and politics are studied by very few pupils. It is thus hard to see that many young people will be able to achieve what they want to have in their local areas.

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Many planning issues reflect a general conflict of interest between generations. Older people want house prices to stay high; “Nimbyism” is rampant. Younger people need prices to fall greatly and this needs many more homes to be built. It is ­believed their interests would best be served by supporting proposed housing plans as strongly as others oppose it.


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