We have a great team of advisors for the project:

Image result for Dundee university logo Kirsty Macari Kirsty has a background in public and private planning practice and joined academia in 2017.  Kirsty is currently Co-Head of Undergraduate in DJCAD at the University of Dundee and the Programme Director of Urban Planning.  Kirsty shares their interest in the project:

“This is an exciting project that considers the varying practices of community planning across the different nations and provides cross-sectional dialogue into supporting co-designing of places with communities.”

Dan Crowe Dan leads on Local Trust’s engagement and new programmes of work and research with local government and the NHS Confederation. This includes supporting the development of local strategies to rebuild social capital, promote community-led neighbourhood improvement and improve health and wellbeing outcomes for the most disadvantaged and ‘left behind’ communities. He has a background as an active member in the UK co-operative movement and leadership position in the Co-operative Group during its recent period of rebranding and reform.
West Yorkshire Combined Authority - YouTube Abbie Miladonovic Abbie Miladinovic is the Development Manager for the West Yorkshire Investment Zone, having previously worked on capital project and masterplan delivery at Chesterfield Borough Council. Abbie began her career at Leeds City Council in the Policy and Plans Group with a focus on neighbourhood planning in inner-city and urban areas and planning policy development. Abbie was Yorkshire Young Planner of the Year in 2021.

Abbie’s interest in this project comes from almost a decade of involvement in neighbourhood planning both as both a local authority officer and providing support to groups elsewhere, including through the neighbourhood planning champions network.

University of Ulster Gavan Rafferty Dr Gavan Rafferty, PhD, MSc, BA (Hons.), Pg Cert HEP, MRTPI, FHEA, is a Lecturer in Spatial Planning and Development at the Belfast School of Architecture and the Built Environment at Ulster University. Gavan is the BSc/MSci Planning, Regeneration and Development Course Director. With prior experience of, and interest in, community engagement, he is particularly keen to support the Just Neighbourhoods’ project as it explores the various participatory mechanisms in community-led planning across the UK nations.
Johanna Boyd Johanna Boyd took up the post of Planning Aid Scotland Chief Executive in October 2022, bringing a wealth of experience and expertise with her as a dual-qualified English barrister and Scottish solicitor, specialising in planning, administrative and public law.

Planning Aid Scotland is a charity and social enterprise that helps members of the public, community groups and business start-ups to navigate the planning system and shape the future of their place. We advocate for inclusive participation in a community-led planning system and empower communities to make effective decisions about the future of their place.

Their interest in the Just Neighbourhoods? project stems from over 20 years’ experience of working alongside communities across Scotland supporting them to deliver community-led plans based on inclusive and effective community engagement. We are always keen to share our knowledge, expertise and experience and to support and develop best practice guidance in community-led planning and participatory decision-making.


Louise O’Kane Louise is the Chief Executive MRTPI at COMMUNITY PLACES (NI) and is involed in managing the following Projects:

Participatory Budgeting Works – raising awareness of PB across the region- check out www.participatorybudgetingworks.org

Erasmus+ PB Youth Accelerator with Shared Future, University of Granada, SocLab Foundation and Field of Dialogue.

Dr Louise O’Kane: BSc. MSc. PhD MRTPI Louise is the Chief Executive of Community Places. Louise has over sixteen years’ experience of working in the areas of spatial planning and regeneration, community engagement, community planning and conflict transformation. Louise joined Community Places as a Planner in 2008. Louise has a PhD in Planning, Governance and Contested Space, and is a Member of the Royal Town Planning Institute. Louise is a Director of the Scottish Community Development Centre and an Advisory Group member of UPLAN Ulster University’s Planning Regeneration and Development Course. Louise has led the development and testing of a wide range of innovative planning and engagement techniques with communities and young people including an Erasmus+ European Community Participation in Planning Project. Over the last five years Louise has managed and co-ordinated the Participatory Budgeting Works project, a collaborative initiative to raise awareness of and create an enabling environment for PB across the region.

Pre-application planning advice - Gloucestershire County Council Brian Whiteley Brian joined PAE in January 2014. He has over 39 years’ experience as a planner in local government, working for a range of authorities primarily on planning policy and waste planning, and has led planning teams at LB Waltham Forest, LB Newham and LB Hillingdon.

Brian’s interest in this project stems from:

    1. a long-standing interest in planning at the community level, based partly firstly on experience at LB Tower Hamlets working with its neighbourhood councils and later at Waltham Forest helping run one of its community councils in West Walthamstow;
    2. working directly with neighbourhood planning groups in London and the South East as a regional planning advisor for PAE; and
    3. continued involvement with community engagement projects, notably for NSIPs at Bradwell B and Sizewell C.
Planning Aid Wales James Davies James is the chief executive of Planning Aid Wales. PAW is an organisation dedicated to community involvement in the planning process, where working with rather than for communities is key.