At its heart, planning is about equity: it serves to balance the competing demands and needs of all people and of the built and natural environment. Planning seeks to act in the public interest to ensure fairness in the use of land and resources between those in need of housing, of jobs, of services, and of infrastructure and those whose lives, property, or outlooks might be harmed by such development. And it serves to strike a fair balance in meeting the needs of the present generation with the future needs and quality of life of generations to come, applying the Sustainable Development Goals, adopted by world leaders at a historic UN summit in New York in 2015.
That is why planning is central to humankind’s efforts to address climate change and take decisive action to safeguard our land, homes, economies, and natural habitats so that future generations might share the benefits that present generations enjoy.
In seeking equity, planning must also recognise diversity. If we are to plan properly for the needs of all people, we must recognise their diverse lifestyles and requirements — not just those of city dwellers, rich, and poor, but of those living in our rural areas and of different ethnic groups, genders, sexual orientations, religions, and social status. There is a specific need to reconcile with indigenous peoples whose languages, cultures, histories, and land management practices must be understood and respected.
To recognise diversity and to plan for all peoples, planners must also become more inclusive. We need to encompass people from all backgrounds, all ethnicities, and all sections of society — and we must include these diverse backgrounds, cultures, and requirements in all aspects of our work, in our understanding, and in our profession.
On World Town Planning Day 2019 — the 70th anniversary of the first World Town Planning Day — we, the Presidents and Chairpersons of Planning Institutes, Councils, and Associations representing over 100,000 planners across the world, salute all planners and call on you to keep up your great efforts and to champion the causes of equity, diversity, and inclusivity in your work.
Brendan Allan, Vice President, Irish Planning Institute
Nicholas Buchoud, International Representative, La Societe Francaise des Urbansites
Kurt Christiansen, President, American Planning Association
Dyan Currie, President, Commonwealth Association of Planners
Vincent Goodstadt, Honorary President, European Council of Spatial Planners
Khirallah Ben Hafaiedh, Chair, Steering Committee, Tunisian Association of Town Planners
Trevion Manning, President, Jamaican Institute of Planners
Eleanor Mohammed, President, Canadian Institute of Planners
Steve O’Connor, National President, Planning Institute of Australia
Karyn Sinclair, Board Chair, New Zealand Planning Institute
Ian Tant, President, Royal Town Planning Institute
Carolyn Trench-Sandiford, President, Caribbean Planners Association
Khetha Zulu, Chairperson, South African Council for Planners
Martin Dubbeling, President, International Society of City and Regional Planners
Jens Kramer Mikkelsen, President, International Federation for Housing and Planning