About the 37th ISOCARP Congress

Utrecht 2001

Download the Congress Brochure


Oh, just another congress about IT application in planning …?!

Information technology, globalisation and deregulation are just some keywords for something that gained a strong influence during the last decade, in societies of developed as well as of developing countries. For important theorists it is quite probable that we are witnessing the early phase of a fundamental change of the socio-economic system, comparable to the agricultural revolution in 15th century or the industrial revolution in 19th century. If so, this of course will deeply affect the way society is organising space – our very professional field. The new technologies developed in the last decades for long were mainly seen under a technical as-pect. In the discussion about the effects of the technological developments, ISoCaRP did an early con-tribution with the 1989 congress in Basel on “How does communication technology influence mobility patterns and the city?” A second and even bigger line of technical discussion focused on plan-ning application of technical possibilities like GPS, GIS, geocomputing or numeric simulation models.

… or is there more to say!?!

But through the 1990ies it became more and more evident that information technologies not only are a technical mean, but that they have a deep impact on how our societies are organised; that a revolution, an informational revolution is taking place. We are facing an in-depth recombination in our cultural, socio-economic and political systems, with important effects on TIME and SPACE patterns. Such familiar time-space borders like “inside-outside”, “private-public”, “here-there”, “city-countryside” or “yesterday-tomorrow” seem to disappear, or at least change significance. How to act as planners now that these familiar understandings of our profession are dramatically loosing their validity? What is the new role, what are the instruments and the methods of the planner now? Already in 1997 the Temporary Autonomous Network (TAN), a group of younger planners related to ISoCaRP, started a research and discussion project on this topic. TAN studied new theoretical models and concepts explaining the actual situation and trends. They confronted this better understanding with actual planning projects and tried to define possible guidelines and major action points for future planning. The ISoCaRP 2001 conference will use the findings of the TAN meetings. Their themes are: dynamic networks and floating nodes, cultural identity and spatial segregation, cyberspace and the loss of concentration/centrifugation.

Introduction to the Congress

A Core Program with a New Format

Utrecht 2001 - Citta

The ISoCaRP 2001 Congress’ core topic will be the new role of the planner and the new strategies for planning in the information age. The title “Honey, I shrunk the space” – planning in the inform-ation age, tries to name this paradox: If physical and time distances are shrinking to zero by ever faster communication, will there be any space left to plan at all? The 2001 Congress will work on future-oriented answers to this question, maybe even paradoxical answers. Because on the one hand on a closer look, it is not the whole world that is shrinking to the spot, but a new ‘tele-citta’-layer is added to the existing physical structures: Arche-Città Cine-Città Tele-Città Walled city Agricultural production Muscular movement Feudal government Center + agglomeration Industrial production Mechanical movement Democratic government Periurbanisation Informational production Light-speed communication Architect Local scale Architecture, boulevards Projects Physical planner Regional / national scale Land use, infrastructure Plans Spatial development manager …? Knowledge+info./airports+IT infra ..? strategies / actions …? And on the other hand, even in that world of shrinking space-time dimensions the primary task of planning – managing time-space-relations – may change, but will not disappear. A new format will be chosen for this Congress, called “core topicplus”: The setting with important keynote speeches as introduction and a summarising closing session will stay. But instead of pushing all Congress contributions into a single Congress format, there will be a differentiation between contributions directly connected with the above-mentioned core topic and such presentations that are of a more general interest. For the first, there will be three parallel sessions with a careful selection of contributions and discussions, mainly serving the professional knowledge development on the core topic. For the second, marketplace sessions will be organised, mainly serving the exchange of information and networking.

Within an Attractive Frame

The pre-congress tour will include some of the latest Dutch achievements in planning and urbanism (12-15 September). There will be the traditional young planner’s workshop before the Congress (13- 15 September). This will take place in Twente, analysing the spatial patterns of this region that is aiming at a role as the Dutch “Silicon Valley”. The five-day core Congress will end with a joint day with the Biennial on Town Planning in Rotterdam (“The culture of the City”). After the core Congress there will be an implementation workshop in Delft (21-23 September), offering the application of the knowledge acquired on the Congress on an urban/regional development strategy. Participants of the implementation workshop also will visit the area that is subject of the implementation workshop: Delft and the south wing of the Randstad Holland.

With well-prepared Presentations

To achieve a high quality of presentations, the preparation process will already start 11 months before the conference with the call for contributions in autumn 2000. The abstracts will have to be delivered within 3 months. Experienced rapporteurs and co-rapporteurs of the respective sessions will coach the elaboration of the contributions in the following 6 months (compulsory for parallel sessions, voluntary for marketplace sessions). After a second selection there are still 2 months left for refining and speci-fying the contributions and working on clear-cut presentations. The University of Karlsruhe will provide an experimental Internet platform. This will serve as a communication mean and a platform for the preparation process. On the Internet site a guide for presentations step-by-step will be available and from September 2001 on a “virtual working paper book” with all presentations will be accessible.

Congress Programme

The Congress provides opportunities for international and Dutch delegates to meet and discuss issues of mutual interest by offering a wide range of opportunities. It will provide essential information and stimulate critical analysis among all practitioners in all disciplines (incl. planners, citizens, lawyers, environmentalists, developers, government representatives and administrators etc.) in the field of urban and regional planning.
The Congress itself offers a comprehensive programme mainly consisting of plenary keynote addresses, three parallel workshop-sessions (presentation of/discussion on selected and invited papers; submission of papers was closed on 15 March 2001), a Marketplace Session (Open Platform to any topic of professional interest for planners (a.o. inspiring ideas) and not directly related to the core topic of the congress) and a closing plenary session.
Immediately following the ISoCaRP Congress the fourth Biennial of Towns and Town Planners in Europe will be held in Rotterdam on 20, 21 and 22 September. Its theme will be “Cultures of Cities – transformation generating new opportunities’. It will review links between contemporary cultural developments and modern approaches to urban planning and design in Europe. On 20 September ISoCaRP General Rapporteur Andreas Schneider will be among the keynote speakers of the day. ISoCaRP Congress participants are invited to extend their programme by participating in this or other events of the Biennial.


Download the Congress Schedule.

Congress Venue

University Utrecht (Uithof), Faculty Building of Spatial Planning, Heidelberglaan 8, Utrecht.

Congress Registration

Registration details can be found on p. 21-23 of the Congress Brochure.

Implementation Lab

Location: Delft (20-23 September 2001)

A new element in the congress is the Implementation Lab. It replaces the traditional post-conference tour by a working session to explore in practice the findings of the core-conference, using new technologies. The change from the post-conference tour is not absolute: the social and travel-aspects are maintained in the evening programme and the tour that concludes the workshop. Unfortunately, being an experiment, the Implementation Lab is open to a limited number of 25 participants. The Lab will use the computing facilities of the Faculty of Civil Engineering and Geosciences of the Delft University of Technology. The Department of Design and Construction Management will host the Lab.

The case that is being worked on in the Implementation Lab is a given regional planning concept for the next 10 years that has to be adapted to an ‘urgent planning matter’. A sudden increase of population requires a proper answer by the planning of major urban development of about 100.000 housing units. The participants are members of advisory task groups that are asked to advise the regional government on how to modify the regional plan in order to accommodate the challenge. The consequences of the network society as discussed in the core-conference have to be incorporated in the advice. How to deal with a network society with its increasing importance of flows that determine the development potential of space, with globalisation (economic, cultural, etc.), with the increasing importance of nodes and transport corridors, with the development of social divisions at higher, even global scale levels etc. The case is the South Wing of the Randstad Holland, the region comprising Leiden – Den Haag – Delft – Rotterdam – Dordrecht. The region lacks behind the North Wing (Amsterdam – Utrecht) in positive economic effects of ICT. How to develop the position of the region in the global networks? The future of the greenhouse area of Westland and the Port of Rotterdam are urgent planning issues to address.

As members of the advisory task groups, the participants play roles of planners with different backgrounds. Each group consists of a private investor, a real estate developer, a privatised public transport company, a logistic company, an environmental interest group and an ICT-company. Thus each task group represents place/arche città (real estate developer, environmentalist), flows/cine città (privatised public transport, logistic company) and virtual space/tele città (ICT company). The jury takes over the role of the government. The jury will evaluate the contributions of the task groups on a set of criteria.


September 20


September 21
September 22
September 23
25 participants

See Registration for price and participation details

Explanation of
commission and
technique; Browsing for
information and data
at TU Delft

Working Session in Task groups at TU Delft. Design and preparation of the presentation next day


By the task groups
at the Resident project in The Hague
Working Session in
Task groups
at TU Delft. Browsing
and designing concepts
Excursion to the
Randstad South Wing
and the Port of
BMK: last project Delta
Amsterdam Schiphol Airport by train
or else
18.00 hrs Arrival in Delft
Welcome drink:
‘Jenever’ at the Oude
Delft -Roorda Canal
Dinner in Delft Dinner in Rotterdam

More information on the Implementation Lab can be found in the Congress Brochure.

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