President’s Report 2004

IPHS President’s Report 2004


This is my first of my two reports as President of the International Planning History Society for the term 2003-2006. I outlined my views as to the future of IPHS early in 2003, writing that:

“We must ¡¦ continue to extend our global reach, relevance and inclusiveness. Without denying its origins, it is important that IPHS is not seen as a British society. I would like to see it take a more active public role in different realms beyond traditional scholarly discourse. It would be both wonderful and timely if history of planning considerations were injected into contemporary public debates on issues of policy, heritage, and livability. We need to grow and diversify. We need to better market ourselves and communicate with each other. There will be fresh opportunities to seize, as well as ongoing administrative responsibilities and requirements to more efficiently attend to.”

I saw the role of the IPHS Council in these terms:

“I see a diverse Council (nationally, culturally, and by gender, age, experience, and expertise) as vital for the challenges ahead. I see the Council as a proactive advisory and initiative-taking body whose ongoing contribution to the governance of the IPHS will be highly valued and pitched at a higher level than in the past, without that being unduly onerous or bureaucratic.”

I have thus conceived my term as a proactive one, progressive rather than revolutionary, collaborative and sustained. Reviews have been initiated and recommendations acted upon within the feasibility constraints of voluntarism, resources, workload, and the overall modest scale of a diffuse global scholarly society. Major ongoing commitments over the past 2½ years have been the continued publication of Planning History and preparations for the Barcelona conference. In February 2003 an issues paper was circulated for comment. Feedback was incorporated into a substantive statement in April 2003. Meetings with some Council members and members of the management team in Leuven, Belgium and Milton Keynes, England in July 2003 to further refine and then confirm a portfolio of recommendations and actions. Significant progress has been made on the majority of these needs as reported below, and I thank those members of the Society who have given their time within a roster of new sub-committees which needed to be established.

The key issues which have proeccuped me and involved a wider representation of Council members and IPHS members have been:

· Refreshing and reactivating Council membership
· Revisiting the Constitution
· A venue for the 2006 international conference
· Experimenting further with regional/specialist meetings
· Instituting new awards and prizes
· Raising and restructuring membership fees
· Exploring the possibilities of sponsorship
· Improving the look of Planning History
· Upgrading the IPHS website
· Better articulating the roles and responsibilities of officers
· Producing a new promotional flier
· Developing a membership database
· Clarifying alignments and partnerships with other organizations

I report on a number of these issues in this statement.

Officers 2003-2004

President: Dr Robert Freestone (University of NSW)
Secretary-General: Professor Stephen V. Ward (Oxford Brookes University)
Membership Secretary: Dr. Michael Harrison (University of Central England)
Treasurer: Dr. Michael Harrison (UK)
Editor of Planning History: Dr. Mark Clapson (University of Westminster)
Electronic Communication: Dr. Nihal Perera (Ball State University)
Conference Convenor: Prof. Javier Monclus (Universidad Politecnica di Cataluna)

Expressions of interest in taking on several of these roles may be invited pending clarification with the incumbents.

Retiring Officers and Executive Movements 2002

Retirements, resignations, and the dropping of ex officio status saw the following councilors complete their 1999-2002 terms: Pat Garside, Anthony Sutcliffe, Stephen Ward, and Robert Freestone. Rob Home stepped down as Membership Secretary to take on new professonal challenges and that role has since been successfuly combined with Treasurer by Michael Harrison. Maurits van Rooijen’s role as Conference Convenor ceased with his successful London 2000 Conference, to be replaced by Javier Monclus and his team to prepare for Barcelona this year. Stephen Ward took over the Presdeincy from Gordon Cherry in tragic circumstances and has contributed enormously both organizationally and through his own research profile. He has continued to serve the Society as Secretary-General. These movements effectively created four new vacancies on council for the term 2003-2006: Arturo Almandoz (Universidad Simón Bolívar, Caracas), Ravi Kalia (City College of The City University of New York), Dieter Schott (Centre for Urban History, University of Leicester) and Mercedes Volait (François-Rabelais University of Tours).

Retiring Councilors 2001-2004

This year 4 councilors completing their 2001-2004 terms have indicated to me their preparedness to stand down on completion of their current terms. The Society acknowledges the contributions of these individuals over a number of years: Peter Smith (University of Alberta), William H. Wilson (University of North Texas), Jeffry Diefendorf (University of New Hampshire), and last but not least long-serving David Massey (University of Liverpool).

New Council Positions to be filled 2005-2008

These retirements thus create another four new vacancies for the term 2005-2008. I am keen to secure a greater gender balance and global mix through replacement appointments and will call for expressions of interests from IPHS members in line with the new Constitution immediately after the Barcelona Conference.

Constitutional review

The IPHS Constitution was first drafted in 1993 and was subsequently amended on a vote of members in 1996. A subsequent review never proceeded so the latest review 2003-2004 was initiated to arrive at an updated set of agreed understandings and governance practices to better reflect current and foreseeable realities. The Sub-Committee formed to progress this issue comprised: Robert Freestone (Chair), Stephen Ward, Peter Larkham, and Emmanuel Marmaras. Submissions were invited (to February 2004) along with comments on a draft revised document (to May 2004). The revised document is presented for ratification to the Barcelona Council meeting.
The revised document does not seek to radically overhaul the Society’s governance but to bring its constitutional basis more into line with both new modes of global communication unforseen even in the early 1990s and the practical realities and recent experiences of efficiently managing the affairs of an international scholarly society utterly dependent on voluntary activity. The revised document acknowledges the views of the Urban History Association and Society for American City and Regional Planning History, both foundational affiliated societies from 1993. Both organizations have sanctioned our right to make the changes we see fit and have agreed that provision for a Board of Management with their representation should lapse.

Barcelona conference 2004

We meet with high expectation in Barcelona on the eve of the 11th biennial conference on the theme of “Planning Models and the Culture of Cities”/”Modelos urbanísticos y cultura de las ciudades”. A website has been established at We must formally acknowledge the organisational efforts of Javier Monclus and his organizing Committee (M Burns, M Guardia, A. Remesar, A. Almandoz, and N. Fava.

New Delhi conference 2006

The formal bid of a team led by Professor Binayak Rath (Kanpur Institute of Technology) to host the 12th conference in New Delhi, India in late 2006 will be ratified as a formality by Council and announced at the end of the Barcelona proceedings. The bid was reviewed by a Sub-Committee comprising the IPHS Executive and several councilors: Robert Freestone (Chair), Stephen Ward, Michael Harrison, Mark Clapson, Nihal Perera, Ravi Kalia, Shunichi Watanabe, Christopher Silver and Eugenie Birch. Its decision was made in April 2004 to confirm Dr Rath as the next IPHS Conference Convenor subject to certain conditions being met on organisational matters.

IPHS conference 2008

With the New Delhi conference scheduled for December 2006, we thus have a longer period than normal to encourage and secure bids for the 13th international conference. It is expected that bids would be invited early in 2005 to be due early in 2006.

Regional Meetings

Our new policy of encouraging or supporting a small number of specialist and regional meetings between international conferences led to co-sponsorship of two meetings. The “Rebuilding of British Cities in Context: Exploring Post-Second World War Reconstruction” workshop was held at the University of Central England in Birmingham, England in May 2003. It was sponsored by IPHS along with UCE, Centre for Urban History, and the Urban Morphology Research Group. Peter Larkham and Joe Nasr were the key organizers. A “Colloquium on Urban Historiography” was held in Caracas, Venezuela in February 2004 organised by Arturo Almandoz. It was organized by CIPOST, UCV Consejo de Desarrollo Científico y Humanístico, USB Departamento de Planificación Urbana, Fundación para la Cultura Urbana, and IPHS. Reports of both these conferences have or will appear in Planning History. Specialist planning history conferences in the period 2005 and 2006 with possible involvement of IPHS have been proposed for Amman, Jordan and Wellington, New Zealand.


Books. At the Barcelona Conference the Society will make its second award for the best book on planning history written in the previous two years. In addition, following the Council decision in 2002 to introduce a complementary prize acknowledging the language and culture of the conference host, there is a new award for the best book addressing Spanish and/or Latin American planning history written in Spanish or English. We acknowledge the efforts of the Book Prize Committee: Dirk Schubert (Chair), Helen Meller, Nihal Perera and Peter Larkham.
Journal article. A new prize has been secured with the support of Taylor and Francis (Routledge) to be awarded for the first time at Barcelona. This is for the best research paper to appear in Planning Perspectives published in the previous two years. We are grateful for the efforts of the Prize Committee: Laura Kolbe (chair), Ravi Kalia, Eugenie Birch and Ray Bromley.
Conference paper prize. Another initiative is the institution of a prize for the best paper written and presented by a postgraduate student at our biennial conferences, again to be announced for the first time at Barcelona. Our thanks again to the relevant prize committee: Mark Clapson (Chair), Michael Lang, Dontalla Calabi and Christine Garnaut.

Membership fees

Following a review of our pricing arrangements, the decision was taken to increase the cost of member subscriptions. The decision was not taken lightly, but the costs were set at an unsustainably low level. It is hoped that the actions noted elsewhere in this report convey our efforts to ensure a value-for-money membership. From 2004 the new rate of charges is:

· General membership – £20 (£35 for 2 years)
· Student membership – £10 (£15 for 2 years)
· Institutional membership – £30 (£55 for 2 years).


The willingness of Taylor and Francis to generously support the Planning Perspectives prize in financial and in-kind ways from 2004 is acknowledged. In addition, I expect to be able to announce at Barcelona a new two-year sponsorship arrangement with the Letchworth Garden City Heritage Foundation that will provide a subsidy for the increasing production costs involved with Planning History which has already assumed a higher quality format.

Website and IPHS-CONNECT

The IPHS website has been revamped with a most apt gateway URL being secured: The potential of the website as a tool of communication and a resource for scholarship has yet to be fully realized. The complementary listserv IPHS Connect ( was restructured in late 2002 and is seen as the main instrument for immediate communications of news on Society and broader planning history matters. The intention is to have all IPHS members join the subscriber list.

In Conclusion

The first half of my Presidency has thus been a very active period of reform and continuity. I trust that the second half will be able to build on our collaborative efforts and enable the IPHS to better deliver services to members and advance global interest in planning history.

Robert Freestone
University of New South Wales
Sydney, Australia
1 June 2004