From 8 to 13 February, the Tenth Session of the World Urban Forum (WUF) took place in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. The WUF was established in 2001 by the United Nations to address one of the most pressing issues facing the world today: rapid urbanisation and its impact on communities, cities, economies, climate change and policies. Convened by UN-Habitat, the Forum is a high level, open and inclusive platform for addressing the challenges of sustainable urbanisation. ISOCARP and ISOCARP Institute actively participated by co-hosting two Networking Events, presenting our Society and projects together with (NTNU) at the exhibition, and speaking on behalf of the Society at various events.
Highlights of our presence include the co-organization of two Networking Events – one on Metropolitan Planning & Governance and a second one on Global Planning Aid (see elsewhere in this PULSE). ISOCARP delegates also contributed to many other activities including the Roundtable of Professionals and Planners for Climate Action. A well designed and managed ISOCARP booth, shared with the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) added visibility to activism, including a successful booth session on ‘affordable low-carbon urban mobility’, with an energizing contribution by Pascal Smet, Secretary of State of the Brussels Capital Region. Further, we invited our members, partners and supporters to join us for our social event, sponsored by Space Syntax.
The 10th WUF was closed with the adoption of a Declaration to call upon all urban and territorial stakeholders to step and scale up efforts to implement the SDGs by 2030 – hence the ‘Decade of Action’. ISOCARP contributed to this declaration through a joint planners Declaration with other planning associations under the umbrella of the Global Planners Network. Both declarations are now endorsed by Board and made public on Planetary, including a pledge to advocate a more balanced Territorial Agenda towards WUF11, which will take place in Poland’s Katowice in 2022.
A glimpse into the most relevant activities is provided below. A more comprehensive ISOCARP@WUF10 report is available here. One of the recommendations is to start rather soon than late with preparing an even bigger splash of a more united planning front in Katowice.
DIALOGUE: Urban Planning and Heritage Preservation
February 11, 2020
During an expert panel introduced by the UN Habitat Executive Director Maimunah Mohd Sharif, ISOCARP Board member Milena Ivkovic presented the project on “Suzhou Grand Canal”. This UPAT, organised in collaboration with Jiangsu Province Urban Planning Institute, interpreted adaptive reuse of the Panmen Bridge heritage area in a rather unconventional way. Briefly, it focuses on innovative interdependencies between climate adaptation, community inclusion and redesign of public space that together form both tangible and intangible living heritage.
ROUNDTABLE PROFESSIONALS: Professionals Roundtable
Habitat Professionals Forum
February 12, 2020
Habitat Professionals Forum (HPF) is a voluntary association of 24 international organisations of urban professionals hosted by UN-Habitat. After an introduction to the Stakeholder Policy Task Group by Dy Currie, Vice-Chair of SAGE, Laura Petrella(UN-Habitat) described the 4 Domains of Change of UN-Habitat (Strategic Plan). Eleanor Mohammed, President of Canadian Association of Planners, delivered an impressive keynote on the challenges of urbanisation. It was followed by four World Cafes roundtables, moderated by HPF Professionals, who discussed the state-of-the-art in urban solutions and shared the knowledge of the professional organisations with the participants related to the 4 Domains of Change of UN-Habitat. The Roundtable Professionals session was moderated by Didier Vancutsem, Chair of Habitat Professionals Forum and Director of ISOCARP Institute.
NETWORKING EVENT: Global Planning Aid – A new partnership approach to “Sustainable Cities and Communities”: Empowering poor and marginalised people to make better places (organised by ISOCARP and Planning Aid Scotland)
February 12, 2020
The event was devoted to launching the idea of expanding the planning pool through providing tools and training for barefoot planners in poor and deprived places in the Global North and South. Key conclusions addressed the deficit of planning capacity and the possibility for learning from existing planning support practices. Followed by lively discussion with the audience, the mayoress of Banjul, Gambia, agreed for her city to be a pilot for barefoot planning support.
ISOCARP Secretary-General Frank D’hondt initiated this event in partnership with Planning Aid Scotland (PAS). The event was chaired by ISOCARP President Martin Dubbeling. Several ISOCARP members contributed to the success of the event.