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The Planning System We Need: Reviewing and Reforming Planning Systems for More Sustainable Cities and Regions

Kate Holmquist



Tuesday, June 28, 2022


Multifunction Hall Room 10
International Society of City and Regional Planners
TE 10


What Participants Will Learn: Participants will engage in training on what a sustainable planning system is and how to move toward systems-level review and reform. A sustainable planning system refers to the governance framework in place for formulating, developing and/or improving urban and territorial policies, plans, designs and implementation processes aimed at more compact, socially inclusive, better integrated and connected, and climate resilient cities and territories. Planning systems include both plans and processes that lead to joint decision making and plan implementation. On the ground the impacts of these complex planning systems may differ widely in terms of goal achievement, and thus review and reform are needed. How Sustainable Urban Development Objectives Will Be Advanced: The event will build skills and demonstrate approaches for assessing planning systems in order to advance sustainable urban development objectives. Existing planning systems are not (sufficiently) addressing pressing territorial issues directly related to sustainable development agendas, such as climate change, biodiversity protection and social inequality, and are no longer synced with decentralisation and new governance arrangements. Planning system review and reform contributes to sustainable urban development in two primary ways: · by developing a new international standard for planning systems at national, regional and local planning scales and governance levels · by developing new tools to help communities self-assess and self-reform their national, regional and local planning systems Who Are the End Beneficiaries? The target participants are planning practitioners and professionals who can contribute to review and reform of planning systems to ensure better development outcomes. The beneficiaries are local communities and authorities who benefit from new planning forms, which have the capacity to bring more sustainable development results to their cities.


ISOCARP Training Event Objectives: (1) Build an understanding of why current planning systems need to be reviewed and reformed; and introduce participants to key weaknesses in current planning systems, such as: plans that are outdated or rooted in colonialism, poor coverage of up-to-date plans, lack of progress in delivering sustainable development, and an overall lack of effective strategic planning to address cross-boundary issues. (2) Prepare participants to evaluate the need for planning systems review. (3) Provide tools for comprehensive assessment of the current gap in plan coverage and implementation, and for assessing the degree to which plans are achieving their goals of advancing urban resilience and are aligned within a system. (4) Build an understanding of the economic, environmental and social basis of urban and territorial planning; and identify the characteristics of healthy planning systems. (5) Prepare participants to define indicators to be used in planning system review and navigate the data collection and analysis dimensions of reviews. (6) Introduce participants to the process of designing and conducting planning system review in their own nations, regions and cities.