ISOCARP Communications 2.0 – looking ahead to this year

ISOCARP Communications 2.0

Through many initiatives raised by Secretary-General Frank D’hondt and with support of other Board members as well as Head Office, ISOCARP strives to sharpen its presence in a real-world, but also in a digital realm. We are still miles away from a perfect cyber agora, we admit. But heralding the motto that perfect is the enemy of good, we should at least aim for good and better. Our website Planetary is good, but it can be better and we are working on it. Some will argue that we need an entirely new platform to design our Cyber Agora, but costs might outweigh the benefits. While further improving what we have, suggestions on how to enhance communication between Board and members, as well as among the members themselves, are most welcome as it is the vital reason to become and remain a member!

Therefore, to substantially contribute to the Decade of Action (and beyond of course) in this fast urbanising world with expanding planning challenges, we also need to be more vigilant in raising our voice in an ever-expanding field of urban and territorial planning – with a risk of being outplayed and marginalised. Hence, we need to step and scale-up our messaging through all communication channels at our disposal, including social media. The new communication officer at our Head Office will be recruited as a cyber mediator, but we as members need to provide content and clear-cut messaging. This can be done through producing Think Pieces, Declarations, Policy Papers, etc., with the support of our Scientific Committee. However, we also sit on a wealth of information that is born within our individual and institutional members that can be extracted through surveys and assessments. In both cases, we need to develop a language that is more direct and accessible – e.g. by developing our own infographics.

Just before ISOCARP@WUF10, we have published new corporate brochures for both the Society and Institute, also present online at Planetary. Having them printed as hard copy largely helped mobilising potential new members during the WUF. Whenever you organise or attend planning events, please contact our Head Office for hard copies and/or use the soft copies to rally new members. We also developed flyers and name card-sized promotion materials for our flagship events and publications – all there to be used!

Last but not least, the Board encourages member-based co communicative and collaborative initiatives beyond the traditional National Delegations – without dismissing the functional ones. The two new member-based Communities of Practice for Urban Health and Urban Mobility are most promising and warmly welcomed by the Board. Other member-based initiatives include intentions to establish the so-called regional chapters, i.e. to cluster members from neighbouring countries – as currently is the case of the Balkans area, in the so called ‘Eurodelta’ (Europe’s invisible megalopolis from London to Frankfurt and from Amsterdam to Paris) and in the ASEAN region. We hope that these ideas will further materialise and call upon our members to suggest more viable regional chapters and thematic community groups, collectively contributing to Planetary and ISOCARP Cyber Agora. The Board is committed to support these initiatives by establishing a Task Force Cyber Agora, in close cooperation with established working groups such as WG Publications and WG Members.

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