Enhance your planning skills as a Discover-EU-Ambassador

by Hazel Nash

If you are training or working in Planning and Cultural Heritage, applications are open for the ‘DiscoverEU Ambassador’ – with the opportunity to travel and learn. Read on…

Image of European Cultural Heritage word cloud
DIscoverEU has made available funding for 18 year olds to explore European cultural heritage

The recent UK parliamentary votes on the European Union Withdrawal Bill brings into stark reality the imminence of Brexit. Despite this, the day-to-day operating conditions of the UK as a whole continue as a full member of the European Union. This means that all new law and policy adopted at EU level applies equally to the UK as all other member states, until exit day, creating a moving feast for those civil servants working on the ‘Great Repeal Bill’.

Putting aside the troubles of Mrs May and the public servants in London and the devolved administrations grappling with the detangling of half a century of law, infrastructure and common operating mechanisms, students at BCU, like other Universities across the UK, have emerged from under their mountains of text books, revision notes and draft assessments, to find a long summer stretched out in front of them. What to do? How about combining European travel with cultural experiences sponsored by the European Commission? Enjoy the benefits of EU membership while we have it and explore other EU countries…

2018 is the European Year of Cultural Heritage and as such there is a wealth of activities, celebrations and events planned across Europe over this summer. With cultural heritage having a significant impact on the development of space and facilitating greater interaction and relationships between each other, our environment the past and future, the DiscoverEU travel fund affords a unique and valuable opportunity to gain a greater appreciation of cultural heritage and its importance in land use planning.Blog 46_6 Travel more_EU

DiscoverEU has launched a competition aiming to provide at least 20,000 young people the chance to travel around Europe between 9 July and 30 September 2018[1]. There are a few prerequisites:

  • you must be born between 2 July 1999 and 1 July 2000 included;
  • have the nationality of one of the 28 Member States of the EU;
  • start your journey in an EU member state;
  • travel mainly by rail;
  • travel for between 1 and 30 days; and
  • travel to between 1 and 4 countries.
Eindhoven, Netherlands
Eindhoven, Netherlands

For those aspiring to be a planning professional or those who may be considering a planning qualification this opportunity is exceptional. Not only does it offer financial assistance with European travel and a prestigious role as DiscoverEU Ambassador, but it also provides a chance to discover and explore cultural heritage and the challenges and opportunities culture poses for planners in creating exciting, inclusive and sustainable places to live.

Avenida de Portugal
Avenida de Portugal

In an A-Z of Planning and Culture the Greater London Authority observe that places are “defined by their history – through their local heritage, museums and archives, historic buildings, festivals, food and local traditions. But a great city is also defined by its contemporary culture – its artists and arts venues, film and television, music and games, photography and crafts, fashion and design, and its buzzing informal offering from skate parks to restaurants, pubs and night clubs. Great cities are also defined by their ambitions for the Blog 46_2 Travel Europefuture” (Greater London Authority, 2015: 4)

Exploring other countries, their cities, towns and rural areas enables ‘us Planners’ to draw on a wealth of solutions, learning from the good and bad of spatial planning, and return rested and enthusiastic  to stimulate and implement creative and transforming spaces.

What are you waiting for? The application round is open until 26th June 2018 at 12:00 (CEST). Good luck!

… and whether you become DiscoverEU Ambassador or not, some summer reading could be Abram’s Culture and Planning’…


For further information on the DiscoverEU opportunity see: https://europa.eu/youth/discovereu_en

[1] The application is online and you can travel either on your own or as part of a group of a up to 5 people. Before starting the application it is worth swotting up on the 2018 European Year of Cultural Heritage and the EU Youth Initiatives Targeting Young People as there will be five quiz questions based upon these elements.



Abram, S. (2011) Culture and Planning (2011) Routledge, London.

Greater London Authority (October 2015) An A-Z of Planning and Culture. Greater London Authority, London. Available online at: https://www.london.gov.uk/sites/default/files/an_a-z_of_planning_and_culture.pdf Correct 14/06/2018.


Dr Hazel Ann Nash, Senior Lecturer in Planning Law, Birmingham City University. Hazel joined BCU in January 2018. She is a planning and environmental law specialist. She has worked in Central Government and local government in planning policy and development management positions and has a particular interest in planning for waste management infrastructure and minerals planning.

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