We are ready in WUF9 to talk about our young planning professionals’ programmes with ITACUS!
ISOCARP IN WUF 9: President Ric Stephens and VP Young Planning Professionals Zeynep Gunay in ITACUS side event, Underground Spaces for the Cities of the Future. The side-event on Thursday 8 February, gathered over 70 people who were welcomed by ITACUS co-chair Han Admiraal.
In Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, participants from 173 countries have gathered from 7 – 13 February 2018 for the ninth World Urban Forum (WUF9). Over 25,000 people registered for WUF9, and during this week, some 470 organizations and representatives of Member States took part in nearly 560 events. Out of over 1,000 applications, ITACUS was chosen to host a side-event on ‘Underground Spaces for the Cities of the Future’. The side-event on Thursday 8 February, gathered over 70 people who were welcomed by ITACUS co-chair Han Admiraal.
“ITACUS SHOWS TOOLS FOR ACTION ON UNDERGROUND SPACE”
During a side-event at WUF9, ITACUS showed its tools for action on underground space that can be used at both the local and national level. Together with ISOCARP, the International Society of City and Regional Planners, ITACUS is running the Young Professionals Think Deep Programme. The aim of this programme is to help cities look at planning issues by enabling a dialogue between professionals who work together for a week, focussing on a concrete urban planning case. This tool not only helps cities because it generates multiple solutions, the awareness of underground space is raised among professionals. In that sense, the tool is all about capacity building. ITACUS activity group leader Petr Salak and ISOCARP vice-president YPP, Zeynep Gunay, shared their enthusiasm with the audience on this programme.
A second tool is the ITACUS National Action Think Deep Programme. Through the Member Nations of ITA, local Think Deep groups are started that discuss the use of underground space in their region. These groups are in a unique position as they can organise workshops on for example recommendations for changes in legislation. Although the concept of underground space is universal, the application takes place in a local context. This is where National Think Deep groups can make a big difference. Petr Salak as co-founder of Think Deep UK and Abidemi Agwor of Think Deep Naija in Nigeria talked about the success of setting up these national groups.
It was evident that dialogue and involving young professionals are key for capacity building in terms of underground space. At the same time, both tools can also generate concrete results that can be used in practice.
“URBAN UNDERGROUND SPACES CONTRIBUTE TO NEW URBAN AGENDA”
Shipra Narang Suri of UN-Habitat stressed the importance of underground space in the urban context. The use of underground space can help cities remain compact, be energy efficient or find the space needed to include new functions in the existing city landscape, she indicated. She also pointed out the need for dialogue between professionals: ‘Planning the underground space coupled with the development of legal frameworks will require planners and decision-makers to work together with new knowledge and understanding of the specific constraints and opportunities’. Her words were underlined by Ric Stephens, president of ISOCARP, the International Society of City and Regional Planners. He specifically noted the way that ISOCARP and ITACUS have developed a collaboration over the years and how the awareness of urban planners is growing on the importance of underground space.
Taking questions from the floor it became evident that there is an enthusiasm to look more at urban underground spaces. The conclusion was that the role underground space can play in implementing the New Urban Agenda now has to permeate all levels of government. Inclusive planning is needed to develop resilient infrastructure that is needed for the cities of the future as just one example of how underground space can help implement the New Urban Agenda.”
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