Commonwealth Association of Planners

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The Commonwealth Association of Planners, abbreviated to CAP, was formed provisionally on 23 September 1970, and its constitution ratified in March 1973, to, among other things;

"promote co-operation between member organisations and between individuals in the commonwealth, to achieve the most effective contribution by planners to the wellbeing of society, and the creation of a satisfactory environment."[1]

In 2002 this was amended. The phrase "a satisfactory environment" was deleted and replaced by "more sustainable settlements and adequate shelter for all". This terminology derived from the Habitat Agenda that was agreed at the 1996 UN Habitat II meeting in Istanbul. It reflected the start of an increasingly close link between CAP and UN Habitat.

The association produces newsletters roughly three times a year, and holds conferences for planning theorists and practitioners. CAP was led by Heriot-Watt professor Cliff Hague from 2000–2006, under whom the association played a significant role in developing "new urban planning" in response to the rapid urbanisation and increased slum settlements in cities across the globe. From 2006–10 he was Secretary-General of CAP. Since 2010 Clive Harridge has been Secretary-General. CAP works with the Commonwealth Association of Architects, the Commonwealth Engineering Council and the Commonowealth Association of Surveying and Land Economy: these act together as Built Environment Professions in the Commonwealth (BEPIC). CAP also works with other Commonwealth partners as ComHabitat.

CAP led the case for the "re-invention" of planning at the 2006 UN Habitat World Urban Forum, where a book was launched to support this advocacy. The book. Making Planning Work: A Guide to Approaches and Skills was published by Earthscan. In 2010 CAP has produced two Discussion Papers published by the Commonwealth Secretariat. These are Gender in Planning and Urban Development and The State of the Cities: Why and How the Commonwealth must address the challenge of Sustainable Urbanisation.

Since 2006 CAP has been led by president Christine Platt.[1]


C.Hague 2009 "Viewpoint: Planning in the Commonwealth" Town Planning Review 80(2) downloadable from

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