2013 IFHP Centenary
To celebrate 100 years of operations, IFHP will host a series of events in 2013 including a special Centenary Congress in London!
The Centenary will deal with the need for a new thinking about the present and future development and planning of human settlements. The activities planned for the Centenary aim at creating opportunities to share, discuss and develop solution-orientated knowledge for a better urban future. We also aim to involve more actors in the challenges facing the urbanised world.
‘A Tomorrow for Cities - for people, by people'.
Our themes and tracks refer back to a similar need 100 years ago when IFHP was founded under the slogan ‘Cities for To-morrow’. Then Ebenezer Howard and his contemporaries saw the huge social, environmental and health problems in Europe’s rapidly growing industrial cities and thought up a then quite radical overall concept for a better living urban environment – the Garden City. Planning as a new profession arose in order to deliver the spatial answer to burning social questions.
Over time, urban problems have not become less important, but quite the reverse. Cities have not only grown greater in terms of population and territory but also the majority of the world's population now lives in the cities. This makes urban dilemmas relevant to the majority of people and creates greater responsibility for urban professionals.
Today’s cities and society have become more complex, more dynamic, progressively dictated by modern technologies, and composed of an ever more informed and demanding populace. Today’s urban professionals are concerned with challenges facing not only Europe but our world’s cities. These challenges often differ between the so-called developed and developing countries. While Some of Europe’s cities face stagnation, even decline and the need for revitalization, whilst sub-Saharan Africa is dealing with some of the most rapid urbanisation in the world. As cities like London implement transportation congestion charges to encourage the use of public transit, elsewhere in developing countries there is a lack of basic mobility, connectivity and infrastructure (roads, sewers, clean drinking water, telephone lines). Even affordable housing manifests itself differently: in Glasgow and Birmingham, more adult-children remain living with their parents due to the lack of affordable housing, whereas in Nigeria landlords can demand up to one year of advance rent from new tenants, and the vast majority of houses are self-built and lack a formal title.
As our world has changed, new challenges have also emerged or gained new prominence: the need to rapidly adapt to changing economic, social and environmental circumstances and to be resilient to natural and other disasters; the inadequacy of modern democratic governance systems to deal with this rapid change; the greater demands of an educated populace for a liveable, human-scale environment; new and fluid social partnerships and communication forms; the rapidly changing (inter)relationships between public and private institutions and spaces, the impact of new communication and transport technologies; greatly increased, global mobility, the imbalance between growth, consumption and resources; the need for greater energy efficiency, the need to deal with both rapid expansion and decline.
Although they often arise from what can be considered positive developments (better standard of living, better education, modern technologies etc.), these are nonetheless major challenges, certainly when seen in combination. Tackling them needs as radical a change of thinking of urban planning and development as 100 years ago.
We need once more visionary, strategic, flexible thinking. The Centenary will orientate itself towards this new thinking, a new mind-set with a view to building up a practical content agenda relevant to dealing with these new, emerging urban issues into IFHP’s second century. The planned activities of knowledge generation and exchange in the present year leading up to the Centenary as well as during the Centenary year itself will focus on a selected number of specific issues amongst those mentioned above. The aim is that the knowledge gained from the activities and content agenda will contribute to a better Tomorrow for Cities.