Conference Report: IPHS, Florida

International Planning History Society Conference, St. Augustine, Florida

20-24 July 2014, Rachel Lee


DSCF2348_St Augustine

The Castillo de San Marcos – St. Augustine has a tradition of transnational encounters


Following the 2012 conference in Sao Paulo, Brazil, the 16th biennial International Planning History Society (IPHS) conference was held in tropical St. Augustine last week, with the splendid campus of Flagler College providing the setting for the 3-day event.


DSCF2362_Flager College

Flagler College was originally built as a luxury hotel by the railroad magnate Henry Flagler


In addition to an entire session devoted to “International Exchanges and the Development of Planning” chaired by Steven Ward (Oxford Brookes University) and including the following speakers and presentations: Jose Geraldo Simoes Junior (Mackenzie University) “International Exchanges in the Beginning of the Modern Urbanism: The ‘Relevance of the First Conferences and Expositions of Urbanism Held in Europe and the United States, 1910-1913’”, Nuray Ozaslan (Anadolu University)“The Idea of ‘International’ and Local Planning Actors for the Development of Istanbul in the 1950s”, Shira Wilkof (University of California, Berkeley)“From Europe to Palestine and Back: Transnational Planners and the Emergence of Israeli Planning Thought”, Noah Hysler Rubin (Bezalel Academy of Art and Design, Jerusalem) “Planning Palestine: British and Zionist Plans”, Haiyi Yu, Fang Xu and Hua Wen, (North China University of Technology) “Learning Foreign Experiences and Building Local Systems: Duality of Modern Chinese Urban Planning History”, many of the other sessions included papers with transnational themes.


Otto Koenigsberger

Map showing location of Otto Koenigsberger’s planning projects in India, 1939-1951


Amongst these papers, there was a focus on examples from India. Kristin Larsen and Laurel Harbin (University of Florida) studied Albert Mayer’s influence with their paper “American Regionalism in India: How Lessons from the New Deal Greenbelt Town Program Translated to Post-World War II India”, Rachel Lee (Technical University, Berlin) concentrated on Otto Koenigsberger in “From Static Master Plans to ‘Elastic Planning’ and Participation: Otto Koenigsberger’s Planning Work in India (1939-1951)” and Ray Bromley (University at Albany – SUNY) presented a paper on “Patrick Geddes’s Plan of Indore: The Inside Story”.


Abuja Presentation Slide

Part of the transnational team involved in the planning of Abuja, Nigeria


Another geographical zone of transnational planning interest was sub-Saharan Africa, with papers by Tiago Castela (University of Coimbra) “Peripheries in a History of Urban Futures: Planning for the Government of Informal Spaces in Late Colonial Mozambique” and Rachel Lee (Technical University, Berlin) “Beyond East-West: GDR Development Planning Transfer – from Oil Presses in Ghana to the Master Plan for Abuja”. Examples of transnational planning from China included a paper titled “Richard Paulick and the Import of Modernism in China” by Li Hou (Tongji University), and Benyan Jiang and Masaki Fujikawa (University of Tsukuba) investigated the German and Japanese influences on green spaces in Qingdao – “Conflicts and Continuity: The Development of Green Spaces in Qingdao, China (1898-1945)”.


After 3 intense days of papers and roundtables, the IPHS conference went out with a bang with an “after party”, with music provided by the conference organiser Christopher Silver’s (University of Florida) rock band In Crisis.


DSCF2356_Conference After Party

Planning historians rock St. Augustine


As well as the great papers and partying, thanks to Planning Perspectives editor Michael Hebbert (University College London), I was delighted to find a copy of the Appendix to the Volta River Project Report at Anastasia Books, St. Augustine. The Volta River Project provided the impetus for several transnational UN planning missions to Ghana (formerly Gold Coast) with team members including Albert Mayer and Otto Koenigsberger.


DSCF2360_Volta River Project

An unlikely find at a St. Augustine used bookstore


The abstracts of the abovementioned papers can be downloaded from the IPHS conference website and a revised version of the conference proceedings will be online soon.


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