Mission & History

GPEIG's Mission

GPEIG’s mission is to enable planning educators and students to collaboratively: (1) share global perspectives in planning education and research, (2) foster an understanding of the global perspectives in planning education and research, (3) foster an understanding of the global context of local and regional issues; and (4) engender an appreciation of and respect for cultural, economic, and political dimensions of planning; and the recognition of the rich array of planning processes that can be fully appreciated only by learning about what is being done in other countries.

The Global Planning Educators Interest Group (GPEIG) is an advocacy organization within the Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning (ACSP). The ACSP is a consortium of university-based programs in the U.S. offering credentials in urban and regional planning. ACSP member school programs and faculty collaborate to express their shared commitments to understanding the dynamics of urban and regional development, enhancing planning practices, and improving the education of both novice and experienced planners.

GPEIG aims to work closely with the Global Planning Education Association Network (GPEAN). GPEAN is a network of national or multi-national associations of university level planning programs and schools in urban and regional planning, intended to facilitate international communication on equal terms amongst the university planning communities in order to improve the quality and visibility of planning pedagogy, research and practice, and to promote ethical, sustainable, multi-cultural, gender-sensitive, participatory planning.

GPEIG's History

GPEIG emerged out a process that began with the publication of the book “Breaking the Boundaries: A One World Approach to Planning Education” in 1990. This book started a discussion around globalization and planning pedagogy. That same year, a conference convened contributors to the book who expressed their interest in taking a more global approach to planning education. ACSP authorized the creation of a National Commission on Globalizing North American Planning Education in 1991 and a final report was issued in 1994. The organization of an interest group started in 1996 and its agenda was defined in 1998 at a workshop on Global Integration and Comparative Approach to Planning organized by the Department of Urban Studies and Planning at MIT. In the Fall of 1998, GPEIG was formally accepted as an interest group by ACSP and established as such. GPEIG formally adopted its by-laws in 2002.

Since its inception in 1998, GPEIG has fulfilled its mission and continued to foster the integration of international issues in planning education through a steady membership, participation in programs, taskforces and conferences.

Selected Landmark Events (compiled by GPEIG members) 

  • 1990 Publication of book: Breaking the Boundaries: A One World Approach to Planning Education. Plenum Press, based on a meeting held at MIT in 1988. Sanyal, Bish editor. Authors: Afshar, Farokh. Amirahmadi, Hooshang. Banerjee, Tridib. Chatterjee, Jay (Afterword). Dandekar, Hema. Dunlap, Louise. El-Shakhs, Salah. Ertur, Omar. Gakenheimer, Ralph. Lim, Gill-Chin. Qadeer, Mohamed. Sanyal, Bish. Schuster, Mark. This book opened up a debate on how global planning interests could best be furthered within ACSP
  • May 1990 The discussion was taken further at a conference on Global Approaches to Planning Education, Center for Comparative Studies in Development Planning, School of Architecture and Environmental Design, SUNY Buffalo, organized by Himi Jammal, Director of the Center and Bish Sanyal of MIT. Thirty-three participants including most of chapter authors of Breaking the Boundaries.
  • April 1991 ACSP authorized the creation of a National Commission on Globalizing North American Planning Education. This resulted from Himi Jammal presenting a paper in the May 1991 conference to the ACSP executive committee with the proposal that such a commission be established. The Commission initiated its work with Himi Jammal as Chair; Members: Farokh Afshar, Hooshang Amirahmadi, Hemalata Dandekar, William Goldsmith, Deborah Howe, Alan Kreditor, Linda Lacey, Gill-Chin Lim, Riad Mahayni, Paul Niebanck, and Bish Sanyal.
  • 1993 A Special Issue on “Planning Education toward the 21st Century,” is published in Environment and Planning. Vol. 20, No. 5. pp.497-605 (1993). The Special issue was guest edited by Gill-Chin Lim (guest edited) andincluded contributions by SC Orlick; P Niebanck; T Banerjee; H Amirahmadi, FD Zinn, and RC Hinojosa; GC Lim; C Goldsmith; IM. Jammal. This is an important work because the contributors played key roles during the early stages of the development of global interest within ACSP. The volume dealt with a number of pressing issues on the subject and many of the articles soon became classics. (Annotation by Gill-Chin Lim).
  • 1994 Final Report issued by the ACSP National Commission, titled Global Approaches to North American Planning Education. Himi Jammal, Chair and Editor. Recommendations accepted by ACSP. Deborah Howe, of Portland State University, chaired an ACSP committee on global planning immediately after the 1994 Commission report.
  • January 1996 A proposal (drafted by Hooshang Amirahmadi with the involvement of Gill-Chin Lim, Weiping Wu, and Tridib Banerjee) was submitted to the ACSP President to form a Society of Planning Educators for International Development within ACSP. This idea emerged during informal discussions at the 1995 ACSP in Detroit. The response from the ACSP leadership was positive, but since ACSP could not have a society within ACSP, they recommended that the appropriate form of organization would be an interest group.
  • April 1998 Workshop on Global Integration and Comparative Approach to Planning organized by the Department of Urban Studies and Planning, MIT (Bish Sanyal). Purpose: to develop a precise agenda for the Standing Committee on Globalization and Planning, discuss participation in upcoming ACSP conference, new initiatives for the Committee. Cambridge, MA. Thirty participants attended.
  • Fall 1998 GPEIG formally accepted as an interest group by ACSP and established as such. Co-Chairs elected: Tridib Banerjee and Ruth Yabes.
  • Spring 2001 Special Issue on Globalization and Planning published in the Journal of Planning Education and Research. Guest Editors: Farokh Afshar and Keith Pezzolli.
  • Summer 2001 First World Planning Schools Congress held in Shanghai, China, at Tongji University. GPEIG sponsored six panels and roundtables. Bruce Stiftel signed the Shanghai Statement and commited ACSP to forming a Global Planning Education Association Network (GPEAN) and to participating in a second World Planning Schools Congress in 2006.
  • Fall 2001 Wim Wiewel, (ACSP President) convened a Planning Globally Task Force, chaired by Ruth Yabes, and co-chaired by: Salah El Shakhs, Bish Sanyal, Johanna Looye, Bruce Stiftel, Gill-Chin Lim, and Jay Chatterjee. The committees mission was to prepare specific recommendations and plans for discussion, adoption, and implementation in the following areas: 1) curricular changes ACSP member schools might consider and implement, 2) development of opportunities for research and study abroad and interaction with non-U.S. scholars, 3) strengthening planning education and the field of planning abroad. Though not a formal responsibility of GPEIG, many members of the interest group were actively involved in the committee.
  • Spring 2002 Special Issue on Globalization and Planning in the Journal of Planning Education and Research. Guest Editors: Farokh Afshar and Keith Pezzolli.
  • Spring 2002 Wim Wiewel, (ACSP President) convenes a Curriculum Sub-committee of the Global Task Force. Professor Bish Sanyal of MIT hosted the meeting, which was facilitated by him and Ruth Yabes. Betsy Sweet, Edward Jepson, Hemalata Dandekar, Keith Pezzoli, Niraj Verma, Ruth Yabes, Siddhartha Sen, and Teresa Vazquez participated in the taskforce. Most of the participants are GPEIG members. The taskforce worked on the elaboration of the conceptual base for a global planning curriculum.
  • Fall 2002 GPEIG formally adopted its by-laws.
  • Fall 2004 Establishment and first time presentation of two new GPEIG Awards: the Gill-Chin Lim Award for the Best Dissertation on International Planning and the Gill-Chin Lim Student Travel Grants (to support travel to the annual ACSP conference). The two awards were presented for the first time at the 2004 ACSP Awards Luncheon in Portland, Oregon.
  • Fall 2004 On Friday, October 22, 2004, Judy and Mike Hibbard hosted a reception for GPEIG members at their home in Portland, Oregon. It was the largest GPEIG reception ever held, preceeded by the largest GPEIG business meeting ever held (69 participants). The Gill-Chin Lim Annual dinner also broke the record for attendance (50 people).
  • Fall 2004 New GPEIG web site launched through a team effort.
  • Fall 2005 GPEIG participants organize a series of panels and roundtables at the 2005 annual ACSP conference. Begin effort focused on Progressive Regionalism.
  • Summer 2006 GPEIG secures approval from JPER editors to try and create a special issue of JPER focused on Progressive Regionalism. Call for papers released.
  • Fall 2006 HUD (International Division) awards GPEIG a $7,500 grant to promote global mindedness in planning research and pedagogy, and supports GPEIG participation in the second World Planning Schools Congress. ACSP agrees to manage the fund.
  • Winter 2006. GPEIG co-Chairs launch a critical visioning and strategic planning process focused on GPEIG near, medium and long term aims. Business meeting/lunch (40 participants) and brainstorming session held at the 2006 ACSP conference...Learn More.
  • 2008 Fourth Joint Congress of ACSP and AESOP held in Chicago.
  • 2010 GPEIG Policy on Forming Collaborative Partnerships, voted on and passed by the majority of members at the Annual Business Meeting
  • 2011 The third World Planning Schools Congress held in Perth, WA
  • 2013 Fifth Joint Congress of ACSP and AESOP in Dublin (University College)
  • 2015 ACSP leadership formally invites GPEIG to nominate a Representative to GPEAN.  Francis Owusu is elected as the first GPEIG alternative to GPEAN.
  • 2016  Fourth World Planning Schools Congress held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (July). GPEIG cosponsored several panels and sessions with GPEAN and WPSC. 
  • 2016  Several GPEIG members involved in drafting chapters of the UN Habitat III document on Urbanization and Global Planning for the meeting at Quio in October 2016.
  • 2016 GPEIG Ambassadors launched. 
  • 2016 Three additional GPEIG awards introduced to recognize distinguished service to the organization and outstanding scholarship by students and planners.
  • 2016 GPEIG transitioned to its new website on ACSP’s new web platform.  A new learning resources portal launched on the website to host case studies, syllabi and other resources.