Planning for culture

TRACK 4: Knowledge economies and identity

congress team:  Nasim Iranmanesh, Iran & Piotr Lorens, Poland

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The value of locality and identity to the globalizing world

Local identities and cultures as assets within the megacity

Unspoken pasts: the role and legacy of colonial heritage

Knowledge as the foundation of a high-value urban economy

Culture, heritage and identity as economic drivers

Tourism as consumption or tourism as a promoter of the locality


Culture and heritage are both taking globalising cities forward and being put at risk by them. Relentless pressures of urbanisation and 'urban marketing' initiatives sometimes promote an image of the city that hides or even removes local diversity and 'unwanted pasts'. Yet culture and heritage are essential to retain cohesion and create local identity in a megacity, which would otherwise be faceless.

Within the themed sessions the interrelations between locality, local identity and megacities will be explored, focusing on the four key sub-topics:
- Historic cities, local identities and city branding
- Design for urban regeneration
- Culture-sensitive approaches to city planning
- Culture, heritage and sustainable development.

In addition, a special session dealing with culture as urban renewal resource will become an introduction to the entire track. Accompanied by keynote speeches, all sessions will build a vast picture of contemporary issues associated with 'planning for culture'. 

As a result, it will be possible to discuss how local identities and modern approaches towards dealing with heritage can be reconciled with global marketing of city and globalising urban models. Also, the issues associated with shaping the planning strategies for culture and identity different in a megacity will be dealt with. These shall allow reflection on the role of cultural development and creative industries in contemporary city planning and development along with redefining the approaches to mass tourism and its role in preservation of the local identities. At the same time, within the sessions it will be possible to discuss the reverse questions: How can cities and megacities promote their culture and local identity to establish a dynamic knowledge economy, capable of shaping locally sensitive urban solutions? 

Each of the track sessions will start with the pre-selected keynote presentation. This will be followed by a discussion panel, during which each of the presenters will be asked by both track coordinators questions regarding the most important messages associated with their papers. Afterwards, a more general discussion with active participation of all session participants will follow. Such a structure shall allow focusing on key messages delivered within the papers submitted and-at the same time-drafting clear conclusions regarding the sessions' topics.


Session 4.1 Cool Planner in South East Asia: City Resilience Design

Understanding urban conditions of our cities in a new way – embracing informality, reconsidering built environment policies, and encouraging formation of new public landscapes – is at the very base of climate change resilience. What is the role of designers and planners in this process, in the Asian context?  

At this year's World Planning Congress in Jakarta, ISOCARP continues with its interactive Cool Planner Talks, tackling the challenges, the thrills and the responsibilities planning profession faces in the context of climate change. The upcoming Cool Planner Session focuses on South East Asia and examines the profile and the design skills Cool Planner needs in this region, in order to help cities become more resilient. As the first Cool Planner Session during 2018 ISOCARP's 54th World Planning Congress in Bodø, (Norway) has shown, the profession of urban planning is no longer limited to urban space. It has expanded to other fields and merged with other expertise. The aim of this year's Cool Planner Session is to showcase and discuss examples and challenges of "designing for resilience". Can we frame the main ingredients of the City Resilience Design? How can we further develop and promote it? What is the role of technology and what do planners need to know and learn in this field? How can design help make realistic, bankable climate resilience projects for neighbourhoods and districts? The Session will host four short talks from invited speakers and a peer-to-peer experts' panel. The talks will highlight projects, best practices, and experiences from urban professionals across many fields of climate change resilience, with relevance to Asian, South Asian and particularly Indonesian context. Guests and speakers at this year's Cool Planner SEA Session are experts from international planning practices, financial institutions, academia, cities governances and governmental planning institutions.

Session 4.2 Culture-sensitive Approaches in City Planning

The scope of the topics associated with this session will include a vast array of issues associated with city planning in culture-sensitive areas. Both the tangible and intangible cultural assets and issues will be dealt with. At the same time the issues associated with minority cultures and specific manifestations of cultural activities and heritage will be discussed. On this basis the specific concepts and solutions for diversified places, cities and regions will be presented, with the special focus on "non-traditional" heritage sites. The cases analysed will include location in Europe and Asia, with interesting presentations from – among others – Germany, China and Indonesia.

Session 4.3 Historic Cities, Local Identities, and City Branding

Within this session the issues associated with managing local identities will be discussed. Topics dealt with will include both reinventing heritage as notions of local identities as well as development of interrelations between heritage and city branding. A number of issues will be discussed, including the "shared heritage" (e.g., colonial cities), non-traditional types of heritage (e.g., hydraulic infrastructure or underground built heritage) as well as interrelations between heritage and socioeconomic development. Also, the ways of using the new technologies and concepts for the purpose of shaping the modern urban development strategies will be part of the session discussion. The cases analysed will cover a wide range of locations, including China, Dubai, Indonesia, Central Asia, Iran and others.

Session 4.4 Beyond Heritage: Culture as Urban Renewal Resource (Special Session) 

The Beyond Heritage: Culture as Urban Renewal Resource Session focuses on the contemporary approaches in using cultural heritage as a tool for urban renewal. Based on the results of the recent two very different UPAT workshops in China – Suzhou's "Panmen-Shantang Street in the Grand Canal National Culture Park" and Wuhan's "New Hangzheng Avenue" - the Session will look beyond the layers of history, and examine how to use heritage as a motor to promote cultural values, restore social cohesion, foster sustainable economic growth and revive public spaces.

Session 4.5 Design for Urban Regeneration 

This sub-theme will include a number of papers / presentations associated with new approaches toward design for transformation of cities. Both general concepts and particular tools will be discussed, including the real-life cases. These will span from regional to very local scales and include the discussion of both analytical and decision-making tools and instruments. In addition, a number of concepts associated with urban regeneration, such as resilient planning and healthy cities will be discussed. The cases analysed will cover mostly Asian locations, although a strong set of references to other parts of the world will be made.

Session 4.6 Culture, Heritage and Sustainable Development 

The main purpose of this session is to discuss the culture and heritage issues in the wider context of the sustainable development concept and practice. In particular, the interrelations between urban form, socioeconomic issues, environmental concerns as well as heritage and identity aspects of urban transformation will be put in the centre of this debate. On that basis, more specific issues will be dealt with, such as roles of various types of development and economies as well as emerging and re-established knowledge hubs in the process of sustaining urban and regional development. Furthermore, social problems associated with gentrification and social exclusion will be debated on. The cases analysed will include both (but not exclusively) Asian and African cases, including South African, Nigerian, Indonesian and Chinese ones.  

In addition, a special session dealing with culture as urban renewal resource will be organised. Accompanied by keynote speeches, all sessions will build a vast picture of contemporary issues associated with 'planning for culture'.

Session 4.7 Panel Session on Culture-led regeneration: Issues and challenges for planning and development processes

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