International
Federation for
Housing and
Planning

Think big, Act local

On September 16-19 2012 the IFHP and the City of Gothenburg held four day Congress at the recently established and extravagant Clarion Hotel Post in the heart of Gothenburg.

This year’s Congress was full of networking opportunities and inspiring presentations from an impressive list of prominent speakers from the Nordic countries to Canada and South Africa.

Hundreds of professionals in the field of housing and planning came together to share ideas and experiences, listen to lectures and attend study visits around the city. All activities during the Congress revolved around the central theme ‘The Inclusive City in a Global World’ and created a platform for the participants to share their knowledge and experiences in a variety of fields and pointed out the importance of inclusiveness and involvement.

The goal was to develop an understanding of the different levels of urban development from different perspectives. Especially the local aspect of planning was a hot topic on this year’s Congress. Instead of acting global the suggestion was to start with a local perspective and local actions before going global.

An interesting perspective came from Senior Editor of The Automatic Earth, Nicole Foss (CAN). In her presentation “Urban Planning Challenges in an Era of Financial Crisis” she stated that urban planning need to be prepared for the worst possible economical scenario. Another noteworthy presentation, “Effective Partnerships for Inclusive Growth: Getting from Vision to Action”, came from Chief Executive of the Cape Town Partnership, Andrew Boraine (ZA), who spoke about the need for new institutions to deal with the challenges we face. According to Boraine we need new forms of collaboration to find solutions that provide a more sustainable society.

Thus, looking back at this year’s IFHP World Congress it seems obvious that the major challenge of the ‘inclusive city’ lies in the social sustainability as well as handling the urban diversity. Many citizens do not feel that they are part of their city. There is a huge responsibility around the world in making cities for people by bridging the gap between planning and people. The 57th IFHP World Congress indeed sent a strong message: we need to create the world together, citizens and planners, from north to south, from east to west. Think big, act local