Facilitator's Introduction to Session 1

John Friedmann



What fundamental changes or trends will influence planning education and practice over the next decade?


A. Some expected global trends over the next ten years

  1. Continuing globalization of the world economy, accompanied by growing regional inequalities
  2. The rise of China as a political and economic player on the global scene, and the relative decline of Japan
  3. The rise of quasi city-states within the nation-state system (e.g., Mumbai, Shanghai, Sydney, Vancouver, Toronto, Santiago, Barcelona, Sao Paulo) with provincial/state/regional governments calling the shots
  4. Growing regional conflicts, especially in the Middle East and Central Asia, over scarce resources, ethnic and religious divisions
  5. Continuous accumulation of greenhouse gases and global warming
  6. Major ecological breakdowns in parts of Asia, the states of the former Soviet Union, and Africa, a result of severe water shortages, deforestation, and desertification
  7. Continuing mass migrations from regions of conflict and breakdown to western Europe and North America
  8. Growing concerns over international terrorism ("terrorism" as the weapon of choice of the weak)
  9. Growing concerns over the international "black economy" involving arms trade, people smuggling, drugs


B. Some challenges for Canadian planning in the near future

  1. Continued fiscal stringency, particularly for urban development
  2. Continuing modified neo-liberal political agendas, with further cutbacks in social services, and privatization
  3. Large-scale immigration into major cities with possible political backlash (Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver)
  4. Continuing economic and demographic decline of rural areas in most parts of the country
  5. Continuing obstacles to implementing principles of ecological sustainability (particularly with regard to energy consumption) in the face of the rampant consumerism (and self-absorption) of the dominant classes
  6. Maintaining urban economic growth as manufacturing continues to leave Canadian shores, while the country's resource economy is struggling to maintain its global position
  7. Growing public concerns about "security" (see points A-4, A-7 and A-8 above)


Breakout Questions

  1. What are the implications of worldwide trends (enumerated in A above) for Canadian planning education and practice?
  2. What new knowledges and skills will be required to deal with the challenges to Canadian planning as outlined in B above?