Special Sessions and Forums

Check out the Detailed Programme here.

Upcoming Special Sessions and Forums

  • Regional Forum - Transformations in the Arabian Gulf's Urban Landscape

10 November 2021, 2:00 - 3:30 PM AST 

The States of the Gulf Cooperation Council have witnessed an incredible amount of growth in the last year in all sectors. This changing landscape offers a fantastic opportunity to learn how to steer growth in light of fast-paced development. Key figures in urban planning and development across many sectors from the United Arab Emirates, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and Qatar offer insight in a panel discussion on the changing urban landscape of the region and how they have dealt with issues regarding sustainability, climate change, heritage conservation and more. 

  • Future Trends in Strategic Urban Planning in the Gulf Cooperation Council

10 November 2021, 4:00 - 5:30 PM AST

In light of economic and political trends globally and regionally, the GCC States' have acknowledged the need to coordinate and act as one economic unit to be able to compete on the global market and ensure the prosperity that they have witnessed over the last decades. The GCC has adopted "The General Framework for Holistic Strategic Planning for the GCC States" in 2010, which defined the pillars that will shape all strategies and future developmental trends across different sectors in the region. As a part of this holistic framework and implementation plan, the GCC have adopted the "Future Trends in Strategic Urban Planning in the Gulf Cooperation Council" in 2021, to define a vision for regional growth, future policies, the development of border regions, and to compare and contrast the urban development strategies among the different states, in order to reach and form a holistic urban strategic for the region. In this session, the GCC States will reveal their visions and both the group and individual efforts that they have pursued to create a holistic vision and strategy for urban development.

  • Urban Health Forum - Part 1: "Planning for health & well-being in a time of climate crisis"  

10 November 2021, 11:30 AM - 1:00 PM AST 

Cities face increasing threats from climate change related impacts putting the wellbeing of their citizens at risk. Climate change directly impacts the health of urban residents via disasters but also increased air pollution and rising temperatures which can endanger key health related urban systems. While climate and biodiversity crisis are the greatest health threats, the world is still coping with the Covid19 pandemic. Mental health conditions are increasing worldwide and non-communicable diseases are the global epidemic of the 21st century. The way this plays out can be very different in each local context and city, and can affect diverse citizens and communities differently. At the same time this is an unprecedented opportunity to improve environmental, physical and mental health & wellbeing, while also taking into account citizens diversity, age, gender. 

  • Urban Health Forum - Part 2: Workshop "Integrating Health into Urban and Regional Planning"  

10 November 2021, 4:00 -5:30 PM AST

This workshop will use the Sourcebook 'Integrating health in urban and territorial planning' as a framework and will build towards the development of training modules. The workshop, will address various contexts including an Arab regional focus, making use of global and regional urban trends. Moreover, it will use climate change as an entry point, while considering current multiple crises.  

Registration preferred: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/WRFPB9F 

  • ISOCARP Institute: Innovative Solutions for Climate Resilient Cities and Communities 

10 November 2021, 4:00 - 5:30 PM AST

The ISOCARP Institute is organising a special session about innovative solutions for climate resilient cities and communities in connection with the ISOCARP World Planning Congress. The Congress takes place in Doha, Qatar, and will bring together professional planners, architects, researchers, and policymakers from around the world. Particularly, this session integrates into "Track 4: Resilience and Adaptability" of the Congress and discusses key elements regarding the shaping of strategies to enhance climate resilience in cities. Insights will be drawn from the ongoing Horizon 2020 EU projects in which the Institute is involved: +CityxChange, VARCITIES, and JUSTNature. 

  • Building Unique Cities: A Paradigm Shift in the Global South

11 November 2021, 11:30 AM - 1:00 PM AST


  • Envisioning Sustainable Urban Mobility Futures for Doha – A Gamified Co-Creation Workshop

11 November 2021, 11:30 AM - 1:00 PM AST

This session with anticipated 20-30 participants explores and envisions multiple possible urban mobility futures through a gamified and interactive workshop. Key themes of the session are to convey central futures studies principles and apply them in a gamified manner to explore possible scenarios of sustainable urban mobility futures in Doha.

The climate crisis requires immediate system-level transitions in urban areas. Transportation and mobility constitute a significant contributor to current challenges (e.g., GHG emissions, local air pollution, resource/land consumption, traffic fatalities, spatial inaccessibility/injustices). Working in a structured approach with multiple exploratory futures can guide planners and policymakers to prepare for upcoming challenges and opportunities. At the same time, normative futures can provide visions, strategic foresight, and action plans through approaches such as backcasting. The field of futures studies can add a powerful layer to planning practice in the quest of enabling systemic sustainability transitions in the urban realm towards more sustainable, resilient, and inclusive urban futures.

At the core of futures studies lies the understanding of the future as a widening possibility space with multiple possible, probable, or preferred futures. Combined with the multilevel perspective and system transition (management) theory, rather philosophical concepts of multiple futures can be translated into actionable insights. A key element, therefore, is the co-creative element, either through workshops, consultations, or validation mechanisms. Useful elements are the gamification of processes to increase the level and depth of participation, the use of design science approaches such as (future/anti) personas, and future studies-specific methods such as horizon scanning, trend mapping, Delphi, Causal-Layered Analysis, among other.

Previous Sessions

  • Planning for Sustainable Urban Regions (VIRTUAL ONLY)

28 October, 1:00 - 2:30 PM CEST

The session will introduce innovative planning approaches from a newly setup long-term funding programme of BMBF called Sustainable Urban Development of Urban Regions (SURE). In total it stretches over a period of more than eight years with different funding phases incorporating 10 large research consortia involving more than 30 research institutions in Germany, numerous companies and several multinational networks. The regional focus of this initiative is East Asia and Southeast-Asia at the forefront of accelerated urban growth. Each project represents transdisciplinary research, aiming for change and lasting impact. Thereby, the German partners closely cooperate together with local research institutions as well as local and national governments. By means of this ambitious initiative, new and fresh ways of planning and spatial interventions to overcome the shortcomings of traditional planning will provide the basis for more evidence-based decision-making for local stakeholders thereby supporting more people-centered urban and regional development.

  • Underground Urbanism: The next level up is DOWN (VIRTUAL ONLY)

28 October 2021, 3:00 - 4:30 PM CEST

ITACUS in collaboration with ISOCARP hosted the first of its 3-part Cyber Agora entitled Underground Urbanism on June 29, 2021. Dialogues, discussions, debates, and deliberations in the Cyber Agora focused on the role of underground spaces in planning, development, and management of territories for our sustainable, resilient common future. The Agora engaged planners, urban designers, architects in a discourse that is often thought to be a field of engineers. Hosting a panel of experts, the Agora addressed the opportunities and challenges in realizing the potential of subsurfaces - for a resilient, inclusive, and sustainable future. The Special Session organised by ITACUS at ISOCARP 57th World Planning Congress, focusses on underground urbanism and highlights how subsurfaces can improve urban sustainability, climate resilience, and the future. Aligned with the theme of the Congress, the Special Session focuses on how we can plan underground spaces for better places, stronger and inclusive communities.

  • The "Matroesjka Effect" - connecting scales of climate action in EURODELTA (VIRTUAL ONLY)

29 October 2021, 11:00 AM - 12:30 PM CEST

Spatial planning aims to advocate for an inclusive future while addressing the pertinent challenges of climate change that we are currently facing. It is no longer sufficient to only have visions for the future but climate urgencies requires immediate actions and active cooperation. This session will focus on the context of Eurodelta, a highly dense urbanised megaregion with approximately 45 million inhabitants, sharing a common history, culture and identity, to address the topic of territorial climate planning. The session will address the question of how to combine the efforts and ensure collaborations to connect scales and impacts through allying forces of societal, systemic and design approaches? With a broader research into the implementation of the climate agendas with AIR, this session will include inspirations from supporting agendas such as the New European Bauhaus, Paris Climate Agreement and Davos chapter to fine tune and streamline the discussion towards conclusive strategies.


  • Doha Vision 2050: Sustainable Urbanism for the Gulf - A Foresignt Challenge Session (VIRTUAL ONLY)

29 October 2021, 3:00 PM - 4:30 PM CEST

The long-term concerns for the past, present and future of the Gulf region is what aligns the interests of two research centers at the universities of Harvard and Liverpool and the more global interests of the Urban Economy Forum with UN Habitat. The destructive ecological and sociocultural impacts on both land and sea – resulted in the Harvard Graduate School of Design's (GSD) agreement with Msheireb Properties (a subsidiary of the Qatar Foundation) in 2011 to undertake a three-phase research program entitled Gulf Sustainable Urbanism (GSU). The ArCHIAM research center at Liverpool University collaborated with the Qatar National Library (QNL) to recently complete in 2020 the Phase-1 of the ambitious Gulf Architecture Project (GAP), with the intention of creating the world's largest digital archive of Gulf architecture and urbanism.

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