Global Planners Network Summer 2019 Meeting

July 23, 2019

Ottawa, CIP Conference, July 6, 2019

Present: Jeff Soule, APA; Ian Tant, RTPI; Victoria Hills, RTPI; Michael Kolber, APA; Harry Burchill, CIP; Joel Albizo, APA; Kurt Christiansen, APA; Steve O’Connor; Jon Kohl; Brendan Nelson, PIA; Beth McMahon; Kristin Agnello, CAP; Eleanor Mohammed, CIP


This was the first meeting following the transition of the secretariat to the Planning Institute of Australia, with Steve O’Connor (PIA) chairing the meeting. PIA will be updating the files on the website as well as the contacts for members of GPN.

World Town Planning Day (WTPD)

The 70th Anniversary of World Town Planning Day occurs this year, and we will add links to the University of Buenos Aires (Carlos Maria della Paolera), which founded World Town Planning Day. Our colleagues at the Planning Association in Chile will help us to see about the connection to Argentina and follow up at the next meeting.

One part of WTPD will be a Global Presidents Message which will, among other things, address social equity and inclusion, climate change, and indigenous actions. A draft is being developed.

Mutual Recognition and CEOs Conversations

From time to time, the notion of mutual recognition of planning credentials has been raised. Various recognition arrangements were removed by RTPI several years ago. This is one of the future topics for the CEOs’ conversation. This opportunity for the planning organization CEOs to speak regularly is in its early stage, and the CEOs have had their first teleconference.

Strategy Session:

What can GPN do that organizations can’t do individually?

  • There is greater strength in approaching this as a group — a collective view is received far better
  • GPN very helpful when we go international; But not as valuable at a local level? How do we help transfer outside knowledge into our individual organizations?
  • GPN can help countries without planning organizations getting started.
  • There are organizations that connected with similar groups in different countries to look at as models.
  • We currently have a somewhat stratified membership — it doesn’t seem to reflect our values. Our list should be combined.
  • GPN needs to do a better job reaching out to all our members. The first step is to update the contact list.
  • The 10th World Urban Forum will occur in Abu Dhabi next February. A draft side event will be prepared and submitted. We should plan for our participation and be proactive in our efforts and decide what themes that we want to focus on.
  • Planners for Climate Action was created in November 2017 and is very active. Can we work with them and also use some of their strategies?
  • We should continue to focus on the SDGs and the New Urban Agenda.
  • Diversity & Equity
    • Western thinking may not resonate around the world
    • CAP awards is an example of how Caucasians dominate through leadership and funding. Cultural diversity and equity is so important. We need to speak up and create safe space for people to speak up
    • What we really need to focus on is a culture change. We need a separate discussion on this topic.
  • Healthy and sustainable housing should be among our topics
  • GPN doesn’t need to be a content creator but a network for sharing — a planning community that can share information.
  • Caribbean Planners Association uses Facebook but not so much Twitter. We need to explore all communication mediums to help to reach out to our members.
Governance and Awards Idea

Everyone is supportive of the CEOs driving the discussion on governance during the bi-monthly calls. It was suggested that each Institute nominate one award to highlight an award — links on the GPN website — aligned to SDGs. Concerns were raised about equity and diversity within the GPN at the moment. The decision was to wait on this idea until we are in a better position with representation.

We will continue to try out Basecamp and see how it works. Members would like to move to a video conference — Meet Me, for example. PIA will investigate and report back.

CIP reported just over 800 delegates at its centennial conference in Ottawa. There is a high level of engagement throughout Canada, and issues of indigenous reconciliation are something from which we can all learn.

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