At the invitation of the Urban Planning Society of China (UPSC), ISOCARP will hold its next Congress in Dalian, China. Its Secretary General, Shi Nan, is chairing the Local Organising Committee. Three other Chinese sponsoring institutions have joined UPSC: the China Academy of Urban Planning and Design, the Chinese Society for Urban Studies and the Ecological Society of China.
The theme, proposed by our hosts: “Urban growth without sprawl”, is particularly timely, as urban sprawl is a key feature of today’s urban growth worldwide, not least in China.
Urban Sprawl is mixing built space and residual open fields. Indeed some 3 billion people live in “urban” areas but that notion only means the transformation from natural to artificial spaces.
Making liveable places, caring for people and nature and favouring social inclusion, is more than ever a duty to the decision makers and their professional advisers.
As my predecessor Alfonso Vegara said two years ago in “Four Decades of Knowledge Creation and Sharing” ISOCARP is endeavouring to provide opportunities for bridging the gap between young and less young professionals, and between cultures, both through the congress papers and through its task-oriented young planning professionals (YPP) workshops, that take place just prior to our congresses. This year they will be related to the Dalian urban and port development challenges.
The Congress will again give us the opportunity to hear the results of the latest ISOCARP Urban Planning Advisory Teams (UPAT - formerly known as Urban Task Forces), expert teams mixing members of different generations and cultures, which advise authorities on pending planning issues (for the ones of last year, see reports in isocarp.net of June and December 2007 – www.isocarp.org).
The expanded website is another tool for building bridges between members and institutions of different backgrounds and based in different regions. Full use will be made of it in the preparation of the Dalian Congress.
Detlef Kammeier, General Rapporteur of the Congress, has a long time teaching and professional practice in the Asia Pacific Region as well as in his native Germany. He will by himself embody the bridge between generations and cultures, as well as the academic expertise required to make the highest and best use of the abundant material flowing in.
We have high expectations for this Congress and look forward to welcoming many of you in Dalian.