73rd World Town Planning Day Statement


Every person and community in the world today is threatened by a deepening climate and biodiversity crisis compounded by conflicts and Covid-19.

The Global Planners Network, a free association of national and international planning associations, calls for urgent action to stop any further irreversible degradation of the natural world and adverse impact on communities globally before the window for action closes.

There is an enormous gap between the scale of reduction in global emissions and that needed to deliver the Paris Agreement, a legally binding international treaty. If this is not addressed now, every community in the world will be increasingly at risk by a deepening climate and biodiversity crisis, with people facing untold suffering in all cities, towns, and villages.

Covid-19 has impacted cities and regions around the world, deepening the inequalities and exposing the vulnerability of our communities and of the global economy and offering us a chance to change course.

Conflicts and in particular the war in Ukraine have also had a global impact.

Planners around the world are ready and willing to help in responding to these challenges. Planning is needed to support communities to adapt, thrive and build resilience for a truly sustainable future. And we call for urgent capacity building in cities where it’s most needed. Following our Katowice Declaration in June 2022, we assert that there can be no sustainable development without sustainable urbanisation and no sustainable urbanisation without effective planning. Effective planning however requires political support, financial and human resource investment, and authentic community empowerment and engagement.

This year, the 73rd World Town Planning Day falls during COP27. As planners, we call for nations and cities to urgently deliver inclusive and ambitious climate measures and support a just transition to net zero climate resilience, globally. Plans need to be based on more sustainable transport systems, better air quality, more nature, less poverty and reduced consumption of resources and energy and non-organic goods and foods.

For this to happen, we advocate for better human and technical resources to planning institutions and functions and for stronger subnational governments to control land development so that local and national plans can be swiftly aligned with the SDGs and the New Urban Agenda and quickly deliver on the Paris Agreement.

This means re-imagining planning so that the lessons learned on the limits to growth on a planet with finite resources can be shared by society. Adopting a place-based approach to the climate emergency and tackling inequality requires collaboration across planning and allied professions, civic society and the private sector and a flexible approach to foster innovation, learning and adaptation.

Key to this will be creating capacity to allow effective strategic and participatory planning at regional and national levels, addressing inequalities and harnessing the power of data and knowledge for driving change and effectively including the voices of the most at- risk from the climate emergency into our plans.

Cities host the majority of the global population and are large contributors to greenhouse gas emissions while accounting for the bulk of the global energy consumption and production of waste and pollution. At the same time, hundreds of millions of urban dwellers – and particularly the urban poor and vulnerable – are at risk from more severe or frequent storms, floods and heatwaves, constraints on fresh water and food supplies, and heightened health risks. It is therefore vital to strengthen urban resilience.

City-regions sit at the forefront of current emergencies. Utilising effective planning across them can play a significant role in addressing the challenges of climate change. Local governments, by virtue of their close relationships with businesses, residents, and institutions, provide an opportunity for new policies to be implemented quickly in response to pressing social, environment and economic challenges. Working together in wider areas, they can bring powerful additional  action  to  effectively  tackle  these challenges.

Local planning functions are key to  mobilising resources, redistributing  land value uplifts, and delivering truly inclusive place-based solutions to adaptation and mitigation which communities can influence, co-produce and own.

The role of planning in delivering climate action at the local level is not only key for directing where we build and how we move around, but also what we build and how we build it. Planning can also co-ordinate infrastructure investments to align efforts to deliver net-zero and sustainable development.

It is the firm belief of the Global Planners Network that planners throughout the world have the unique skills, the talent, the desire, and the commitment to tackle the global  crisis we now face.  Planners  stand  ready  to play their part to harness transformative changes for a better, fairer, more sustainable future.

World Town Planning Day takes place every November 8th, bringing planners and communities together to celebrate how good planning improves the lives of people and benefits society at large, creating places to live, work and play. Argentinian professor Carlos María della Paolera started World Town Planning Day in Buenos Aires in 1949, and today, planners from over 30 countries celebrate the occasion with lectures, school competitions, fundraising, charity events, planning awards and street festivals.