Published: 2019
Page Count: 426
Reviewed by   : Fauziah Abd. Jalil (Research and Development Division, PLANMalaysia)

More than before, cities and especially agglomerations of cities will be the engines of the global economy. At the same time, climate change, emerging new technologies, increasing (domestic and trans border) migration, and growing inequality urgently demand solutions at the scale of cities. Cities and their planners need to rethink and innovate the way people live, work and recreate in cities; how they produce and consume food, water, energy and everyday products; and how they make cities attractive, socially inclusive, healthy, accessible, green, safe, liveable and competitive.

Cities and metropolises play a crucial role in implementing the Sustainable Development Goals, which address both the hardware and the software of cities. Therefore, city and regional planners have a profound responsibility to ensure that cities and metropolises become more liveable, inclusive and sustainable. They have to overview and capable to implement the Goals set by the United Nations.

The book is a compilation of articles written in lieu of the 55th ISOCARP Congress in Jakarta in the year 2019, aims to become an event where planners, developers, politicians and NGOs meet and discuss the future of urban resilience of agglomerations of Jakarta and beyond. The theme “Beyond Metropolis” evokes the complex and daring challenges for our present and future cities. This is in line with the venue chosen for the congress-Jakarta being the second largest agglomeration on earth, has taken on the courageous responsibility to put the future of its metropolis on the agenda and hosted the 55th ISOCARP Congress.

The articles are very interesting – 19 articles organized into four sections: Metropolitan Plan and Tools; Planning Practices; Environmental Planning Projects, and Noteworthy Plans. As ISOCARP is the global network on International Society of City and Regional Planners, it’s a global platform where planners around the world share, network and learn, hence various pressing issues, like climate change and energy transition, have a great effect and need to be addressed on a local scale on very short notice.

Articles outlined and shared are enriching and serve as a platform to reach out to planners from around the world and publish the wonderful and varied work they are doing. It ranges from stories about planning projects in each of the main Continents except for Antarctica: three from North America; two from South America; two from Australia/Oceanic; three from Africa; four from Asia; and three from Europe. Two other articles reference planning projects in several continents. These articles share and record planning efforts in resource-rich and poor places and present how the focus of planning changes from place to place.

The articles in the first section under the theme Metropolitan and Tools describe the successful regional planning efforts underway for the New York, Greater Sydney and Metropolitan Doha areas. There’s also an article about the disappointing results from the State of New Jersey’s (USA) multi-year effort to plan for more equitable regional land uses. This article is especially interesting as it provides insights into political, social, judicial and historic causes behind the general failure of regional planning in the USA.

The second section under the theme Planning Practice – explore whether and how Asian cities should develop an indigenous design language for their emerging cities, whether Italian landscape preservation planning might be considered for application to Russia, and whether the French certification program for historic neighbourhoods should be applied to other countries. In all these articles, insights into the need for strategic planning and case studies on how to augment local staff to accomplish these plans are explored. Interestingly at the end of the section, there’s a write-up that shares on Indonesia’s efforts to alleviate slums.


The third section entails on environmental planning projects. There is a fascinating overview of efforts to use dredge material to develop sustainable urbanization in delta areas. The second article in the section describes a small town’s effort to redevelop a contaminated site for private market housing and recreation.

The last section is named Noteworthy Plans. Readers may learn about Quito’s effort to achieve food sustainability. The book also presents three articles from Africa, each intent on improving wellbeing. Each of these articles is important as they document the difficulties of developing viable plans in the face of resource constraints. The last article in the section examines if smart technology has improved planning participation in villages near Jakarta, Indonesia.

In a nutshell, this ISOCARP Review 15 edition is very comprehensive and enriching as the write-ups are very forward looking and always exploring new approaches and topics in the urban planning discipline. Hence, as planners managing daily practices on various urban development and sustainability issues at the Federal level in PLANMalaysia, we must always seek knowledge from various case studies and experiences shared around the globe so that we are always well verse, competent and knowledgeable in addressing the various urbanization issues that we are facing today with innovative urban solutions tailored to local context. This is important to further navigate Malaysia into a Sustainable Urban Nation that uphold the societal wellbeing, economic prosperity as well as environmental protection.