President’s Report 2000

Presidential Report to Membership

August 2000

The International Planning History Society has maintained and in several respects strengthened its activities since 1998 when I last reported to the membership. We are, however, approaching a financial position where we will need to increase the membership fee. The present level of £10 sterling or equivalent has been maintained for many years, since well before the IPHS itself was created in 1993. The cost of membership is, by any standards, exceptionally low. In large part, this is because of our reliance on the voluntary labour of officers and the generous financial and other support which they enjoy from their own academic departments in matters such as travel, incidental postage and other expenses. Nevertheless the costs of producing and distributing our journal, Planning History, have risen substantially, to the point where they are now eating into our reserves. A rise in the membership fee is therefore inevitable though the level of the increase has not yet been determined.

Secretary General and Treasurer: Changes of Personnel

There have been several changes amongst the officers of the Society. At the end of 2000 Ursula von Petz of the University of Dortmund will have completed her term of office as Secretary General. She will be replaced by Robert Freestone of the University of New South Wales. David Massey, of the University of Liverpool, much the longest serving officer of the Society, finally steps down as Treasurer, to be replaced by Michael Harrison of the University of Central England. On behalf of the Society, I extend my warm thanks to Ursula and David and welcome Robert and Michael into their new roles.

Planning History

There have also been changes at Planning History. Peter Larkham, of the University of Central England, who occupied the editorial chair from 1997-2000, has now handed over to Mark Clapson of the University of Luton who is now busy with his first issue. Again, I thank Peter on your behalf and welcome Mark into his new role. Please be sure to inform him of all news items and other developments in the field of planning history. Also, of course, consider submitting articles for inclusion.


After the highly successful Sydney conference of 1998, the great success of the Helsinki conference this year is a further sign of how well our biennial international conference programme is now developing. I am pleased to thank Laura Kolbe, the Helsinki Conference Convenor and her team on your behalf. We can also leave Helsinki looking forward to the 2002 IPHS conference. This has the novel feature of being held in two centres, London and the first garden city at Letchworth. The conference will be staged by the University of Westminster in conjunction with the Letchworth Heritage Trust. The IPHS Conference Convenor during the period 2000-2002 will be Maurits van Rooijen of the University of Westminster.

Although our large biennial international conferences remain the main focus of our conference activity, it is pleasing also to be able to report other gatherings of planning historians with which the IPHS has been connected. These include an international seminar held in Lebanon in late 1998, and nationally-based meetings in Australia and Britain during the first half of 2000. In addition there was also significant participation by the IPHS in the Fall 1999 Washington conference of our sister American organization, the Society for American City and Regional Planning History.

Conferences: bids for IPHS Conference in 2004

The officers and council of the International Planning History Society also invite bids to stage the biennial IPHS conference in 2004. Guidelines for bids have been prepared and are available from the President. The deadline for bids is the 30th September 2001. The 2004 conference will be sixth in the biennial series begun in 1994. However, with those organized or sponsored by our predecessor, the Planning History Group, it is actually the eleventh conference on international planning history. This is a remarkable achievement in which we can take great pride.

Gordon Cherry Memorial Lectures

Since 1998, our conference programme also commemorates our founding President, Gordon Cherry, with a Memorial Lecture. The first such lecture, by Professor Sir Peter Hall, opened the Sydney Conference and the second, by Professor Anthony King, the Helsinki Conference. A similar lecture will be delivered at each subsequent international conference.

Electronic Communication

I am pleased to report important developments in the field of electronic communication. Thanks to the efforts of Nihal Perera of Ball State University, the IPHS now has a website and a mailing list, IPHS-Connect. Nihal will become an officer of the IPHS with specific responsibility for electronic communications (title to be determined). Increasingly we will be using these two facilities to spread information related to the society’s work. Please let us know of any ideas for developing these services and for material you would like to see included on the website.

Future Matters: Council Membership and Presidency beyond 2002

Members who are interested in becoming more actively involved in IPHS affairs should consider standing for the IPHS council. Half the council retires every two years, though we have the power to co-opt additional members, which gives further flexibility in allowing members to contribute.

One of the major roles of the Council is to select the President from one of their number. My own term of office expires at the end of 2002 and, having served happily and, I hope, usefully since 1996, I now give notice that I do not intend to seek a further term. I am notifying members at this early stage to allow proper consideration of my successor. In the meantime, of course, it remains a privilege to serve as the Society’s chief executive

Finally, can I urge members to contact me on any matters concerning planning history or the functioning of the Society. It is always a delight to hear from you.

Professor Stephen V. Ward
President of the International Planning History Society
School of Planning
Oxford Brookes University
Oxford OX3 OBP, UK.
Fax: +44 (0)1865 483559