As we approach the end of Pride Month 2021, I’ve been reflecting on how vital strong communities are to ensuring the happiness and wellbeing of the LGBT+ community. We’re finally emerging from the pandemic and eager to be together again. As built environment professionals, we believe that the planning system is crucial for providing safe and engaging spaces where LGBT+ people can be themselves and celebrate who they are.
Back in July 2017, a study released by UCL Urban Laboratory found that in the previous ten years alone, 58% of LGBT+ clubs, bars and performance spaces in London had closed, dropping from 125 to 53.
In London, the UCL findings helped to inform the preparation of the Mayor’s Cultural Infrastructure Plan. This provides valuable policy and decision-making support for the protection and promotion of creative and cultural areas, including for LGBT+ uses. In 2018, Planning Out, a group of LGBT+ built environment professionals that I co-chair, published a toolkit to be a resource for members of the LGBT+ community to better navigate the planning system. It aims to provide guidance and improve understanding of the various types of regulation in order to protect an LGBT+ venue from closure or re-development, to hold an event or festival, to temporarily use a space for community purposes or even fly rainbow flags.
The toolkit aims to ensure that LGBT+ spaces and places continue to live and breathe, offering LGBT+ people a safe space to celebrate themselves. You can download it below.
Post-pandemic we are looking to refresh our toolkit and we would be most grateful for your thoughts and insights so we can incorporate them into the future updates. Please contact Chris Ricot, Associate Director and Co-Chair of Planning Out, here.