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Outcome of the YPPA: Young Planning Professionals Award

The Award theme for 2014 was ‘Heritage conservation and sustainable urban development’, being also the theme of the 4th EUSS.

The third Young Planning Professionals Award (YPPA) was organised, as the previous two, as part of the European Urban Summer School (EUSS) in which IFHP is a partner. The EUSS was organised this year by the Centre d’Etudes Supérieures en Aménagement (CESA) of the École Polytechnique de l’Université de Tours, France (EPU-DA), under the leadership of Ass. Prof. Laura Verdelli. It was held from 1st-8th September. IFHP is one of the partners of the EUSS, led by AESOP , and is the initiator and lead coordinator of the YPPA.


The theme of both the YPPA and EUSS this year was ‘Heritage conservation and Urban Sustainable Development’: how do you reconcile the present-day demands for sustainable development with the desire to retain the character and form of historical town centres and buildings? The prize for the YPPA winners was free registration, travel and accommodation to the whole of the EUSS.


The YPPA jury, consisting of representatives of IFHP, AESOP, ISOCARP and the Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and Environment, who financed the YPPA, chose three winners and one runner up.


The outright winner was Fernando Navarro from Barcelona, Spain, who wrote and presented a paper entitled ‘Urban and socio-cultural renewal planning performance’ on a very innovative, effective and participatory new project called elCASC  in the historical centre of Villena in Catalonia, Spain. The approach was to home in on the custom in the town of holding several short socio-cultural events annually, by organising a festival consisting of a series of workshops, lectures and activities during 10 summer days. At the festival, more than 100 students from all over the world and different disciplines thought, designed and developed on-site practical solutions under the guidance of expert tutors, officials from the town’s historical office and people from local neighbourhood associations. The aim was to devise and deliver low-cost architectural, artistic, socio-cultural and technological interventions in the town that could be seen as a future model for low-cost solutions to the urban problems of the historical city centre and contribute to the educative diffusion of the values of the city’s heritage in a sustainable way.


The second winner was Cexiang Foo from Singapore, who wrote and presented a paper on ‘Developing Sustainable Communities and Tourism through Heritage Conservation, using case studies from Taiwan’. He put forward a framework for establishing heritage conservation as a starting point for the development of sustainable communities and tourism. On the basis of this framework, he used case studies to illustrate the action strategies that drive the process, tackling two main challenges: how to generate civic and civilian interest in heritage conservation and to show how conservation can be economically and ecologically sustainable.


The third winner was Nasos Alexis, from Heraklion, Crete, Greece, who wrote and presented a paper on ‘The cities green necklace: Public spaces with cultural value and sustainable integration of an historical monument into the urban fabric and city life of Heraklion.’ He examined how Heraklion, in a time of extreme financial restriction and after years of allowing developers to destroy many heritage treasures, re-discovered the importance of its historical heritage by renovating its old Venetian defensive fortifications and other remaining examples of Heraklion’s past and turning them into urban elements not just to be admired by tourists but also to be used by its inhabitants, thereby integrating them into urban fabric of the city and increasing its social and economic sustainability.


The runner up was Anna Peralta Zaragoza, also from Barcelona, Spain, who wrote and presented a paper on ‘Strategies for the sustainable development of three villages in the province of Tarragona in Spain’. At a time when urban land use in Spain has doubled in the past 20 years, presenting serious ecological and economic sustainability problems, and existing, approved, land use plans are still reflecting this trend, the paper presents alternative, more sustainable plans for three villages in Tarragona, Spain. These plans find a balance between high environmental quality and functional uses whilst retaining the essential historical and cultural identity of the villages.


Unfortunately, Cexiang Foo was not able to attend the EUSS due to professional obligations, but his paper, like those of the other winners, will be included in the Proceedings of the 2014 EUSS in Tours. The aim is to publish this book by the end of the year or very shortly afterwards. Its publication will be announced on the IFHP and other EUSS partner websites.


This is the third and final year in which the Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and Environment subsidises the YPPA. All three organisations involved in its organisation – AESOP, IFHP and ISOCARP – are extremely grateful for the opportunity offered to young planning professionals from different countries to meet to express and exchange their ideas on contemporary issues. We trust that the Ministry has achieved its aim of bringing together young professionals in an international learning environment and encouraging them to come up with innovative answers to important contemporary planning issues. The EUSS will continue to be held.


>> More informaion on the YPPA.