National meeting in Romania, May 2011

27 May 2011 – An international meeting thought for creating the first Romanian delegation at ISOCARP

Full report of the event

At 9.30 on 27 May the meeting started having the aim to create the first Romanian ISOCARP group, from this group could be defined the Romanian delegation at ISOCARP.

Pietro Elisei (moderator) supporter by Alexandru Matei (project assistant) gave the welcome to the guests and briefly explained the reasons and the objectives of the meeting. Mr. Elisei reported the welcome speech of the ISOCARP Secretary General (Alex Macgregor ) and the greetings of the ISOCARP President (Ismael Fernandez Mejia) , than he invited the Director of the HESPER (Mircea Pricop), that kindly put at disposal the rooms for the conference, to hold a welcome speech.

Mircea Pricop presented to the guests the History of the HESPER and elucidated its huge value in terms of industrial archaeology. He illustrated the current productive activities of the HESPER, than he invited the present town planners to find solutions for re-launching the HESPER heritage, the old building of the end of the XIX century and those of the beginning of the XX.
He closed his speech in wishing to the participants to have a successful meeting and to count on HESPER spaces in order to organize further events that aim at promoting good town planning in Romania.

Pietro Elisei invited Dirk Engelke to explain to the participants the activity of ISOCARP and the added value of being a member.

Title of presentation: The professional network of ISOCARP: History, objectives and added values for new members.

Dirk Engelke presented a short description of The International Society of City and Regional Planners (ISOCARP). He began in explaining the role of the urban and regional planning in the present and in its future challenges. He underlined that in a world with cities growing very rapidly, town planning activities will be more and more important.
In this challenging context of an urbanizing world, in his opinion, we need to put the following questions:

1. What is the frameset of this urbanization? What are its trends?
2. How is the spatial impact?
3. Who can provide solutions?

Starting from these questions the ISOCARP is trying to propose a set of solutions.
He presented some major characteristics of the network: ISOCARP is Global, it is Trans-disciplinary and it is “an action taking” society. Dirk Engelke explained that the response and opportunities given by ISOCARP are:

  • Professional publications – reviews
  • An annual world congress related to different global issues
  • Advisory work by Urban Planning Advisory Teams – UPATs
  • and workshops for Young planners.
  • Finally, ISOCARP offers some Awards for best practices.

After the presentation of Dirk Engelke, the floor has been taken by Manfred Schrenk.

Title of presentation: Promotion of innovative technics and technologies for spatial planning within the ISOCARP network: Consolidated experiences, current projects and future proposals.

Manfred Schrenk illustrated the role of technologies for spatial planning in the present and some trends for the future; he linked faced topics with ISOCARP network activities.

In the last 50 years technology and its products have increased their presence in many aspects of our life. New and innovative technologies try to identify and propose tools in ICT that can improve our daily work in town planning, and propose solutions for new challenges to be faced by contemporary cities. In relation with this continuous research (technologies/urbanism/policy design), ISOCARP supports the realization of an international conference on this field. The name of this event is REAL CORP. This conference has already 11 years tradition and focus on global perspectives.
This year (2011), the REAL CORP took place in Essen, Germany, between 18-20May, it debated the subject: “Change for Stability, the Lifecycles of Cities and Regions”. One of the main observations that resulted after this deliberation was that all the important “actors” related to planning must focus more on implementation and not only on projects: transforming planning practices into operational practices. Manfred Schrenk warned that: “We make plans but we don’t rely get results”.
In the last part of his presentation he explained how ISOCARP is an important “platform for partners in (international) projects” and showed the example of PLAN4ALL (EU promoted project, This European project it is currently under implementation and tries to harmonise geographical planning data across Europe (Inspire directive). He concluded underlining that ISOCARP it is not only a network of professionals but a network of friends as well.

Pietro Elisei consecutively introduced Gabriel Pascariu and remarked how his help has been essential in order to finalize the realization of this first ISOCARP meeting in Romania.

Title of presentation: Urbanism (planning) education and organizations in Romania: an overview of the current situation.

Gabriel Pascariu showed a synthesis of the evolution (especially focusing on the last 30 years) of urban studies in Romania, both referring to the educational evolution in universities and mutations in professionals. He explained how the beginning of Romanian town planning is associated with the activities performed at the Polytechnic of Bucharest (‘30), than in an second phase it was more associated with the School and Faculty of Architecture and just from 1997 the field of urbanism has its own dedicated Faculty. From 2005 the Faculty of Urbanism, as part of the “Ion Mincu” University of Architecture and Urbanism, moved to the Bologna System and got a new structure with 3 cycles of study: Bachelor’s Degree, Master’s Degree and Doctoral Degree.
At the same time town planning course in Romania can be found ,in different proportions, in other Faculties like: Geography, Engineering and Architecture.
In the second part of his presentation, Gabriel Pascariu briefly presented the evolution of Romanian Associations of Town Planners: 1) Association of Professional Urban Planners in Romanian – APUR, 2) Association of Urban Planner in Cluj-Napoca – AUC, and some other minor nongovernmental organizations.
He then illustrated the numerous changes in attributions and denominations of the Romanian Ministry responsible for territorial governance issues , from 1990 till present.
At the end of the presentation, he explained when and how was born the RUR (Registrul Urbanistilor din Romania, that is Registry of Romanian Planners) and its role, underlying that just few specialists accredited by this institution are proper town planners, while the majority of members are architects.

Mr. Elisei continued the debate by highlighting the important role played by young planners within the ISOCARP network and introduced Alexandru Matei, who contributed greatly in preparingthe event and in bringing together most promising Romanian young urban planner.

Alexandru Matei began his presentation by explaining that he was encouraged by his colleagues to speak on behalf of the Romanian young planners. The presentation started with a reflection on the role of ‘the internet’ and ‘social media’ as unique communication instruments. He argued that the best proof of internet’s importance is the recent “Arab Spring”. He then continued by underlying a particular phenomenon called: “Being closer, yet being far away” which, in his view, will have an enormous impact on our world. He pointed out that this aspect will also have strong influence on how our habitats will function and transform. Moreover Alexandru presented shortly the main characteristics, trends and expectations of the Romanian young planners. His speech was finalized with the proposal to initiate a series of online seminaries / debates with the aim to increase trans-national cooperation between planners.

Prof. Alexandru Sandu added more information and explained the relation intervened between APUR and RUR, he explained the reasons why RUR took over some APUR tasks. He underlined and provided information about the current affiliation of RUR and CEI/ECTP.

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