The International Society of City and Regional Planners is the international society for those professionally involved in city and regional planning.
The Society is registered in The Netherlands as a membership association. Its constitution empowers the members to govern the Society.
At General Meetings (which can be online, allowing all members to participate) the members make the rules, decide on directions, approve the budget, and elect the Board at the Annual General Meeting.
The Board is responsible to the members for the management of the Society, overseeing projects, programs, events and the administration of the Society. The Board develops new policies and programs, and prepares for the General Meetings where the members make the ultimate decisions.
The Board has eleven members, or twelve when – every third year – there is a President-Elect.
Normally, the members of the Board are the President, elected to that office, the Secretary General, elected to that office, and nine ordinary Board Members.
The Board appoints a subcommittee called the Executive Committee, consisting of the President, the Secretary General and three other Board Members. The Executive Committee is responsible to the Board for the day-to-day management of the Society, including matters that the Board has explicitly delegated to the Executive Committee. The Board has assigned to the Executive Committee the responsibility for organising the 2021 World Planning Congress.
At the next Annual General Meeting, to be held at the 56th Virtual World Planning Congress in November 2020, elections will be held to fill a number of vacancies.
Martin Dubbeling will finish his first and final term as President in 2021 which results in the opening of the position of President-Elect.
Daniele Vettorato, Jeremy Dawkins, Malgorzata Hanzl, Milena Ivković, Sebastien Goethals and Zeynep Gunay complete their first term on the Board and may seek election for a second term. Accordingly, elections will be held:
Roles and duties of the office
The President is ‘first among equals’, and Chair of the Board. Formally, the President has executive powers on matters explicitly delegated to the President by the Board. In practice, the President takes on a crucial leadership role, involving:
- supporting and encouraging members to become involved in and contribute to the activities of the Society;
- supporting and encouraging Board members to take initiatives and collaborate in building the effectiveness, relevance and profile of the Society;
- supporting and encouraging staff, contractors, partners and affiliates to actively contribute to the well being of the Society;
- being seen as the principal representative and spokesperson for the Society.
Specifically, as Chair, the President is responsible for the conduct of the meetings of the Board and the Executive Committee and for ensuring that issues are properly addressed and decisions are implemented.
The President is an ex officio member of the Executive Committee. The President chairs the Executive Committee and ensures that operational decisions are made and implemented.
The Secretary General is seen as the other senior member of the Board, assisting the President and deputising for the President when the President is not available. The Secretary General has executive powers on matters explicitly delegated to the Secretary General by the Board. In future, the Board expects the Secretary General to chair the Scientific Committee.
The Secretary General is an ex officio member of the Executive Committee. In future, the Board expects the Secretary General to chair the Scientific Committee. The Board is expected to delegate to the Secretary General its assessment and acceptance of applications for membership of the Society.
The Secretary General is often the first point of contact for agencies and other entities with which the Society maintains relationships, and takes the lead on contracts and employment matters. The Secretary General is generally responsible for the administration of the society, preparing papers for meetings and the minutes, preparing reports and proposals relating to administrative matters, and overseeing the office, resources, and the website.
Board Member (including the President and Secretary General)
The Board of a self-governing association is a special kind of entity: it exercises its powers and duties when in session at a Board meeting, since the members do not otherwise possess executive authority (other than roles explicitly delegated to individual members by the Board). All members are equal, and equally share their powers and responsibilities.
Each member of the International Society of City and Regional Planners elected to the Board has an opportunity to contribute to the Society, to work energetically in the members’ interests, to champion new ways of doing things, to improve the Society’s operations and programs, and to help build the Society’s effectiveness, relevance, reach, and profile. In doing so, each Board Member faces challenges, gains experience, learns much about city and regional planning around the world, is introduced to new people and organisations, and of course makes new friends.
Each Board Member is also like a company director. Each Board Member must ensure that the Society manages its finances and assets, and remains solvent. Board Members are collectively and individually accountable if it does not.
Each Board Member is expected to actively participate in decision making, to take on one or more specific projects or programs, to be responsible for tasks assigned to them by the Board, and to support the other Board Members in their activities. Each Board Member is expected to attend in person two meetings of the Board every year (one of which is held in conjunction with the World Planning Congress), and to actively participate in the monthly online Board meetings. Additional opportunities to contribute to the Society might be to chair the Scientific Committee (should the Secretary General not take this role) and to join the Executive Committee (and therefore be collectively responsible for the organisation of the 2020 World Planning Congress).
Other opportunities involve challenging and rewarding roles in UPATs, YPPs, the World Planning Congress, the Institute, publications, technical assistance, training, international planning projects, relationships with international organisations, regional events, building online networks, supporting and shaping the website isocarp.org, contributing to the Society’s social media channels, and new initiatives that Board Members may take to the Board.
The International Society of City and Regional Planners has achieved much since it was founded in 1965, on the basis of voluntary contributions by the members serving on the Board, participating in UPATs, supporting YPPs, joining the Congress team, writing and editing publications, and in many other ways. In the case of Board members, the voluntary commitment is significant, and only a proportion of travel expenses can be expected to be reimbursed. Most Board Members, however, find that the intangible rewards, including the satisfaction of strengthening our international association of planners, are even greater than expected.