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From the Archives: IFHP Bulletin 1963

During 1963, IFHP celebrated its “Golden Jubilee”, or first 50 years of existence, in the Arnhem area in The Netherlands. The theme for the conference “Bigger Cities or More Cities?”

During 1963, IFHP celebrated its “Golden Jubilee”, or first 50 years of existence, in the Arnhem area in The Netherlands. The theme for the conference “Bigger Cities or More Cities?” reflected the same concerns Ebenezer Howard had some 50 years earlier, leading to the ‘Garden Cities’ concept.

The second IFHP Bulletin of 1963 contained a report on ‘The “Rhine-and-IJssel” Regional Plan’ prepared by the Provincial Planning service of Gelderland. The Rhine-and-IJssel region is the region where Arnhem is situated, and thus the conference was held.

                   

Now almost 50 years later reading the report some things strike me as a planning student. The first thing is the awkwardness of reading something that was written half a century ago and realising actually not much has changed, yet looking at the pictures they do seem from another time. Apparently the basic spatial structure, with Wageningen’s ‘Agricultural Academy’, ‘The Randstad Holland’, the ‘Veluwe’ as a recreational area, the highway ‘E-36’ (now the A12) to mention a couple of things, was already in place and since has just been added to.

Moreover realising that not only the spatial structure, but the issues planning deals with have basically stayed the same made the text appear more recent to me than it is. Some examples of issues that still keep planners and policy makers busy today are the diminishing amount of ‘the average number of persons per dwelling’, and the fact that the river Rhine is considered a ‘dividing-element in siting building’, yet ‘from the viewpoint of river control […] it is not admissible to reduce the profile of the river’s course.’

The proposed themes for next year’s centenary congress, Cities in Transition, Resilient Cities and Inclusive cities both recognize the fact that the (spatial) structures are in place, and at the same time the use of them changes. Looking back 50 years, this seems to be the case in the Arnhem area.

 

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