Planning at the heart of events in Istanbul
A UK planner with knowledge of Turkey writes: There are many angles to these events. It started with a protest for protecting a park from development in central Istanbul and turned into something much larger than anybody ever imagined. This is one of the biggest, sustained, most imaginative and widespread protests ever witnessed in Turkey by groups of people who come from all walks of life, do not have any obvious leadership and are united by their desire for having a say in decisions about their lifestyles, cities, parks and public spaces. Thousands (perhaps hundreds of thousands) of people have been on the streets in cities up and down the country protesting since 31st May. Planners' professional bodies have been at the forefront, protesting against projects developed without any real strategic or local planning and more importantly without any meaningful public consultation. They were also at the Gezi Park protests. One of the most iconic images of the protests is the Lady in Red, a town planning lecturer in Istanbul being tear-gassed by the police at a close range. An Istanbul city planner has now been asked to meet the Prime Minister ago when the Government eventually signalled its intention to find a solution to the crisis.
What makes RTPI international?
RTPI is an international organisation. Five per cent of its 23,000 members live and work outside the UK, and it accredits planning courses overseas. The Institute has an International Committee and a dedicated International Affairs Officer.
RTPI is an active member of ECTP-CEU, the European Council of Spatial Planners and the Commonwealth Association of Planners. It is active in the Global Planners Network and with UN-HABITAT, the United Nations Human Settlements Programme. It's also a member of the International Federation for Housing and Planning, which celebrated its centenary in 2013.
Our International Contacts page will tell you more.
RTPI houses the UK Contact Point for ESPON (the European Observation Network on Territorial Development and Cohesion): the ESPON CP web-page explains this and offers a wide range of contacts, articles and references to help link EU spatial planning policy to our members' daily lives.
Intergrated Spatial Strategies: As part of its programme of contact with ARL, the German Academy of Spatial Research and Regional Planning, British and German academics and practitioners met in October 2011 to discuss Integrated Spatial Strategies: the full report is on the ARL website complete with excellent slide presentations.
Climate Change:The Global Report on Human Settlements (GRHS) is a key publication from UN-HABITAT every two years focusing on one main topic. In 2011 it was on Cities and Climate Change. The report is optimistic about change if action is taken now: well planned cities with efficient urban transport provision and solid adaptation and mitigation strategies can minimise their impact on climate and provide clear economic and social opportunities for their inhabitants. To see detailed information about the report (e.g. the very useful background briefings), click here. To download the abridged version free of charge, click here.
Disasters, risk reduction and disaster recovery
Earthquake and tsunami in Japan on 11th March 2011 The Development from Disasters Network continuously monitors the news coming in after geophysical disasers; we are monitoring it for planning news. Read more.
Earthquake in Christchurch, New Zealand The New Zealand Planning Institute (NZPI) has a news feed of information on the effects of the huge earthquake on 22nd February and is gearing up to offer hands-on planning expertise after the search-and-rescue operation. Read more
Queensland Floods The Planning Institute of Australia now provides a useful round-up of flood-recovery resources on its Policy pages.
Planners and others with a special interest in issues of international development and planning are encouraged to join the International Development Network. IDN has been instrumental in producing a booklet about the role of the built environment professions in international disaster response: you can download a copy here.
RTPI and CAP research for the Global Planners Network
RTPI and CAP are taking forward the GPN commitment to assessing the world's capacity for planning: where are the planners, who are they, what challenges face them and what tools do they need to do their job. In March 2008 RTPI and CAP invited planners from around the world to assess the capacity for planning in their country and the priorities for strengthening it. Within 5 months, over 1250 planners in over 100 countries responded by completing an on-line self-diagnostic tool. Taken together, these responses provide a rich account of what it means to practise planning throughout the world as volunteered by a good cross-section of the international planning community. What stands out is the extraordinary variety of issues that planners deal with in all kinds of development environments.
When the Global Planners Network met for its biennial Congress in Zhenjiang, China (31 October-2 November 2008), RTPI sent a delegation led by the President Janet O'Neill and including the researchers Will French and Lucy Natarajan. They presented the first findings of the capacity study to the Congress - the link on the research web-page will lead you to their report and its summary.
The work on the world's capacity for planning continues and has moved into a new phase. First, there are some detailed reports: a survey of the responses from Latin America, a briefing on issues of poverty and inequality, and an assessment of skills required. Next, responding to many heartfelt requests in the responses, we are working towards the creation of an on-line community of planners: a website where planners can exchange knowledge and experience, raise questions and start discussions. To read the latest newsletter about this part of the project, please click here.
Review of international strategic priorities
The UK Department for International Development has published a new White Paper on International Development, Building our Common Future. It argues that rather than turn away when things get tough, we need to redouble our efforts - and that development is in our shared interest. Announcing it, Douglas Alexander, Secretary of State for International Development, said "This White Paper will ensure that new and additional finance is made available, over and above our aid commitment to reach 0.7 per cent. of gross national income. We will also increase our investment in helping developing countries to mitigate and adapt to climate change."
RTPI has also considered its international priorities. You can see an introduction to a new Institute international strategy here.
World Town Planning Day - past and future
Every year, RTPI and its sister institutes in other countries including the USA, Australia, South Africa and Canada organise an international online conferencefor World Town Planning Day: you can follow progress on our WTPD page.