INTA was born more than 40 years ago, as the International New Town Association, at a time when determined large-scale urban development projects were undertaken to support the momentum of the new towns.
Today, INTA has established itself as the International Urban Development Association. Nowadays, the development of most of humankind is part of the development of towns and cities, in which most social changes originate. By participating actively in the growth of contemporary society, towns, cities, territorial authorities and their economic partners have turned out to be major agents of change, at both local and global levels. Cities and the networks surrounding them have become centres of deep change and innovation in all its forms: as territorial government entities, they are not only the driving forces of production, but also powerful forces for change.
For years, in order to meet the urgent need for new housing, towns, cities, territorial authorities and their public or private sector partners based their action on a mainly quantitative and short term logic. Today, however, political and economic leaders cannot ignore new trends in attitudes and mindsets: concerned about the deterioration in urban economic and social systems, society as a whole aspires to a better quality of life, to less inequality and therefore to greater involvement in the decision-making that shapes the future. In this new world, it is urgent for decision-makers and urban development professionals to reflect on the conditions in which it is possible to produce and regenerate towns, cities and more equal territories that reject social exclusion in any form.
By focusing on controlled and equitable urban development, INTA offers its support for policies that combine economic efficiency with more balanced social conditions, being based on new urban “governance” models inspired by INTA’s key values: a sense of responsibility, dialogue, humanism and solidarity.
Sense of Responsibility: this means anticipating risks and favouring innovation when deciding on urban development methods and approaches. This also means questioning the relevance of the logic behind territorial development and the scale thereof as well as the levels of political responsibility at which these problems need to be addressed. This is even more necessary as the dynamics of change due to the unprecedented speed of urbanisation have been accelerated by the concentration of human settlement in large metropolitan areas.
Humanism and Solidarity: this means supporting the territorial authorities that fight to eradicate poverty and exclusion, who defend social mixing and reject all forms of discrimination. INTA favours all forms of partnership for development between public and private sector institutions, resulting from a democratic agreement between all the players.
Dialogue: this means organising exchanges and public debate in order to foster changes in decision-making that favour more democratic practices, the sharing of knowledge, exchanges of experience, and the joint production of urban projects. INTA believes that to develop and simplify local democracy the best methods are based on active listening, dialogue and transparency.
INTA’s fundamental mission is to foster the sharing of knowledge and experience in the management of urban development and of territories undergoing deep and rapid change, by providing towns, cities, local authorities and their economic partners with the political and management tools they need to contribute to controlled and equitable urban development. All the assignments taken on by INTA and all the activities it undertakes using a variety of tools are based on these values and principles. The fields in which INTA operates cover urban development on all scales, but a common thread runs through all its activities: integration of the sectional policies implemented by public and private sector players in areas such as urban planning, housing, education & training, economic development, employment, social inclusion, security, safety, accessibility, travel & mobility, health, culture, historical heritage, tourism, public spaces, urban shapes, images, urban identity, territorial marketing, etc. When integrated, such policies make it possible to redesign territories, their urban structures, social life and professional bodies and practices. They are the drivers of changes to the modi operandi in different territories, such as new towns, neighbourhoods, municipalities, metropolitan areas and regions. Integrated policies are opportunities to draw up innovative approaches and to induce new forms of dialogue & negotiation, as well as new relationships between social players, resulting in original systems of governance.