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I was pleased to welcome you at INTA36 in Paris.
With the difficult economic situations in developed countries and the fast-paced changes occurring to the urban development landscape, this is when the knowledge, conceptual discussions and pragmatic actions gained from our congresses can have a greater impact than before. New ideas and reimagining of old ones have to be catered to the current situation and that is why we were all in Paris, albeit with a shorter congress format, to assemble and discuss urban development and creation of economic value.
Year 2012 was rich in initiatives – several roundtables carried in the framework of our Communities of Competence, panels on complex and challenging development issues. The programme of the 36th Congress was benefiting from the experience of all of those who contributed to these exchanges.
We live in the world of instantaneity in which the accumulation of challenges accelerates the pace of change. From the work done over the last years in the framework of our “Objective 2030” programme, and out of the work that started in the early 2012 with the launch of the Communities of Competence, we learn to remain vigilant:
- more than ever, with on one side the shrinking of financial capacity of local authorities and of the businesses community, with unemployment rising everywhere, with poverty increasing, we must be careful not to widen the gaps, not to increase the social divide;
- more than ever, we ought to put people at the centre of our actions, of our achievements and of our thoughts;
- more than ever, INTA must include these concerns into its overall mission. This is not a judgment, but a fact stemming from the exchanges of experiences conducted with our members.
Each of our Communities of Competence demonstrates that the citizen, the user must be consulted, listened to for any public policy to be effective, even if at some point in the process, decisions should be taken in the interest of the society.
Urban development is going through changes: territorial widening from the district to the city, from the city to the agglomeration, from the agglomeration to the metropolitan area lead to a new form of urbanity, and urban patterns are influenced by the global economy and the changing lifestyles.
On one side social policies such as housing, and on the other side infrastructural policies, could be used as instruments to shape the environment and help to construct a productive territory. The current economic environment, including the weakening financial situation where public policies are not anymore assured, brings the attention to the new levers of territorial action in particular the provision of affordable housing and habitat. The production of developed land is highly debated in the advanced countries - where public housing policies still have a central role especially for the less advantaged people - or in emerging countries where the responses to the demand for housing do not necessarily fit in a regulated framework. Our Community of Competence on New Habitat coordinated the first topic addressed during this Congress.
Metropolitan momentum is visible in Europe, in Latin America, in Africa or in Asia. With the commitment of our Community of Competence on Metropolisation we are launching a comparative global benchmark exercise experimenting multiple innovative approaches while avoiding the risk of a single model of planning. This exercise is a kind of a planning lab to help policy makers and territorial actors to explore innovations in developing and implementing metropolitan strategic plans. During this Congress a full plenary sessions has been dedicated to this programme.
Nowadays, the demand for mobility is booming and the global context seems to call for the development of efficient public transport systems. Breaking from the past of public transport and re-inventing collective transport: global trends occurring in mobile and digital technologies have already dramatically changed urban and suburban mobility and lay the foundation for urban transformation. The sessions on urban smartness and mobility have shown that technology can change governance performance, urban system efficiency, and quality of lives but need to be integrated in a sustainable and complex framework to make it work.
Work patterns and production patterns are changing in cities around the world as a consequence of far-reaching development in technology, demography, and globalized economy. Labour flexibility, clusters, dynamic reorganization, mixed uses, creative incubators, transport and exchange infrastructures as economic and mobility hubs, we are witnessing profound changes in doing and working patterns. Also a preference of companies for another type of workspace can be observed, workspace with multifunctional social spaces dedicated to human interactions, better integrated in the urban pattern and closer to mobility hubs. The discussion around the Tainan main station and the debate on mobility hubs as places of connexion has illustrated these changing patterns.
So, INTA36 delivered a full programme with vivid cases to learn from; finaly I am inviting you to read the concluding texts of Henry Chabert and Roy Adams published under "Conclusions INTA36".
Again, thank you for your participation in our Congress and hopefully, see you next year!
President of INTA