Frank D'hondt, ISOCARP Secretary General and Co-chair of the World Planning Congress Committee

"We are no longer dreaming but stepwise (re)designing cities powered by renewable energies where citizens move around by mostly walking, cycling and using public transport. The transition into the post-oil City still needs a sea-change though and it will require thoughtful planning and change management. The 56th World Planning Congress in Doha will provide a platform to cross-fertilize urban theory and praxis for innovative urban green deals, using Doha's new downtown area as an open air Congress podium."

 

As a sustainability planner, personally I cannot wait to see the new city emerging from the sea of oil (or coal and gas) we cherished for too many decades. A city powered by renewable energies where citizens move around by walking, cycling and using affordable high quality public transport. The transition into the post-oil City won't happen overnight though - it will require thoughtful planning and change management. The International Society of City and Regional Planners provides a unique platform to cross-fertilize urban theory and praxis.

The 56th World Planning Congress will mark a milestone to make happen what was once unimaginable and then inevitable. We can only admire a city like Doha to take up that challenge, owing its current level of development to once abundant oil reserves in the Gulf. What the Qatari government already achieved by creating a new downtown - providing an exciting podium for the Congress - is very promising.

If oil-based cities like Doha can transition from petropolis to a regenerative zero-carbon city in harmony with its natural ecosystem, we can be more confident that other cities will develop and implement their own urban green deals to collectively save humanity and the blue planet from a looming catastrophic breakdown. Urban and Regional Planners can't do it alone so we need a thought-through collaborative strategy and process to get us there. Hence, I hope to see you all in Doha.