2003 Congress Report: Cairo, Egypt.
“Planning for a globalising and competitive world”
Cairo, a 20 million population mega-city in a developing country provided a graphic context for planners to examine what they could contribute to assist such cities in accommodating the pressures of global competitiveness. Case studies examined places of globalisation, and what planning was doing generally in a globalising era; others dealt with more amenable changes of urban and social morphologies. Many examples came from developing countries and large cities, such as the massive expansion of ‘Shenyay in China, Istanbul‘s development strategy, Bangalore as a global IT hub, Singapore accommodating local nature and nurture to its global ambitions, influx of global institutions into Pakistan, globalisation of port cities, and Cairo itself, or Auroville, a fantasy project for a global city. Other impacts of globalisation concerned sustainable tourism, upgrading of informal settlements, governance of regionalisation, various other strategies to fight back adverse global effects at metropolitan level, and the relation between globalisation and local development generally.
Examples showed that mega-cities continued to grow at massive scale and density while edge cities became edgeless cities elsewhere. Even small cities were affected by global competition such as Antwerp with its global diamond trade, or learning cities in Australia with global ramifications of the virtual dimension of communication. What concrete conclusions can be drawn from such disparate examples for the planning profession remains to be seen. As Delfante remarked, it is not wrong to address global issues, as long as planners do not expect concrete pragmatic outcomes for practical purposes.