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PR 62 - Planning's role fighting global crisis addressed on eve of World Town Planning Day

07 November 2008

Two international events have highlighted the fundamental role planning should play in responding to the urgent global challenges of explosive urbanisation, steep rises in poverty, widening inequalities and the catastrophic consequences of climate change.

The Global Planners Network (GPN) Congress, held in Zhenjiang, China (31 October – 02 November) and the World Urban Forum 4 (WUF4), held in Nanjing, China (03 – 07 November) both addressed planning's centrality in addressing these issues.

Top line messages addressed at the events included:

• At WUF4, World Bank East Asia & Pacific Urban Sector Director, Keshav Varma, told delegates at the opening plenary that urban planning is the key.
• In his communication to WUF4 delegates, HRH Prince Charles said we cannot have sustainable communities without sustainable urbanisation, and without planning there is no sustainable urbanisation.
• Addressing the GPN Congress, UN-HABITAT Executive Director Anna Tibaijuka acknowledged the role of planning and called on the GPN to build on its achievements by:
o Broadening membership;
o Making its voice heard;
o Sharing knowledge, experience and skills.
• In its closing communiqué, the GPN Congress resolved to respond to the challenges by:
o Championing strategic, integrative, inclusive and pro-poor planning;
o Building capacity;
o Broadening its reach by connecting planners across the world ;
o Strengthening links with other professionals, politicians and civil society concerned with the future of human settlements;
o Sharing and disseminating lessons and good practices;
o Holding another GPN Congress in Montréal and returning to WUF5 in Rio de Janeiro in 2010.

These shared concerns are timely with World Town Planning Day being celebrated on Saturday 8th November. The event, introduced in 1949, is a global opportunity to recognise people involved in the planning process, celebrate the achievements of planning and educate the community about planning's positive impacts on their livability. To mark the day the RTPI has been inviting its members to submit an idea which they could do or put forward in their day job to help alleviate or adapt to climate change. For more information, visit


For further information contact:
Sophie Stapleton, RTPI Communications Manager, +44 (0) 20 7929 9479


1. The Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI)
RTPI is a dynamic organisation leading the way in the creation of places that work now and in the future. We understand that just as people develop places, so places develop people. We are committed to the enhancement of our natural and human environment, using spatial planning to manage competing pressures on our built environments and the very real effects on our space. Through our members, we constantly seek to create areas and places in which people want to live and work.
As well as promoting spatial planning, RTPI develops and shapes policy affecting the built environment, works to raise professional standards and supports members through continuous education, training and development.
For further general information, visit the RTPI website at:
The RTPI, 41 Botolph Lane, London, EC3R 8DL is a registered charity in England 262865 and Scotland SC037841.
2. The Global Planners Network (GPN) brings together planning organisations from 25 countries from around the world. Its aims and objectives are set out in the 2006 Vancouver Declaration and the accompanying document 'Reinventing Planning' which can be found on the GPN website.
3. Documentation from the GPN's Congress in Zhenjiang will also be made available on the same website including the closing communiqué and the Action Plan.
4. The RTPI as a founder member of the GPN is deeply committed to its aims and objectives.
5. The RTPI and the Commonwealth Association of Planners (CAP), with generous support from the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy and the RTPI Trust, is spearheading GPN efforts to enhance global planning capacity and is undertaking research of existing global capacity.
6. The capacity assessment is an online self-diagnostic tool aimed at everyone involved in planning human settlements around the world. Information about this work is available on the international page of the RTPI website.
7. For further information, please contact