Planning for Resilient Cities and Regions
The Congress focuses on resilience which has become a new banner for various societal and related planning efforts in cities and regions across the globe. These efforts generally aim to sustain the urban and rural viability and improve the quality of life for their residents amidst the global economic and socio-political crisis and climate change. The concept of resilience relates to the degree to which various environments and systems can tolerate changing conditions and circumstances before adapting and reorganising around a new set of structures and processes. While the concept is sometimes understood only as resilience to climate change and geo environmental hazards, we propose its utility to planning and development be explored in broader terms – as an approach to the multifaceted nature of local and global challenges. In fact, one may consider the ability to adapt and change as an indicator of resilience.
The field of planning has long had a role in mediating the relationships and dealing with the complex and multiscalar nature of development, drawing together environmental and ecological understanding with insights from social, economic and political theory, and applying these spatially in a built environment context. The contemporary challenges require innovative and sustainable solutions in the creation of more resilient and adaptive cities and regions, which balance economic competitiveness, environmental protection and social flourishing. These solutions derive in part from spatial planning, building on the roles of urban design, community engagement and technological innovations to ensure that urbanisation is managed in a sustainable manner. The 16 Congress tracks reflect the breadth of the planning field and will address the general theme of resilience implicitly and explicitly to varying extents, specificity, aspects and scales. There will be an opportunity to engage with the concept and explore its applicability and value in the planning and development research and practice.
Given the Irish context and the rich learning experiences that its past and recent trends in urban and rural development offer, the general theme could also connect to the Celtic brand of resilience. In addition, there is an opportunity to examine planning issues from peripheral (edge) as well as "in between" positions and perspectives. This applies to Ireland as much as it does to the new EU accession countries in east and southeast Europe in particular. With the joint involvement of AESOP and ACSP, it is expected that the conversations will take special regard for cross-societal and cross-cultural themes and promote exchanges between the American and European as well as participants from other continents. We hope that new and unique content will be infused to reflect the variety of local contexts and circumstances which offer true laboratories for studying planning issues and challenges.