Congress Theme:  Managing Change

Heraclitus, a Greek philosopher, has been quoted as saying “change is the only constant in life.” As urban planners and built environment professionals and educators we know this to be true. We have seen major movements in planning and design impact our work and the nature of cities and our built and natural environments through the decades. We, once more, are dealing with significant trends that will need to be addressed and managed in our professional careers. Climate change and the increasing frequency and severity of natural disasters require us to plan for more resilient and disaster-ready communities, and those solutions can also create more sustainable and livable communities. Rapid urbanization and the depopulation of rural areas create a dichotomy of shrinking places and unplanned growth, as well as opportunities to use those trends to create better cities, towns and protected areas. Trends in automation and technology, including social networking and social media, bring with them new opportunities and challenges. Many countries around the world are facing water and energy crises, and migration brings demographic and cultural change. In post-soviet countries, particularly, the rapid increase in tourism, speculative real estate investments, and gentrification are adding increasing pressures to manage and control development while still creating a quality environment of housing, economic opportunities and infrastructure for residents and visitors alike. New planning and research methods such as simulation modeling and improved mapping bring new opportunities to understand and project responses to change. As planners we must recognize problems, but also seek solutions so that change works in our favor rather than against us. It is our hope that this conference will allow us to share and learn from international professionals on issues facing our profession in the next decades and share noteworthy practices on how we can plan and manage changes affecting our built and social environment.