SCUPAD in Ethiopia and our year ahead

The following message was written by our current and past presidents Roberto Rocco and Stephen Goldsmith reflecting on our congress in Addis Ababa and our future work. Following this message, I have included some photos providing impressions of our visit to Addis Ababa.


Dear SCUPADians:

Greetings! Our Congress in Addis Ababa was a great success. With close to one hundred people attending our opening plenary session, we had an engaged audience that included our members, students from the Ethiopian Institute of Architecture, Building Construction and City Development (EiABC), and distinguished faculty members. The discussions were meaningful and addressed challenges that citizens in Addis are facing at scales that we have not usually addressed in our Congresses.

In our effort to bring our ears and eyes to the city to understand more about the scope and urgency of rapid urbanization in Addis, we came away with both a deeper understanding of the challenges they face and new relationships with committed professionals wanting to expand collaboration with SCUPAD and individual members. Zegeye’s tireless work, along with his extraordinarily generous staff and colleagues, made the event a life-long memory for all of us. For this, we publicly express once again our heartfelt thanks to Zegeye, staff and students at EiABC.

Of particular note was the presentation by physician Dr. Molla Gedefaw, who serves in the Ministry of Health in Addis. Dr. Gedefaw eloquently described the consequences of planning practices in the region that fail to address the complexity of environmental, social and economic interdependencies. Specifically, he pointed out the need for what he described as a “multi-sectorial approach to planning.”  As he described the public health problems which are emerging there due to a lack of integrated planning policies, we heard about the increasing rates of asthma, diabetes, automobile and pedestrian accidents and obesity that his office has to manage. “Nobody ever consults with us when making planning decisions,” reported Dr. Gedefaw. He went on to say that, “we are the ones who have to respond to the health consequences of planning decisions, yet we are not involved in the planning processes at all.” His words, along with his commitment to the health of those living in Addis brought our audience to new places of understanding and a new sense of urgency regarding our work.

As SCUPAD enters a new phase in its existence, with increasing participation of people from the Global South, we hope to build upon both the energy and wisdom that grew out of our time in Addis. We believe that the new voices we heard in Addis can join our chorus of devoted professionals in ways that can inform all of our work, no matter where we live. SCUPAD’s future as an organization is committed to expanding knowledge and advancing creative responses to the problems people around the world are addressing. The role of SCUPAD in working together with professionals, academic and citizens has never been more promising, or as urgent.

Our next Congress in Salzburg will address the urgency of migration, all types of migration, as another example of the urgent problems we face around the globe. We will be sending more information to you very soon. Until then, please know that we look forward to seeing you again at the Schloss in May 2017, and beginning a new chapter in SCUPAD’s legacy of engagement.

With all good wishes,

Roberto Rocco, President                                                Stephen Goldsmith, Immediate Past President

The following photos give some impressions from the congress and student workshop:

What Makes SCUPAD Great?

This post was first written by our then vice president Ivan Stanic. We repost it here to give you an idea what is great about SCUPAD and how it differs from other meetings of planning and development experts:

There might be larger and more prestigious planning associations, but … how often can one participate in multi-national, trans-generational and inter-disciplinary discussions with young as well as experienced professionals covering the wide range of fields planners and development experts?
Once a year at the annual SCUPAD Congresses.

Does a property developer willingly sit at the same table with a published academic, community activist, planning consultant, public official, young professional or even student to discuss pending planning issues, whether closer to global concerns or simple, yet complex real practical situations?
At SCUPAD Congresses always!

Obtaining first-hand presentations on planning and development issues worldwide, as well as responses from the actual person involved with either their preparation, decision-making or implementation reinforces respect for perseverance and commitment of the individual person – the planning professionals working as a consultant, public official, elected person or teacher or the team: the player driving the development or planning process.
SCUPAD provides those presentations.

It is always amazing to hear concerns that could easily be uttered by oneself, from the lips of a person living and working halfway around the world, a person coming from a different territory, planning culture, societal development condition or general experience: The questions sound the same, yet their understanding varies, as can be seen from successes on similar issues resolved by private planners or adequate governmental responses, but even learning that successful procedures used in one place can often lead to the opposite end result elsewhere.
SCUPAD discussions widen your understanding.

Of course, the pre-condition for any successful organisation that strives for better planning, empathy in development and good will is the open-mindedness of its members and desire to regularly think and rethink one‘s professional positions in our ever-changing world.
SCUPAD opens your mind.

Meeting annually in an almost iconic, globally revered place provides the necessary setting for self-comtemplation, while the Alpine backdrop induces a specific humbleness and modesty, which can erase the boundaries conditioned by social standing, professional dogmas or cultural and historical blinders one carries intentionally or unknowingly in one‘s mind.
Schloss Leopoldskron provides this for SCUPAD!

Since 1966 SCUPAD has organized congresses dealing with contemporary planning and development issues, which were attended by planners from every continent. Recently, with better promotion policies, the obtained know-ledge has become available to all individuals that desire more ethics, empathy and exchange of ideas in planning through the publication of congress materials
… available on the SCUPAD Website.



Continue reading “What Makes SCUPAD Great?”