The Joint Conference of ISOCARP and the Oregon Chapter of the American Planning Association (OAPA) – 53rd ISOCARP Congress – will be the world planning congress immediately following HABITAT III, the vicennial global summit for urbanization and planning. This means, from a classical planning perspective which would put 20 years as the long term for strategic visioning, our congress will be the first action congress to implement the New Urban Agenda and the International Guidelines on Urban and Territorial Planning. For both of the core documents of Habitat III, ISOCARP played a key role as the most representative community of global planners.
The Congress deliberately selected “Smart Communities” as the central theme, converging the two movements that have fundamentally transformed and will continue dominating the urbanization and planning sphere, the global habitat movement (since Habitat I) and the development of information and communication technologies (ICTs). It is the ICT sector that delivered the smart city initiative. But the global habitat movement is essentially tackling smart urbanization and planning issues from a typical planning way. However, none of the divergent journeys has led to satisfactory solutions for smart sustainable planning and urbanization. The ICT tide has been bringing up new infrastructures, new products and economies, new ways of organization, new spaces, new life styles, new ways of knowledge production and new individuals, new powers, new politics and new societies. Some may consider these as “smart”. But many have realized that all of these can be important supports for but none is automatically “smart”. For more people, “smart” vaguely refers to some kinds of “logic” of the world such as connected, networked and systematical. But for most, after all, it is the value meanings of “smart” that hide deep in their mind, e.g. clever and proper. In this sense, the habitat movement would have even more relevance to smart city and planning. Such understanding of “smart” certainly has fundamental legitimacy. But it also opens the door to all apparently desirable values and tools, such as green, equal, inclusive, justice, healthy, efficient, forward-looking, comprehensive, and planning, design, policy, governance, finance, democracy, etc. Eventually, “smart something” is becoming the newest universal language and substantially empty concept in planning: it means everything and hence nothing. Is such a dilemma also applicable to planning in general?
Striving to be a congress of implementation following Habitat III after 40 years of global habitat movement, working in partnership with the Oregon Chapter of the American Planning Association (OAPA), the 53rd ISOCARP Congress aims to confront the critical challenges or even crises for planning today. The Congress Team enthusiastically invite global planners and trans-disciplinary colleagues to contribute criticisms, debates and out-of-box constructive solutions for the urgent smart planning and smart urbanism agenda. We realize the diversified meaning and aspects of “smart”, from the smart technology, smart infrastructure and smart space, to the smart economy, smart society and above all, smart people. But above all kinds of “smart”, our Congress, the annual party of global planners, seeks to reaffirm the “smart” identity and scope of planning as the art to create synergetic spatial solutions according to a specific context. That is, beautiful spatial synergy is the core planning sense of “smart” which will articulate, support and create other kinds of “smart”. Therefore, it is true that planning may have to take into account essentially everything. But planners’ major expertise is our comprehensive synergetic capability of understanding planning contexts, creating planning schemes and managing planning implementations. The planning scheme is to design spaces with the best possible social, economic and environmental effects. And today, all of these have to be synergized with the elements of ICTs:
- Smart understanding of our planning context: We are in what kind of new planning context, socially, economically, environmentally and spatially because of the influences of new factors such as (not exclusively) ICTs? How are the factors like internet, big-data, AI and e-government etc reshaping our society and economy?
- Smart planning methods: How to improve our planning methods with the new possibilities of technologies and tools including ICTs, to conduct more scientific and human-oriented data-collection, analysis, scheme creation and verification, and public participation? Is the big-data as powerful as assumed by some?
- Smart planning schemes and smart urban future: In an era with ICTs and other new developments, what are the innovative synergetic spatial schemes which can help make buildings, infrastructures, spaces, economies, societies, people and nature smarter? How to create harmonious synergies between/among the big and small, historical, modern and postmodern, development, culture and nature, work, life and health, technology and human, people of different ages, genders, abilities and beliefs, and region, city, towns and villages? With ICTs, what kind of new spaces are our cities, regions and communities evolving towards, and what new utopias can we imagine? And certainly, with the support of ICTs and modern transportations, scale has been condensed and so should be the distance among people. These help make our new urban world a world of Smart Communities.
- Smart planning implementations: In today’s society, market and governance system which has been greatly changed due to many reasons including internet, what are the new ways for plan-promotion and implementation?
It is in an ICT era to reaffirm the duty and technologies of planning as the trans- disciplinary, sector and people coordinative spatial solution creator. The congress will explore the above questions from six “horizontal” sectoral tracks:
- Technology, infrastructure and buildings
- Governance and inclusive communities
- Culture, community experience and the sharing economy
- Resilience, adaptation and disaster mitigation
- Technology and small communities
- Post-smart communities and the new frontiers
The congress program will include plenary sessions, concurrent sessions of papers, inclusive debates, seminar on cases or projects, workshops, and social and cultural events which will ensure a series of unforgettable experiences for all participants. It is worth mentioning that we will organize the congress jointly with local planning profession association, OAPA, which will present us with all kinds of ideas and the smart city of Portland. Apart from the regular papers, case studies, projects, practical experiences, and researches relevant to the theme and topics are all welcome.
We look forward to your contribution to make a smart congress!
INTRODUCTIONS TO THE TRACKS