The 3 Pillars of ISOCARP Institute

Institute Practice

ISOCARP Institute supports public and private institutions through a variety of programmes, including the Urban Planning Advisory Teams (UPATs), technical assistance and technical review, building upon the over 55 years of knowledge generation inside ISOCARP. Technical assistance and review are a central aspect of the practice pillar, delivering scientific review of planning documents or planning system analysis. The expansion of the existing UPAT programme with further development and adaptation to the current trends with urban labs, design charrettes and think tank workshops -such as Urban Thinker Campus (UTC) of the World Urban Campaign is another priority. 


DOWN TO EARTH – Technical Assistance to an Interregional Partnership on Sustainable Rural Development

ISOCARP Institute will lead the communication and dissemination strategy and its related tools in the project, tailoring activities to different target groups regarding messages and channels. The Institute will manage engagement and outreach activities between the consortium and relevant stakeholders, working to accelerate the impact of the project and its solutions.


Down to Earth

Interreg Europe

DOWN-TO-EARTH is a sustainable project working on different aspects related to disaster risk reduction and rural development from regions across Europe, who firmly believe that retaining population and encouraging sustainable practices in key sectors is crucial to curb environmental deterioration, and can greatly contribute to risk prevention. 
DOWN-TO-EARTH’s main objective is to lead to a better use of available tools and resources, including Cohesion Policy funds, in the participating regions, ultimately seeking to promote sustainable development and increase the disaster risk resilience of rural communities across Europe.

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Urban Planning Advisory Teams (UPATs)

The two primary types of UPATs are Design Charrettes and Urban Labs.  

Design Charrettes are collaborative design workshops during which members of ISOCARP rapidly work together with their planning and design colleagues from the Charrette host city, municipality or organisation. Design Charrette participants jointly analyse the Charrette’s location and topic, and sketch designs to explore and share a broad diversity of possible ideas and solutions.  

Urban Labs are design-based, collaborative projects in which selected ISOCARP members work jointly in an interdisciplinary team with a host city, municipality or organisation. The team typically consists of planners, architects, landscape architects and engineers, but also of citizens, city officials and other stakeholders, depending on topic and context. The aim is creating a design and implementation plan or conduct research-by-design on a specific topic, in a participatory approach of co-creating. 


Urban Design Charrette Weifang (China)

Design Charrette

ISOCARP Institute selected a team of 5 international member-experts to work together with a local team of planners, designers and students in Weifang in July 2021. The goal was to deliver innovative urban solutions and a vision for the Weifang International centre of Peace. The international team successfully developed a renewal design and implementation path for the Ledaoyuan historical and cultural area. The findings were presented to the City of Weifang on the last day of the workshop, together with urban design solutions and recommendations.

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UTC Championing Local Green Deals

Urban Thinker Campus

ISOCARP Institute has organised and coordinated the Urban Lab Session “Championing Local Green Deals”, as part of the Urban Thinker Campus “A Local Green Deal” organised by the city of Mannehim (Germany). The session took place online on Friday 16th July 2021. Through the European Green Deals, the European Union has set the ambitious target of becoming the first carbon-neutral continent by 2050.   However, it is crucial to transform the direction given by the Green Deal into local actionable projects and concrete interventions. The session collected and discussed valuable practices and experiences in the implementation of Local Green Deals.

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UTC Climate Adaptation in Challenging Environments in the MENA Region

Urban Thinker Campus

ISOCARP Institute together with Middle East Cities Center at the American University in Dubai University and FIABCI, the International Federation of Real Estate organized on the 22nd of June 2021 the UTC on Hot Cities in the MENA region. The UTC highlighted and discussed the current trends of hot cities in the MENA region (such as were water scarcity, biodiversity loss, sea level rise, loss of coastal defence and storm surges) , and explored possible solutions that are being tested to ameliorate the future of urban living conditions.

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UTC - NBS and Green Public Spaces for Health and Resilience

Urban Thinker Campus

On Wednesday 14 October, ISOCARP Institute hosted the Urban Thinkers Campus “Nature-based Solutions and Green Public Spaces for Health and Resilience”. The event was organised in collaboration with the ISOCARP Community of Practice on Urban Health (CoPUH) and the International Society for Urban Health (ISUH), as a first activity within their new collaboration partnership. The UTC session brought together international experts and thought leaders providing an overview over public spaces, nature-based solutions, and their potential for urban health and in the current Covid-19 crisis. 

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UPAT Wuhan (China)

Urban Planning Advisory Teams

As part of the Wuhan Placemaking Week, an expert team took part in a Design Charette about the development of ‘New Hanzheng Riverside Avenue’. Covering a 900-meter-long riverfront coastline at the confluence of Hanjiang and Yangtze rivers, the municipality’s vision was to recreate an urban core, characterised by global trading, finance & tourism. The team designed new strategies for intervention across scales, bringing back the old spirit of the two rivers and making it a new place of meeting and exchange.

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south work card

UPAT Durban (South Africa)

Urban Planning Advisory Teams

Invited by the eThekwini Municipality, a team of experts supported the local team in packaging parcels of government land to facilitate investments by means of Public Private Partnership and other models of cooperation. The task of the UPAT was to focus on two strategic precincts, assisting in the design of the implementation process, and develop financial cooperation models for their urban transformation. One precinct was the centre, where the objective was to transform it in the primary civic precinct of the city, a mixed-use area with a variety of cultural facilities.

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UPAT Guangzhou

UPAT Guangzhou (China)

Urban Planning Advisory Teams

The old town of Guangzhou has a rich heritage with districts, islands, parks, waterways, buildings and a large variety of backgrounds, stories and identities. Nevertheless, many of these places are currently isolated and would require a better context and better connections. The Guangzhou Urban Planning & Design Survey Research Institute (GZPI) invited the UPAT to collaborate in the assessment and connection of the historic urban resources of the city, accelerating the functional dispersal, and to optimisation and upgrade along the corridors.

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Strelka Review

Expert Advisory

The ‘Integral Guidelines for Urban Territories - A set of principles for the integrated development of urban areas’ is a guidance document published by STRELKA KB, Moscow in December 2018, aiming to define the main approaches to design the development of residential and mixed-use areas for Russia, in correspondence with the needs and demands of residents, while taking into account the peculiar characteristics of development in Russian cities and the best international practices in the transformation of the urban environment.

Institute Practice photo gallery


Our Capabilities

The Institute’s prime strengths include supporting cross-border collaboration globally; upholding professional excellence in planning; offering trainings advancing sustainable planning; increasing awareness of major development trends and promoting best practices; all while serving as a “Urban Think Tank” facilitating the generation and dissemination of knowledge for better cities.

We contribute actively to the urban research community through our work on EU Research Projects, publications, academic exchange, and strong network of academic professionals. More

We support public and private institutions through a variety of programmes, including the Urban Planning Advisory Teams (UPATs), technical assistance and review, building upon over 55 years of knowledge generation. More

Through our new branch – the ISOCARP Institute Academy – we facilitate our vast network and train young professionals and public representatives through our Young Planning Professionals Programme, seminars, and online education. More