It was on the 10th BIENNALE OF VENICE IN ARCHITECTURE in summer 2006 when it was the first time of Earth’s history officially announced that half of the world population already lives in urban settlements. This could be a good reason of rising the importance of spatial planning and spatial planners. Alas it was only two years later that the overheated real estate “balloon” exploded at the Wall Street Exchange in NY, that caused the years long recession in Europe and locally in Slovenia bankruptcy of all larger construction companies. Consequently architects, urban designers and spatial planners became largely unoccupied.

After six years of recession the growth of European economies started again and it is time to rethink what will be the future of urban and spatial planning. First of all it will be time to solve the less pleasant open problems like: unfinished constructions and decaying “torsos” of stopped projects due to bankruptcy of most construction companies in Slovenia. These included also bad maintenance of our “monuments” from close past. Now it will be time to solve the global visions of the future urban and spatial planning but at the same time also problems that are close to Europe in the few last years. Indirectly we are co-responsible for the big tragedy in our close vicinity that started with the so called “Arab spring” in 2010 or actually already in 2003 with the invasion of USA and UK military forces on “Husein’s Iraque” though no hidden weapons for mass destruction were ever found there.

If the member states of European Union are now in the phase of preparing the destruction the system of illegal transport of refugees across the Mediterranean Sea (with which the organizers are now in Libya earning unimaginable sums of money) it will not stop the flow of refugees from battlefields in Near East and Africa. War destructions of urban areas in those countries and regions will remain as the most direct reason for mass migration of thousands of fugitives to the “promised peaceful land – European Union”!

Even in the proverbial historical disagreements between Sunni, Shia and Curds the Europeans has its already a little forgotten responsibility .After the end of the First WW the Ottoman empire was disintegrated and the winning Allied European forces were designing the border lines of newly established different Arabic states of the Middle East. The border lines were schematic and defined more to please the interests of the European powers. From the very beginning they already implied the reasons for different future war conflicts. Immediately after the Second WW the never ended  Israel  - Palestina war started and then from mid seventies till late eighties the internal Lebanon 16 years long war took place.

In this part of Earth so deeply divided it seems to be impossible to create conditions for more tolerate cohabitation of different non tolerate believers. This is the picture of today’s belligerance conditions of Middle East. But can we find out in spite of such situation what kind of useful task the urban and spatial planners can do.

Maybe the useful and important role of urban planners can be the creation physical and social living conditions for refugees saved directly from the boats in Mediterranean Sea. The young refugees trying to avoid wars could be considered as a very positive input in to the fast aging population of all European Union Member States. The mistakes from past segregation of “foreigners” into new satellite settlements close to historical urban centers with little or none possibilities to find occupation for young and even educated foreigners should be avoided.

As long as the bloody wars will continue the flow of refugees will not be possible to stop. The European Union will not be able to do any other solution then start to include the refugees into every days’ life activities of Europe’s home inhabitants. The urban and spatial planners will have to dedicate more thinking about social and econom8c cohesion, while the spatial cohesion will become more important in the next phase or only then when most of the wars will be stopped.

There is an absolute impotence of stopping the war by United Nations and by the world super powers. The only graspable success was the USA airplanes’ bombing that saved from occupation the city of Kobane (the last Kurd City in Syria on the very Turkish border) by Islamic State Forces. Never the less the Islamic State Forces are in command of almost all the border between Iraq and Syria. At the same time they already occupy Palmyra only 215 kilometers from Damascus.

The Middle East towns where the war is going on are becoming more and more similar to the Nepal’s Capital Katmandu, which was totally destroyed by the massive earthquake. We hope the ground under Mount Everest and Himalaya will settle down soon. Hopefully the battles going on in Middle East will finally stop too. And then in the close future the times will return when the urban and spatial planners will be performing their profession the way they have been taught and they can perform it best: design and construct new settlements all over the globalizing World.

PETER BASSIN, M A, GSD Harvard University

Slovenia, July 2015

News Archives

Just out: The first of the Royal Town Planning Institute’s centenary papers in the Planning Horizons series. Thinking Spatially: Why places need to be at the heart of policy-making in the twenty-first century. Illustrated, closely-argued and fully referenced, the paper shows that by thinking...Read More
Message from The Latvian Presidency:   Dear Colleagues, The Latvian Presidency team in the field of territorial cohesion and urban matters would like to thank you very much for close and efficient collaboration during the Latvian Presidency! Finalising the Presidency duties, we would...Read More
The 7th World Urban Forum ( WUF ) will be held in Medellin (Colombia) from 5 to 11 April 2014.The WUFs are the biggest events centred around human habitat . These are biannual events organized by UN-HABITAT, where meet and discuss governments, local authorities, NGOs , financial groups, academics,...Read More
International Young Planning Professionals Award (YPPA), 2014, 1st-8th September, Tours, France     >>>   online application form and abstract submission   <<<   Introduction The Directorate responsible for planning at the Dutch Ministry...Read More
second-espon-2013-scientific-report Science in support of European Territorial Development and Cohesion   February 2014 – One of the objectives of the ESPON Programme is to support the European wide research community in the field of European territorial science and to involve a wide European network of...Read More
During the World Urban Forum 7 in Medellin, both Lluís Brau and Joris Scheers will (re)present the ECTP with presentations on the memorandum of understanding between UN-Habitat and ECTP and on the European Charter. Follow them on Twitter @scheerjo> More info <Read More
The 7th World Urban Forum ( WUF ) will be held in Medellin (Colombia) from 5 to 11 April 2014.The WUFs are the biggest events centred around human habitat . These are biannual events organized by UN-HABITAT, where meet and discuss governments, local authorities, NGOs , financial groups, academics,...Read More
It was on the 10th BIENNALE OF VENICE IN ARCHITECTURE in summer 2006 when it was the first time of Earth’s history officially announced that half of the world population already lives in urban settlements. This could be a good reason of rising the importance of spatial planning and spatial...Read More
world-town-planning-day-2016-international-online-conferenceWorld Town Planning Day Online Conference NOVEMBER 8WELCOME ABOUT 2016 CONFERENCEWorld Town Planning Day (WTPD) is an international day celebrating the accomplishments of planners and their contributions to their communities. On November 8, planners in more than 30 countries participate in World Town...Read More
cities-are-starting-to-put-pedestrians-and-cyclists-before-motorists-that-makes-them-nicer-and-healthier-to-live-inArticle from THE ECONOMIST  Urban planning Streetwise Cities are starting to put pedestrians and cyclists before motorists. That makes them nicer—and healthier—to live in Sep 5th 2015 | GURGAON | From the print edition At 6am on a...Read More
seismic-scoping-paperThis paper can raise knowledge and understanding about EU and its components.It provides a concise and clear overview of EU institutions, policies, funds etc related to urban and planning aspects.Although the paper concerns social innovation the overview is most relevant for informing those who are...Read More
Spatial planning: 16th session of the CEMAT and 97th meeting of the Senior Officials of the CEMAT, Nafplion, Greece, 16-17 June 2014 The 16th session of the Council of Europe Conference of Ministers responsible for Spatial/Regional Planning (CEMAT) took place in Napflion (Greece) on 17...Read More
deregulation-in-polandPolish Planning Chamber under threat of liquidation The Polish government plans to abolish all formal rules for the exercise of Spatial Planning in Poland. The ECTP-CEU strongly supports the Polish Planning Chamber.   Letter from Jacek Sztechman, President of The Polish Chamber of Urban...Read More
excellence-in-planning-education-local-european-global-perspective Planning Education No 3:Excellence in Planning Education:Local, European & Global Perspective Planning Education No 3. Excellence in Planning Education: Local, European & Global Perspective Edited by Izabela Mironowicz   In 2008 when Anna Geppert was editing the first issue of...Read More
young-planners-2014383rd Edition ECTP/ Young Planners Workshop 2014 Spatial planning and energy     http://www.paroc.com/campaigns/innova-project         http://sustentableysostenible.blogspot.com.es     3rd  ECTP/ Young Planners Workshop 2014 Spatial...Read More
about-us-2ECTP-CEU shares the sadness of the tragic news of the terrible fire accident in Bucarest. Mihai Alexander died in this accident, as well as 26 other people. Mihai, talented young planner, was with us in Dublin for the Biennial, where these photgraphs were made. Our sincere condolences to all his...Read More
This research project argues that we need to look at place-based factors of poverty and inequality; 'people-based' approaches on their own are not enough to tackle these issues. Better built environments and stronger place-based initiatives can support and promote employment, educational achievement,...Read More
awards2020call  THIS IS A TEST PAGE - Internal ONLY  - The Awards call is NOT yet launched / Ceci est une page test - uniquement à usage interne - l'appel aux projets n'est PAS encore lancé !! The XIIIth European Urban and Regional Planning Awards 2019-2020: call is OPEN soon Promoting...Read More
conclusions-of-the-sophie-project-are-available   Over the past few years, SOPHIE has accumulated evidence regarding the influence of social and economic policies on the health of the population and on social inequalities in health. At the same time, SOPHIE has shown how equity-oriented policies can ameliorate these health inequalities. These...Read More
EUROPEAN COUNCIL OF SPATIAL PLANNERSPresident of ECTP 1985Guus Franken 23 February 1933 - 21 April 2016 It was with great sadness that we learned that Guus died following a long period of ill health. With the support of his family and his wife Maud, he faced his health difficulty with great strength...Read More
2015-wtpd-online-conference-recordings Access the 2015 World Town Planning Day Online Conference Recordings 2015 Conference Recordings Thank you for registering for the World Town Planning Day Online Conference. We hope...Read More
rip-sir-peter-hallECTP-CEU joins the world of planning to pay tribute to Sir Peter Hall, deceaced July 30th 2014 Tribute from the RTPI: 31 July 2014 The RTPI is sad to learn news of the death of Sir Peter Hall, who is considered by many to be one of the foremost planners and academics of his generation....Read More
ectp-ceu-young-planners-workshop-2015-e-book-releasedThe European Council of Spatial Planners (ECTP-CEU) strongly supports and promotes the annual Young Planners Workshop. One of its central objectives is to bring young planning professionals together from different parts of Europe. By doing so, participants experience in a very direct way how different...Read More
fup   FORUM 11.05.2017BOZAR Center for Fine Arts BrusselsThe present proceedings summarize the interventions and discussions held at the FORUM of 2017.05.11 at BOZAR, Centre for Fine Arts Brussels Proceedings available: - complete (in French);- summurized in French / Dutch &...Read More
signature-of-the-european-charter-on-participatory-democracy-by-the-minister-president-of-the-government-of-the-brussels-capital-region-mr-rudi-vervoortEuropean Charter on Participatory Democracy ECTP-CEU is proud to announce the signature of the European Charter on Participatory Democracy by the Minister-President of the Government of the Brussels-Capital Region Mr Rudi Vervoort.     The European Charter on Participatory Democracy...Read More
world-town-planning-day-2015 Professional planners and allied professionals around the world will mark World Town Planning Day 2015 with an international online conference on:Housing Regeneration: Strengthening CommunitiesSee event infoSee websiteRead More
edoardo-salzano We share the sad news from Italy. Edoardo Salzano died at age 89, one of the most important town planners in Italy. Born in Naples, but based in Venice since 1974, over several decades he teached and made research in town planning at IUAV University. He also worked out many plans across the country...Read More
for-a-europe-of-regions-and-cities-the-view-of-young-people   As part of its 20th anniversary celebrations, the Committee of the Regions (CoR) will be inviting some 150 young people from a variety of youth organisations and European political parties, including students and interns from the EU institutions, the regional representation offices...Read More
giuseppevenuti Another sad news from Italy in less than one week.  Giuseppe Campos Venuti died at age 93.  “Bolognese from Rome”, as he liked to define himself, his contribution to the town planning debate in Italy was decisive.  Generations of students and professionals studied on his books and...Read More
the-xith-european-urban-and-regional-planning-awardsPress Release July 6, 2016: The XIth European Urban and Regional Planning Awards The XIth European Urban and Regional Planning Awards were presented by Mr Raffaele Cattaneo, President of the COTER at the Committee of the Regions on July 4th 2016. Mr Raffaele Cattaneo Three winning projects, their...Read More
max-fabiani-award The Town and Spatial Planning Association of Slovenia (TSPAS), in collaboration with the Max Fabiani Foundation, Ministry of Culture and Ministry of the Environment and Spatial Planning of the Republic of Slovenia, announces a call for theInternational Max Fabiani Award for 2005–2015...Read More
symposium  October 6, 2017, Jointly organized by City of Leuven, VRP and ECTP-CEUInternational symposium /Enhancing spatial efficiency in urbanized areas Download the presentations here: Welcoming words by Joris Scheers, president ECTP-CEU and Carl Devlies, First Elderman City of Leuven, responsible...Read More
lluis-brau-passes-awayLluis Brau - Our friend - our Honorary President It is with great sadness we received the news that our dear friend Lluis passed away. Lluis was for ECTP a tower of strength. He brought wisdom and integrity to all we engaged in. Qualities so much needed in our society which is being driven by those...Read More