Many stress that the role of planners will change under the new global situation. But what is the ’old role’ of planners which is expected to change? And will the ’new role’ be truly different from this ’old role’? The key messages of Torremolinos Charter, Agenda 21, New Charter of Athens, Territorial Agenda and other documents concentrate around few repeating concepts: complexity, balance, integration, inter-disciplinarity, cooperation, participation, education, involvement of politics, long-term orientation, creativity and strategy. Should planners change these ideals?One of the most frequent and influential words today is strategy. Even though strategy can be defined in many ways and there are many different forms of strategic planning around the world, its original meaning often remains hidden. There is no doubt that concept of strategy has a military background. Therefore, this article focuses on two main topics. First, it presents the five ancient principles for victory which can be transferred into the five principles for balanced development of territories as Continuity, Sustainability, Context, Leaders and Conditions for implementation. Second, it seeks interconnections between these principles and the role of strategic spatial planners. It discusses the role of planners particularly in connection to two principles: Leaders and Context. Since strategic spatial planners deal with coordination of expert teams having relevant influence on development processes, they belong to the principle of Leaders. Since they have all the relevant data, analyses and expertise, their role is to be honest while evaluating the situation and unmasking the real Context to others. Dishonesty, misinterpretations and preference of politics to professional esteem inevitably lead to wrong decisions.Accepting this premise, education of planners needs revision in two basic points. First, is should increase abilities to identify context of time, place and causality. Instead of making a ’list of facts’, the context should be measured and calculated to be as objective as possible. Second, the education should increase soft inter-personal skills to be able to handle leadership, present the context, negotiate the reasonable further steps, lead multi-professional teams, manage conflicts and self-develop. Being first-line leader is equally or even more important than being planning expert.Of course, new discourses and practices influencing methods, tools and performance in spatial development are needed. However, the new global situation calls for rediscovering and coming back to the original core role of planners: honest, brave and responsible expertise. The article presents an anonymous case study of how this ’new role’ changed the planned development project.
AESOP 26th Annual Congress : Planning to Achieve / Planning to Avoid 11/07/2012 - 14/07/2012