Regional Workshop Lodz, Poland, 10-12 April 2014

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Workshop Programme

Download the Workshop Report: Limits of Formal Planning in Managing the Urban Development

Co-organisers: Polish National Delegation of ISOCARP, in cooperation with: Management of New Centre of Lodz, Municipal Planning Office of Lodz, Society of Polish Town Planners, Institute of Architecture and Town Planning, Lodz University of Technology, Faculty of Architecture, Gdansk University of Technology, Institute of Spatial and Regional Planning, University of Lodz and Museum of the City of Lodz

Limits of Formal Planning in Managing the Urban Development

Formal planning works through the adoption of plans, laws, regulations and other legislative tools that enable the usage of land in order to balance the needs of the community and environmental conditions. All stages of the planning process are covered from the initial conception of plans to their implementation. The planning procedure itself may significantly appeal to democratic society for its ability to make matters public, which were once only exclusively handled by developers and the government. Nevertheless, formal planning can be seen as a lengthy, cumbersome process or unwelcome governmental intervention at odds with individual freedoms. Once a plan or another tool is approved, it may enable greater coherence on the approval of individual development proposals yet a broad public consensus and acceptance is needed to achieve this goal. Also, formal planning is the official base for planning that must be closely linked to their implementation and enforcement. Without proper implementation, decisions and therefore development may be significantly delayed or carried against the planner’s will. But what if planning doesn’t work as intended? When there is a mismatch between the “good intentions” of the planners, the functioning of the system, and the real life results? If formal planning is no longer considered beneficial by communities but rather simply seen as a bureaucratic burden? What happens when the rapidly changing reality of the cities, as in the case of European transition countries, exceeds the planning system capacity?

Statutory planning deals with linking of everyday management of land use and development proposals to plans, regulations and other planning tools. Using systematic procedures, it ensures development in compliance with formal instruments by refusing a proposal if not in compliance with it. Here a common problem arises: if a proposal can be refused because of non-compliance, what should be done if the regulation itself is too rigid? Where is the boundary between realisation of the collective interest, or response to the richness of the urban life – which requires flexibility – and the confinement of over-detailing? Can formal planning then limit a city’s creative or natural development? Finally, if we abandon formal planning, who will benefit from ensuing deregulation?

The above issues raise concerns regarding planning in Central and Eastern Europe. For the last couple of decades, post-socialist countries have struggled with a conflicting duality of free market development and government intervention. The questions on whether the planning system was meeting the requirements of managing the cities through post-socialist transition period were frequently raised and hotly debated. This workshop is an opportunity to discuss these experiences face-to-face with ISOCARP members and field professionals. It brings the example of Lodz third largest city in Poland, and how it is handling its urban projects – from new large scale developments to urban regeneration.

The international workshop will take place over three days, from April 10 to 12, 2014. Each day will be filled with lectures, case studies and workshops, and also a tour of the city of Lodz and a panel presentation. The participants are invited to discuss in one of the three themes, each presented by the groups’ leaders. The three themes are:

1 Planning and management of large scale urban development projects Dr. Lukasz Pancewicz

2 The role of cultural and industrial heritage in Lodz’s downtown rehabilitation Dr. Malgorzata Hanzl

3 Urban regeneration in post-socialist cities Dr. Dorota Kamrowska-Załuska
The final conclusions of the workshop will be presented and discussed at the final session by the group leaders and will be followed by a post-workshop report.

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