University of Pittsburgh
April 8, 1998


Contact:  412-624-4147

PITTSBURGH, April 9 -- Wesley Posvar, University of Pittsburgh president emeritus and professor of international politics, has been named 15th president of the World Society of Ekistics (WSE), a nonpolitical group formed to study human settlements in the past, present and future. His term runs to January 1, 2000.

Founded by Constantinos A. Doxiadis and based in Athens Greece, WSE's objectives are: to promote knowledge and ideas concerning human settlements by research, publications, and conferences; to encourage education in ekistics; to educate public opinion thus stimulating worldwide interest and cooperation; to recognize the benefits and necessity of an interdisciplinary approach to human settlements, and to promote and emphasize such an approach.

"Ekistics (the study of human settlements) is a world-wide enterprise, but it has local urban and neighborhood applications," said Posvar who believes that the lack of a more metropolitan government in Pittsburgh is a handicap. "We can benefit here from regional and even interstate planning," he said. "We will either plan in a coherent way, or there will be an irrational and heterogeneous mass of congestion. Indeed, Doxiadis himself many years ago conducted a study of the Cleveland region, which urgently needs adaptation to the future."

Posvar will succeed previous WSE presidents: Lord Llewelyn-Davies (UK), Margaret Mead (USA), Jean Gottmann (France), Eiichi Isomura (Japan), Sir Robert Matthew (UK), R. Buckminster Fuller (USA), Felipe Herrera (Chile), T.A. Lambo (Nigeria), Earl Finbar Murphy (USA), Charles M. Haar (USA), Gerald B. Dix (UK), John G. Papaioannou (Greece), Wu Liangyong (P.R. China), and Charles M. Correa (India).

Posvar points out that ekistics is already relevant in the University of Pittsburgh. "Our own Institute of Politics generates planning discussions and initiatives across regional counties, towns, and cities, and the Center for Social and Urban Research here was founded with my earlier Athens experiences in mind. With the challenges facing major metropolitan areas in America in the future, universities and 'think tanks' will have vital new roles to play in sociological and economic analysis," he said.

Posvar served as Pitt's president (now called chancellor) from 1967 to 1991. His expertise includes national security policy, foreign affairs, urban planning, civil aviation, and national emergency preparedness. Posvar graduated first in his class from the United States Military Academy at West Point in 1946. He has earned five academic degrees, was a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford, a Littauer Fellow at Harvard and Research Fellow at the M.I.T. Center for International Studies.