May 3 – 6, 2012

This year’s Congress seeks to examine the planning process that takes place before, during, and after major world events – events that often make headlines and appear on the “Frontpage” of international media. These “events” include large sporting events such as the Olympics or World Cup; natural and man-made disasters such as earthquakes and floods; and the reconstruction and rebuilding that occurs after major political, social, and economic upheavals. Specifically, we are interested in the following questions:

  • How does the planning process that takes place before an event compare to the planning process that happens afterwards?
  • What do planned and un-planned events share in common that might reflect anticipation, shock and response to major changes in cities and regions?
  • What is the role of risk or opportunity in planning for these events?
  • What are the short- and long-term effects of these events at multiple spatial scales, from the global to local?
  • What is the impact of deadlines in the planning process?
  • What is the role of media (print, electronic, internet, film and video) in convening citizen engagement in planning processes?

The congress will start with a keynote lecture and three case studies presented in the plenary. Following this, the Congress three parallel thematic tracks will offer the possibility to present and discuss papers by participants:

  1. Major World Events: In advance of the 2012 Summer Olympics in London and following the 2010 World Cup Championship in South Africa, the impact of events with worldwide significance is quite relevant. Cities seek to host these events for a variety of social and economic reasons, though the long-term impact of this sort of large-scale development is not always evaluated. While world sporting events come first to mind, we can also examine cultural events such as Biennials of the art and architecture worlds, as well as World Fairs and Expositions.
  2. Disasters: After the spate of natural disasters in the past few years that have wreaked havoc in cities and countries across the globe, we have experienced a shift in planning and reconstruction after natural disasters to developing the newer practice of planning in advance of impending disaster. These disasters are also usually man-made as well, exposing social inequities and shortfalls of public policy. Beyond disasters induced by weather or geomorphology such as floods, hurricanes, earthquakes, volcanoes, fires, and tsunamis, we would also like to address man-made disasters such as major chemical or nuclear accidents.
  3. Social Unrest: Inspired by the recent people’s movements across the Middle East and Africa—which have taken the form of demonstrations in reclaimed public space—we are interested in the role planning has (or can have) in rebuilding societies, both physically and socially, after these radical social shifts. This social unrest can take many forms—economic crisis, populist uprisings, outright revolution, and politic regime changes—but all force citizens and government bodies to regroup, reformulate goals and outcomes, and even rebuild. We are interested in comparing contemporary challenges in this area to historic examples of rebuilding cities, such as reconstructing Berlin after the fall of the wall and rebuilding lower Manhattan after 9/11 in New York City. Social unrest may also be seen when waves of immigrants or refugees establish residence in their adopted cities and through it, spark unrest among established residents who may fear their presence, such as the influx of Muslims in cities in the Netherlands and the U.S