Getting closer : AoU and INTA | Michel Sudarskis

United in our ethos to promote and learn from good practice in urbanism, the Academy has been in discussion with INTA about areas of collaboration. Michele Sudarkis, secretary general of INTA, offers his thoughts on how we can work together.

INTA is a global membership association, established in 1976, which facilitates the sharing of knowledge, experience and tools to deliver sustainable integrated urban development. Its roots were in the European ‘new town’ movement (as the International New Town Association), with a strong belief in the importance of international exchange of experiences and know-how. INTA still strongly believes it is critical to have the involvement of all stakeholders in reshaping urban environments, but the focus on new towns specifically now sits within a separate dedicated organisation — INTI (International New Towns Institute), which has worked with the AoU on the Milton Keynes Symposium.

Based in Paris, INTA acts as an expert advisory and intermediary between policymakers and urban practitioners, using advocacy, support and peer-to-peer learning amongst many other tools. It works with its 3,000 members across sectors, disciplines and political horizons in over 60 countries across the world by providing informed, impartial and pragmatic advice. INTA has long had strong relationships with many Francophone and Asiatic countries, but more recently has developed an increasingly deep connection with several Hispanic countries, supported by dedicated members of staff.

INTA has also just concluded a successful multi-country support initiative in parallel with UN HABITAT III, working with cities in Mexico, Peru, Chile, Colombia, Taiwan, Canada, Ecuador, Morocco, Germany, Sweden. It is now developing a new global peer-partnering programme focused on the delivery of the adopted HABITAT III 2030 agenda and of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Key strands of this programme will include design quality and sustainability of the built environment, smart delivery mechanisms, and building resilience to physical, economic and social shocks or transitions.

INTA and the AoU have been in discussions for some time about developing a closer working relationship. Although both organisations operate within the general field of good practice in urbanism, they have quite different but complementary geographic and service strengths. Several members of the Academy have had close involvement with INTA for many years, via membership or representation in the boards of one or the other. This includes former Academy board member John Worthington MBE as well as Kyle Alexander, Christer Larsson from Malmö and Kerri Farnsworth, who was nominated to INTA’s board in 2016. In a world of increasing challenge in growing and maintaining memberships and financial and in-kind support, it therefore makes sense for the Academy to explore developing strategic relationships with partners such as INTA.

Among many opportunities we are happy to discuss include reciprocal membership arrangements, a joint annual congress, partnering for representation at the 2018 World Urban Forum, and INTA becoming involved in the ‘European City of the Year’ award via both the assessment process and the dissemination of extensive knowledge and insight developed by the Academy over the past 11 years of the Awards. In addition, with their roots in international ‘new town’ movement, INTA can bring its best practice and lessons learned over the past 40 years to support the Academy’s new focus on new urban settlements, such as the garden cities.

Michel Sudarskis is secretary general of the International Urban Development Association – INTA

Michel participated in the Academy’s annual congress in Aarhus in September, and looks forward to meeting more members of the Academy.

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