Towarzystwo Urbanistów Polskich

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Limits of formal planning in managing the urban development Download as iCal file
From Thursday, 10 April 2014 -  15:00
To Saturday, 12 April 2014 - 16:00
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Regional Workshop of International Society of City and Regional Planners

Polish National Delegation of ISOCARP, in cooperation with: Society of Polish Town Planners, Institute of Architecture and Town Planning, Lodz University of Technology, Faculty of Architecture, Gdansk University of Technology, Institute of Spatial Planning, University of Lodz and Museum of the City of Lodz

Formal planning works through the adoption of plans, laws, regulations and other legislative tools that enable the usage of land in order to balance the needs of the community and environmental conditions. All stages of the planning process are covered from the initial conception of plans to their implementation. The planning procedure itself may significantly appeal to democratic society for its ability to make matters public, which were once only exclusively handled by developers and the government. Nevertheless, formal planning can be seen as a lengthy, cumbersome process or unwelcome governmental intervention at odds with individual freedoms. Once a plan or another tool is approved, it may enable greater coherence on the approval of individual development proposals yet a broad public consensus and acceptance is needed to achieve this goal. Also, formal planning is the official base for planning that must be closely linked to their implementation and enforcement. Without proper implementation, decisions and therefore development may be significantly delayed or carried against the planner's will. But what if planning doesn't work as intended? When there is a mismatch between the "good intentions" of the planners, the functioning of the system, and the real life results?  If formal planning is no longer considered beneficial by communities but rather simply seen as a bureaucratic burden? What happens when the rapidly changing reality of the cities, as in the case of European transition countries, exceeds the planning system capacity?

Statutory planning deals with linking of everyday management of land use and development proposals to plans, regulations and other planning tools. Using systematic procedures, it ensures development in compliance with formal instruments by refusing a proposal if not in compliance with it. Here a common problem arises: if a proposal can be refused because of non-compliance, what should be done if the regulation itself is too rigid? Where is the boundary between realisation of the collective interest, or response to the richness of the urban life – which requires flexibility - and the confinement of over-detailing? Can formal planning then limit a city’s creative or natural development? Finally, if we abandon formal planning, who will benefit from ensuing deregulation?

The above issues raise concerns regarding planning in Central and Eastern Europe. For the last couple of decades, post-socialist countries have struggled with a conflicting duality of free market development and government intervention. The questions on whether the planning system was meeting the requirements of  managing the cities through post-socialist transition period were frequently raised and hotly debated. This workshop is an opportunity to discuss these experiences face-to-face with ISOCARP members and field professionals. It brings the example of Lodz third largest city in Poland, and how it is handling its urban  projects - from new large scale developments to urban regeneration.

The international workshop will take place over three days, from April 10 to 12, 2014. Each day will be filled with lectures, case studies and workshops, and also a tour of the city of Lodz and a panel presentation. The participants are invited to discuss in one of the three themes, each presented by the groups' leaders. The three themes are:

The international workshop will take place over three days, from April 10 to 12, 2014. Each day will be filled with lectures, case studies and workshops, and also a tour of the city of Lodz and a panel presentation. The participants are invited to discuss in one of the three themes, each presented by the groups' leaders. The three themes are:

  1. Planning and management of large scale urban development projects - Dr. Lukasz Pancewicz
  2. The role of cultural and industrial heritage in Lodz’s downtown rehabilitation - Dr. Malgorzata Hanzl
  3. Urban regeneration in post-socialist cities - Dr. Dorota Kamrowska-Załuska

The final conclusions of the workshop will be presented and discussed at the final session by the group leaders. The publication of workshop results is envisaged.

Workshop Program (preliminary version, it may be subject to further changes)

Thursday, April 10th

15:00 – 16:00

Registration and early arrivals / welcoming coffee

16:00 – 16:30

Welcome of participants by hosts and organizers of the workshop:

1) Dr. Tomasz Majda (Head of ISOCARP Polish National Delegation, Society of Polish Town Planners);


2) Prof. Piotr Lorens (ISOCARP Vice President);


3) Dr. Robert Warsza (Director of Lodz Municipal Planning Office);


4) Mr. Błażej Moder (Director of NCL Management);


5) Prof. Marek Pabich (Director of Lodz University of Technology, Institute of Architecture and Town Planning;


6) Other: considering Prof. Marek Janiak.

16:30 - 17:30

Introduction to workshop organization and workgroup themes by group leaders.

17:30 – 18:00

Transformation of post-socialist cities:

- Prof. Piotr Lorens (Gdansk University of Technology, ISOCARP Vice President).

18:00 – 18:30

Regeneration process of Lodz:


Prof. Marek Janiak

18:30 – 19:00



Welcoming party


Friday, April 11th

09:00 – 11:30

Tour of Lodz “New City Center”- guided by NCŁ staff member and Lodz regeneration projects tour (inner city) - guided by representative of the Office of the City Architect.

12:00 - 13:30

Planning and Implementation: Lectures by invited speakers.

13:30 – 14:00

Plenary discussion

14:00 – 15:00


15:00 – 16:30

Role of Statutory Planning:


- Dr. Robert Warsza (Director of Lodz Municipal Planning Office);


- Prof. Tomasz Ossowicz (Director Wroclaw Municipal Planning Office).

16:30 – 16:45

16:45 – 17:00


Coffee break

17:00 – 19:00



End of day – Informal dinner in small groups (Off Piotrkowska)


Saturday, April 12th

09:00 – 10:30

Implementation of Development Projects in Post-socialist Cities:


Lectures by invited speakers.

10:30 - 10:45

10:45 - 11:00


Coffee break

11:00 – 12:15


12:15 – 13:00

Presentation of workgroup conclusions by group leader

13:00 – 14:00


14:00 – 15:00

Panel discussion

15:00 – 16:00

Final discussion and concluding session

Location : Łódź



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