The PIA Congress will be a special one in 2017, as PIA celebrates 50 years of Australia’s most prestigious planning event. So it is appropriate that we hold this 50th anniversary Congress in Australia’s oldest city – Sydney – which, in 2017, will celebrate its 229th birthday. As we look back with pride on how far Congress and PIA have come since the early days of RAPI, we can also look back with pride and awe on how far Sydney has come – from a British penal colony first settled in 1788, to a world-class metropolis that hosted the turn-of-the-millennium Olympic Games. In looking back, we equip ourselves to look forward with a deeper and more thoughtful perspective – and to seize the unique opportunity presented by Congress to explore, discuss and plan how to ensure not only this vibrant city, but the modern, multicultural country of which it is an icon, should continue to grow.
‘Growing up, growing out’ is the theme of PIA Congress in 2017. They are two terms that planners are very familiar with, and which are more relevant than ever in this era of rapid population growth, demographic change and urbanisation. PIA have produced numerous policy pieces around these themes over the past few months, setting the stage for several of the focus areas of the PIA Congress: Growth, Density, Design, Economic Development, Democracy and Engagement in Planning and Disruption. Congress is really where planning policy is brought to life – through keynote presentations that excite and inspire; through plenary sessions that provide practical information and real-world insight; and through the social functions that bring us together as members of a relatively small but fascinating industry – one that touches on virtually all aspects of modern life in one way or another.