Present: Arnfield (Sec.), Bitan, Bornstein, Eliasson, Grimmond, Mayer, Oke (Pres.), Roth, Voogt.
The meeting was opened at 6:30 p.m. Since this was the inaugural meeting of the organization, a photograph recording the event was taken (with the assistance of Andres Soux, UBC).
The meeting proper was called to order at 6:50.
The agenda was approved unanimously.
President Tim Oke welcomed those present and reviewed the history of meetings on urban climatology since the late 1960s. One set was organized by the WMO (also WHO and CIB) in Brussels, Moscow and Mexico City. A second set was run by IFHP in Herzliya-on-Sea and Karlsruhe. The two merged to hold joint International Conferences on Urban Climatology (ICUC) together with other occasional cosponsors (e.g. AMS, ISB, IGU) in Kyoto (1989), Dahka (1993), Essen (1996) and Sydney (1999). In Sydney there was a consensus that ICUC should be constituted as a more formal entity, but that it should be a loosely structured organization without expensive trappings. An unofficial board was assembled consisting of a member from each of the organizations involved in the Sydney meeting. They agreed to move to the next stage and create an organizational structure that has representation from the full spectrum of the urban climate community and to issue a call for proposals to host the next ICUC. The outcome of the first objective was the organization of an election of ten board members, with voting conducted via the internet, via the medium of the urban climate list run by Sue Grimmond.
A vote of thanks was proposed by Tim to Sue Grimmond (and Brian Offerle who assisted in the technical aspects of the voting operation) which received unanimous concurrence.
The result was the election of the ten board members listed at the top of these minutes, who Tim congratulated and thanked.
Tim made the point that this is a new organization - we have a clean slate to make it what we want it to be. His personal vision was for a "low key", collegial and democratic organization with the overriding objectives of fostering cooperation and exchange of ideas within our common areas of interest, and organizing regular international urban climate conferences. He envisaged a "virtual" organization, conducting much of its business via the internet and communicating with members via a web site.
Subsequent to his statements, thanks were offered by Arieh Bitan to Tim for his leadership in spearheading the formation of the organization, which were echoed by all present.
In the open discussion that followed, a case was made (Jamie Voogt) for establishing a conference presence independent of the American Meteorological Society, while recognizing the support that the AMS has given in the past. In addition, Tim agreed to draft his vision for the organization, which will be circulated among the board.
Fifteen potential names for the organization had been proposed prior to the board meeting (see Agenda). Additional suggestions were made during the meeting and discussion centered on the implications of and impressions conveyed by various terms, both for the organizational entity ("Society", "Association", "Union", etc) and for its topical focus ("Urban Climate", "Urban Meteorology", "Urban Atmosphere, etc). Rounds of voting were held to exclude many of the proposed names but the board was divided about equally on the last two candidates, viz. "International Association for the Urban Atmosphere" and "International Association for Urban Climate".
It was agreed informally to take the choice to the membership by a vote conducted via the internet. The voting would be restricted to members of the organization but an email would be sent to everyone on the urban climate list seeking additional members before the vote was conducted.
John Arnfield proposed that the board might consider coopting additional members to rectify the unrepresentative nature of its current composition, for example, by appointing scientists from under-represented areas of the world and/or women. Discussion ensued which revealed that this idea did not garner general support and the proposal was withdrawn. In recognition of the need for representativeness, however, Sue Grimmond agreed to take responsibility for devising procedures to facilitate communication with scientists in all parts of the world and to involve them in the plans and activities of the organization. These procedures will be circulated to the board when available.
John also drew attention to the issue of the terms of office for those on the board and the need to maintain continuity of board membership by retiring board members in a staggered manner. Owing to time constraints, it was agreed that John would prepare a draft document outlining procedures for achieving these aims. The document will be distributed to the board for discussion when available.
Finally, the issue of adding to the board the convenor of the next ICUC was addressed (in the event that that person is not an elected board member). After some discussion, this proposal was passed (7 for, 1 against, chair abstained).
Prior to the meeting, the President has circulated to the board ten proposals for the next ICUC.
Discussion ensued on the criteria to be employed to assess these proposals. The scheme of Tim Oke was adopted whereby proposals would be evaluated with respect to (i) organizational base, (ii) financial responsibility, (iii) accessibility of the location (transportation access and costs), (iv) general costs (conference fees, hotel rates, etc), (v) intrinsic site factors (city characteristics, scientific history and special scientific character) and (vi) proposed timing of the conference. An additional criterion emerged in discussion - whether the organizer was recognized as an active, participating member of the urban climate community.
Following the establishment of criteria for evaluating the proposals, each was discussed individually. Where proposers were present, they were asked to leave the room during discussion of their proposal, after any questions of fact had been answered. On their return, the decision was not communicated until all cases had been dealt with.
As a result of this process, four proposals were retained for further consideration.
Prior discussion had established the desirability of organizing ICUC independent of the AMS Urban Environment Board for the next cycle. Since the AMS urban meeting was itself in flux but is likely to be held in 2002, the next ICUC should be held in 2003. This does not preclude the possibility of joint meetings in the future, however, with the AMS and our organization acting in partnership.
The board was polled for additional criteria and requests for information that might be used to differentiate among the remaining proposals and to cull the list further. Board members were asked to suggest such items by email to the board distribution list.
Following the next round of requests for information, the remaining candidate locations for the ICUC would be presented to the full membership for expressions of interest. The question posed would be "Would you be interested in attending a conference in this location?" so that members could select multiple locations if they wished. The board would not be bound by the voting, however, and would be free to consider all facts available to it.
Items 6 and 7 were abandoned due to the late hour and board members were urged to make any views they have on these topics known via the board list server.
The meeting adjourned at 11:30 p.m.
Respectfully submitted by John Arnfield (Secretary)