World Planning Schools Congress 2026:
Call for Proposals is now open!
The aim of the below is to provide guidelines for those institutional members of GPEAN local and regional associations that are interested in presenting proposals to host and organise the Sixth World Planning Schools Congress 2026. The document comprises the following sections:
1. PURPOSE 02
2. GENERAL CONGRESS MANAGEMENT ARRANGEMENTS 02
3. THE PROPOSAL PROCESS AND DATES 03
4. ITEMS TO BE ADDRESSED IN THE PRELIMINARY PROPOSAL 03
5. PRELIMINARY PROPOSAL SUBMISSION PROCESS 05
6. FULL PROPOSAL ELABORATION AND SUBMISSION PROCESS 05
I. GPEAN MEMBERS AND STRUCTURE
II. SUGGESTED TIMETABLE
IV. TYPICAL WPSC CONGRESS ACTIVITIES
V. INFORMATION ON PREVIOUS WPSCS
VI. LIST OF TRACKS OF WPSC 2022
VII. AGREEMENT ON WORLD PLANNING SCHOOLS CONGRESS 2026 TEMPLATE
In July 2001 the first World Planning Schools Congress (WPSC) was held in Shanghai, China, under the joint sponsorship of the Asian Planning Schools Association (APSA), the Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning (ACSP), the Association of European Schools of Planning (AESOP), and the Australia and New Zealand Association of Planning Schools (ANZAPS). In addition to the Congress, meetings held among the participating Associations’ leadership led to the Shanghai Statement, which called for the development of a Global Planning Education Association Network (GPEAN; See Appendix I for membership and structure) and led to the preparation of other Congresses in México City (2006), Perth (2011), Rio de Janeiro (2016), and Bali (2022).
The WPSC brings together scholars and professionals from all continents, providing opportunities for international academic and scientific exchange, encouraging a debate on current planning problems, experiences, and solutions in different parts of the world.
GPEAN created a WPSC Steering Committee (SC) (see Appendix I), which is responsible to prepare and disseminate the WPSC 2026 call for proposals; together with GPEAN Council select the successful proposal; assist the Host Institution (HI) (which could be one or multiple academic institutions affiliated with one of the eleven GPEAN associations) and its Local Organising Committee (LOC) in planning and organising the Congress. The SC is to provide academic and managerial oversight on the programme content and structure, keynote speakers, program tracks and their chairs; to monitor the progress of congress organisation while providing advice to the LOC. GPEAN welcomes proposals from the members of its associations to host and organise the Sixth World Planning Schools Congress in 2026.
The purpose of this document is to guide the interested schools in proposing the necessary activities according to the suggested timeline (Appendix II) and ensuring that the WPSC 2026 will be a successful event. Adhering to these guidelines should make it possible for interested institutions to prepare initial proposals without investing unnecessary time and expense and to cover all of the required matters related to the two-stage submission process (see Appendices III-VI for a checklist and other additional information). It should be emphasized that being selected as a Host Institution (HI) for the Sixth WPSC carries significant responsibilities. Yet, the previous HIs – Tongji University, Shanghai, China; the Autonomous University of Mexico; the University of Western Australia, Perth, Australia; the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; and Indonesian Planning Schools Association (ASPI) – attest that the investment of time and resources is an extremely worthwhile undertaking and a rewarding experience for faculty, students, the host institution and the city/region where the congress is held.
2. GENERAL CONGRESS MANAGEMENT ARRANGEMENTS
Once a HI is chosen and a LOC is set up, the SC and LOC will define responsibilities to prepare the WPSC, according to an agreement to be signed by the HI and GPEAN (Appendix VII). The LOC is to propose the theme, identify the venues and address other requirements set forth in this call for proposals. The SC provides academic and managerial oversight and exercises strategic leadership and international facilitation, selecting the main keynote speakers, tracks and their chairs in collaboration with LOC. This arrangement was initiated with the WPSC’01 in Shanghai, and followed Mexico City, Perth, Rio, and Bali, and was effective in hosting congresses that each drew on average more than 600 participants.
In 2026, the host should be prepared to accommodate around 800-1,000 participants contingent upon location, costs and economic climate. The LOC, through a system of Track Chairs set in place by the SC, coordinates the abstract submission and approval processes. The LOC will structure the final program, under SC overall advice. It is the primary role of the LOC to ensure that all of the local arrangements are handled thoroughly and competently for all Congress activities.
3. SUBMISSION AND SELESCTION PROCESS
Proposals to host the Sixth WPSC will be submitted via a two-stage process. In the first stage, applicants will submit a preliminary proposal. The SC will make a selection of viable Congress proposals and invite the short-listed institutions to prepare a full proposal. The SC will provide feedback to those proposals that are on the shortlist in an effort to make the final proposals as strong and complete as possible.
The final selection will be made by GPEAN Council (December 2023). In the case when the current representative to GPEAN is a member of an institution submitting a proposal, the regional/national association will either suggest an alternative representative or the current representative will be excluded from the deliberations, leaving any regional/national association’s letter of endorsement to serve as the only input to the selection process. Following the final selection, the SC will undertake a site visit to confirm the suitability of the application with regard to venues, financial and processing viability (e.g., acceptance of international credit cards), institutional support, website operability, logistics, and other factors that will ensure a successful event.
4. IMPORTANT DATES:
Submission of the preliminary proposals: August 1st, 2023
Announcement of selections: September 1st, 2023
Submission of the final proposals: October 1st, 2023
4. ITEMS TO BE ADDRESSED IN THE PRELIMINARY PROPOSAL
GPEAN encourages a creative approach to the congress proposals, considering the requirements for using English as the primary language. The preliminary proposal must contain the elements indicated in the following subsections, considering also the Appendices III to IV: information on Congress dates and venue, transportation and accommodation facilities, local organising committee, Congress theme and tracks, and evidence of the financial viability of the proposal (an indicative budget) including the expected budget, potential sponsors, funding opportunities together with the supporting documents (e.g. letter of endorsement of the HI).
The SC will consider the following when selecting initial proposals for the second stage: how effectively the proposal addresses the items discussed in this section of this call; evidence that there is a commitment to carry out the program that will be developed by 2026; creativity and innovation in Congress activities (while upholding a tradition of wide ranging scholarly exchange in planning education); and the quality of the Congress site and facilities.
The final proposal of those short-listed will expand on the preliminary proposal by providing information with greater detail. This is to allow sufficient information to be available to permit due diligence by GPEAN Council in assessing the robustness of the final proposal and capacity of the HI/LOC to deliver a successful Congress.
4.1. Congress Dates
A July Congress date is preferred in 2026, ensuring that the Congress dates do not conflict with other related conferences. It should be noted that the Congress should fall within a one-week core period (Monday to Sunday), including pre-Congress activities, to permit participants to work within their academic schedules. It is also recommended that the schedule is about a weekend, to permit registrants to take advantage of any airlines’ pricing for a “Saturday Night Stay,” which may be of particular relevance for domestic travel in many markets.
The candidates should be aware that timing is fundamental to the success of the event considering the suggested timetable (Appendix II).