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The International Society of City and Regional Planners (ISOCARP) is a non-governmental international association of professional planners. Founded in 1965 in a bid to bring together recognised and highly-qualified planners in an international network, it currently has 800 individual and institutional members from more than 80 countries. ISOCARP is formally recognized by the UN and Council of Europe and has a formal consultative status with UNESCO.[1]

In 2010 ISOCARP organized its annual 46th Congress in Nairobi with the theme "Sustainable City, Developing World".[2] The conference attracted over 1,000 participants from over 80 countries.[3] In the years that followed ISOCARP organized its congresses in Wuhan, PR China, "Liveable Cities: Urbanising World, Meeting the Challenge" (2011), in Perm, Russia, "Fast Forward: Planning in a (Hyper) Dynamic Context" (2012) and in Brisbane, Australia, "Frontiers of Planning, Evolving and declining models of City Planning Practice" (2013).[4] Future annual congresses of ISOCARP will be held in Gdynia, Poland, "Urban Transformations, Cities and Water" (2014)[5] and in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, "Cities Save the World, Let's Reinvent Planning" (2015).[6]


The ISOCARP president is elected for three years. The current and 15th president is prof. Milica Bajic-Brkovic, who replaced Ismael Fernández Mejía in 2012. At the ISOCARP congress in Gdynia, Ric Stephens (USA) is elected as incoming president for 2015-2018. The Executive Committee has 10 members. President Milica Bajic-Brkovic (Serbia), Secretary General prof. Didier Vancutsem (Germany/Belgium), Treasurer Guy Vloebergh (Belgium), Vice President Urban Planning Advisory Teams (UPATs) Martin Dubbeling (the Netherlands), Vice President Academic Development and ISOCARP Institute prof. Khalid El Adli (Egypt), Vice President Congresses and Events Slawomir Ledwon (Poland/Qatar), Vice President Young Planning Professionals (YPPs) prof. Piotr Lorens (Poland), Vice President Awards and Communication Pietro Elisei (Romania/Italy), Vice President Publications Shi Nan (China) and Vice President Technical Assistance and Projects Shipra Narang Suri (India). [7]


Urban planner and designer prof. Sam van Embden (1904-2000) founded the International Society of City and Regional Planners (ISOCARP) in 1965 with 40 other planning professionals. Van Embden was the first President of ISOCARP (1965-1975). ISOCARP has a strong record and reputation on a number of regular activities such as the annual congress, a strong series of publications, awards for best practices, training programmes, workshops for young planning professionals and urban planning advisory teams for professional support in urban planning. Next to these activities, ISOCARP is a society where individual members meet, exchanges ideas and work together on several occasions. The membership that is evenly divided between academics, planning professionals that work for local and regional planning organisations and designers and consultants from the private sector, provides in a network of around 800 members that is active in more than 80 countries. ISOCARP is recognised as a non-governmental organisation by the United Nations (UN), the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UNHCS/UN-HABITAT), and the Council of Europe. The Secretariat of ISOCARP has its office in The Hague. Membership is open for all planning professionals.

Key activities[edit]

Next to the annual congress, the workshops for Young Planning Professionals (YPP) and the Urban Planning Advisory Teams (UPATs) are amongst the key activities of ISOCARP. Both workshops bring planning professionals together from all around the world for four to six intensive days for creative solutions, strategic advise or both. The ISOCARP YPP and UPAT workshops in past few years in countries like Russia, China, Australia, Mexico and Kenya show that there is demand for expertise from international teams of planning professionals. The results of these workshops are presented and discussed with both the client at the last day of the workshop and with the members at the annual congresses. The results are also published at the ISOCARP website. ISOCARP YPP and UPAT workshops are organised on demand for cities en regions all over the world. Where YPP workshops with up to young 24 participants and one or two experienced coordinators or coaches vouch for untamed creativity and open-minded visions by the new generation of planners, UPAT workshops provide added value in complicated situations and environments where seniority and experience is required. The Urban Planning Advisory Teams generally consist of a team leader, a team rapporteur, two senior planners and two young planning professionals who have participated in one or more YPP workshops.[8]


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