The Planning Exchange

The Planning Exchange was established in Glasgow in 1972 as an offshoot of the Centre for Environmental Studies (CES). Its aim was to provide a source of information on good practice and a forum for the debate of problems in the regions by bringing together the professions, leaders of civic organisations and community action groups, starting with planning problems but expanding to cover other interests and wider geographical areas.[1]

In 2002 Idox plc [2] acquired the assets of The Planning Exchange charity which changed its name to The Planning Exchange Foundation[3]


The first Director - Professor J.B.Cullingworth, Director of the Centre for Urban and Regional Studies at the University of Birmingham - took up his post on 1 October 1972.

A Glasgow Herald editorial stated “It is to be hoped that this will not become merely another talking shop … [but] some form of central registry for new ideas[4]

The Scotsman newspaper editorial [5] took the view that the increasing scope and complexity of planning required practitioners to share expertise, learn from research and understand the needs of those for whom they plan.

The Information ServiceEdit

A library of official publications, journals, books and semi-published, or grey literature was established using a system devised by Brenda White of the Planning Research Unit at Edinburgh University following her research into information needs in Town and Country Planning.[6][7]

Scottish Planning and Environmental LawEdit

Scottish Planning Law and Practice was launched in 1980 and continues to be published in digital format as Scottish Planning & Environmental Law.[8]

The New Towns RecordEdit

To mark the 50th anniversary of the passing of the New Towns Act 1946, the Planning Exchange was commissioned to create an electronic library of the documents, reports and plans connected with the New Towns Programme.

Work commenced in 1999 to scan documents using optical character recognition to create searchable text. Interviews, including some with local residents, were added along with thousands of images. The first edition was produced on CD [9] .[10]

Acquisition by IdoxEdit

In May 2002 the assets of the Planning Exchange were sold to Idox plc. The Planning Exchange charity changed its name to Planning Exchange Foundation[11] Having no staff or assets other than the proceeds of the sale, the Foundation decided to use these funds to award research grants. The Information Service continues as Idox Knowledge Exchange[12]


  1. ^ Donnison, David (11 December 1969). "Pressure Group for the Facts". New Society.
  2. ^ Idox plc is a software developer
  3. ^ The Planning Exchange Foundation ( is constituted as a private limited company limited by guarantee without share capital (Company number SC073119 and is a registered charity (SC010929
  4. ^ "Editorial comment". Glasgow Herald. 6 April 1972.
  5. ^ "Editorial comment". The Scotsman. 6 April 1972.
  6. ^ White, Brenda. Planners and Information: Report of an investigation into information provision in town and country planning. A Research Project Supported by a Grant from the Office for Scientific and Technical Information. ISBN 9780853650324.
  7. ^ White, Brenda (1970). Planners and information. Library Association Research Publication No 3. Library Association.
  8. ^ "Scottish Planning & Environmental Law". The Knowledge Exchange. Idox. Retrieved 21 September 2020.
  9. ^ Hebbert, Michael (1998). "Review. The New Towns Record CD-ROM by Anthony Burton, Joyce Hartley". Town Planning Review. 69 (3): 347–348. doi:10.3828/tpr.69.3.dq8pt4p335q53q11. JSTOR 40113803. Retrieved 21 September 2020.
  10. ^ Clapson, Mark (September 1998). "The New Towns Record, 1946-1996: 50 Years of UK New Town Development. The Planning Exchange". H-Urban, H-Net Reviews. Retrieved 21 September 2020.
  11. ^ "Planning Exchange Foundation". Retrieved 21 September 2020.
  12. ^ "The Knowledge Exchange". Idox. Retrieved 21 September 2020.