The idea of 'sustainable cities' has been widened to include not only environment-friendliness of the infrastructure but also the appropriate management of the city. Many Asian cities have been experiencing drastic change with economic development and concentration of population into the cities, causing various urban problems such as uncontrolled development, inadequate housing, congested roads, disaster prevention, lacking sense of community, and so on. Under the development pressure, the importance of urban planning to coordinate both urban and social fabrics in the city in Asian countries is growing.
Urban Planning Unit is aiming at contributing to Asian cities' urban planning through exchanging knowledge and experiences, and promoting active discussions on future issues among faculty members, teachers, and students from IACSC member universities, and also participants from NPOs, municipalities. Each city in Asia is in various phase of development so no particular policy or methodology can be panacea; however we believe that the process of exploration will serve to find the solution.
To encourage focused discussion, Urban Planning Unit sets particular theme to be tackled every two years. Based on the theme, collaborative research projects, students' workshops and international symposiums are planned to provide precious opportunity for international participants. So far we have worked on under the theme of 'Urban Heritage Conservation and Urban Design' in 2010-2011. From now on the achievements of the activities will be publicized for the reference of actors in municipalities, NPOs, field researchers, and anybody sharing the same concern.
Students’ workshops records
Every year, students engage in overseas fieldwork in the hosting country of the IACSC International Symposium/General Assembly, where they stay and work with local and overseas students for about a week and hold an international workshop. Global thinking, understanding, action-taking, and negotiation skills are cultivated in the process of discussing and putting opinions and ideas together on urban issues with overseas students. In addition, in poster presentations at the International Symposium and oral presentations at the parallel sessions, students actively explain their research activities to visitors, which is a good opportunity for them to practice their presentation skills in English.