Transactions of the Association of European Schools of Planning

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Transactions of the Association of European Schools of Planning is an international peer-reviewed open-access journal, produced and owned by AESOP, Association of European Schools of Planning. The journal aims at promoting excellence in planning education and research, a key goal for AESOP. It supports and disseminates scholarly work of the highest quality, covering the whole spectrum of the planning discipline, including, but not limited to, that produced by AESOP members or participants in AESOP events and activities. By expanding the already rich opportunities for networking and scholarly dialogue that AESOP offers via annual congresses, thematic group activities, and specialist meetings, Transactions serves as a platform for the international planning community to share research, innovative practices, and provocative thoughts among peers.

Transactions publishes both contributions arising from different AESOP events and activities and open submissions from all scholars who would like to share their research in the planning discipline. We welcome unsolicited contributions which present the findings of original research in planning and related fields of academic enquiry. We also welcome ‘think pieces’ and policy focussed articles that address diverse contemporary themes in planning and sustainable urban and regional development. Invited papers by members of AESOP are featured in each issue to help stimulate discussions on education and research agenda as well as to contribute to the dissemination of planning research and the AESOP community’s ongoing debates and efforts in promoting excellence in planning. Articles developed from AESOP congress papers, from AESOP prizes, such as Best Congress Paper Prize winners and nominees, Excellence in Teaching Prize winners, and from AESOP Thematic Group conferences, seminars and workshops are also most welcome in the journal.


Recent Submissions

Now showing 1 - 20 of 68
  • ItemOpen Access
    Editorial - Volume 7 / Issue 1 / (2023)
    (AESOP, 2023) Sykes, Olivier
    This issue of Transactions of AESOP brings together papers that address key contemporary planning themes and agendas with a particular emphasis on appreciating the importance of time and space in shaping the substantive matters planning addresses and the manner in which it responds to these. Collectively the papers provide a timely reminder that planning as an activity has both a temporal and spatial dimension. It is enmeshed in temporal and spatial processes with material effects and must be cognisant of different temporal and spatial scales as it seeks to shape territories which maximise human flourishing within safe environmental limits. We would like to thank all the authors and reviewers who have contributed to this issue of the Journal.
  • ItemOpen Access
    The tragedy of the time horizon : Navigating short-termism for long-term sustainability
    (AESOP, 2023) Böhme, Kai
    Future-orientated thinking needs to be strengthened in planning and policy making to respond to the challenges posed by ‘presentism’. Despite the inherent uncertainty of the future, effective planning and policy making require the ability to envision potential future developments and implications of today´s decisions. The ’tragedy of the time horizon’ emphasises the detrimental effects of short-term thinking on various domains, including the environment, economic stability, and social equity. It encompasses the multifaceted challenges posed by short-term thinking and the neglect of long-term consequences. To combat this, we must boost our future literacy, i.e. the capacity to imagine, read, and use the future, both at the individual and societal levels. Future literacy is vital for navigating uncertainty, making strategic decisions, embracing innovation, enhancing social resilience, and promoting sustainable development. This requires a collective effort to improve future literacy skills, foster imagination and creativity, and overcome the challenges of ‘the tyranny of now’. Envisioning positive futures is crucial for inspiring hope, collaboration, and informed decision-making, particularly in a rapidly changing world.
  • ItemOpen Access
    “Don’t despise us!” : Addressing the irrelevance of the vulnerable in public space
    (AESOP, 2023) Akarsu, Basak; Akcakaya Waite, Imge; Ozmen, Cansu
    This paper attempts to develop a novel insight into Hannah Arendt’s socio-political theories in order to examine and alleviate the socio-spatial exclusion of the vulnerable by greater society. It utilises Arendt’s classification of the terms ‘communal’ and ‘irrelevant’ as a pair of opposing concepts in which the state of ‘vulnerability’ is associated with being deemed to be ‘irrelevant’ within society. The study addresses the exclusionary qualities of public spaces by focusing on the complex relationships observed between these concepts in Turkey through a content analysis of 35 national satire magazines and 30 YouTube channels that reflect on various states and perceptions of vulnerability in Turkish society and culture. It concludes with a series of recommendations by which to close the gap within the communal-irrelevant duality that could enhance vulnerable individuals’ urban rights.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Public Space and Play Theory : Reading Aachen through the Play Theory
    (AESOP, 2023) Isik, Pelin; Reicher, Christa; Sezer, Ceren
    Public spaces serve as the sensory system of urban life, and are crucial for interconnecting individuals, ideas, and cultures within the fabric of cities. This study provides a fresh interpretation of public spaces by examining people’s activities from a new perspective. By applying play theory to public space analysis, the study uncovers spontaneous and unplanned activities and the novel relationships which exist between users and their environments. In so doing it paves the way for a new approach to public space design. With a focus on Aachen as a place of play, this study seeks to develop urban design tools that take into account users’ leisure time activities. By recognizing the unique relationships that play can create between individuals and their surroundings in terms of perceptions, intentions, actions, and uses of space, the research encourages a fresh perspective on urban design tools. Ultimately, the findings of this study offer a new design approach for creating public spaces that are more participating, inclusive, and user-centred.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Room for uncertainty in infrastructure planning : How continuous certainification by decision makers results in more uncertainty
    (AESOP, 2023) Veenma, Klaas; Leendertse, Wim; Arts, Jos
    An increasingly dynamic environment and engaged society necessitates decision makers in infrastructure planning to adopt adaptive and participative planning approaches and give room to uncertainty in planning and decision making. In planning, individual actors belonging to a group of like-minded actors may attempt to influence decision-making about planning proposals. They do so by using a mix of instruments such as research, participation, agreements, and so on. To gain greater insight into the processes of interactions between decision makers and other relevant actors in planning, the planning of three infrastructure cases – a road upgrade, an airport runway redevelopment, and a river bypass in the Netherlands – was studied in-depth each covering a period of 20 years. Interestingly, a couple of overarching patterns regarding dealing with uncertainty in planning and decision-making appeared from the study. Decision makers continuously strive for ‘certainification’, and do so by deploying authority-based instruments. Indeed, they keep doing so, even if the the result obtained is opposite of that which was desired. Certainification i.e., decision makers striving for reducing uncertainties, often results in a reaction of ‘decertainification’ from opponents. It seems as if decision makers strengthen the latter’s own opposition. And when decision makers actually do give room for uncertainties through adopting an adaptive approach, other actors often demand less uncertainty; driving decision makers back to their thirst for certainification. To overcome this continuous loop, an arena and institutional setting should be created in which actors from different advocacy coalitions are involved in open dialogue to better balance the perceived uncertainties of all stakeholders.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Healthy urban food : The nexus between public health, food systems and city-region governance
    (AESOP, 2023) De Marchi, Marta; Chiara Tosi, Maria
    Food is a territorial system that is closely linked to public health, social equity, and land policies. Eating habits are at the root of both incidence of cardiovascular disease and the phenomenon of malnutrition. Food often entails social inequity and is acquiring, directly and indirectly, ever greater relevance in the tools of territorial governance. The Cities2030 project is being developed and financed by the European Horizon 2020 programme. The methodology agreed upon by the partners envisages the involvement of all interest groups and actors within the food system arena through the installation of urban Policy and Living Labs. The University Iuav of Venice is involved in the development of two labs in the Veneto region: one in the city of Vicenza, the other in the Venice lagoon. Working in these two labs will make it possible to reflect on two food systems which are very different even though they are geographically close.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Editorial - Volume 6 / Issue 1 / (2022): Special issue: Left Behind Regions in Europe and Beyond
    (AESOP, 2022) Sykes, Olivier; Chen, Chia-Lin
    The causes and impacts of new and enduring regional inequalities have been much debated in many regions and countries around the globe over the past decade. This has been reflected in public and political discourse with references to and imaginaries of so-called ‘forgotten’ or ‘left behind’ regions and peripheral territories. Discourses and movements of political discontent have sparked off renewed debates on uneven development and the experience of left-behind places, which struggle with persistent social and economic challenges and might appear to be seen as ‘places that don’t matter’ (Rodríguez-Pose, 2018).
  • ItemOpen Access
    'Levelling Up' Post-Industrial City-Regions in England
    (AESOP, 2022) Arnold, Tom; Hickson, James
    The UK government’s ‘Levelling Up’ agenda represents the latest attempt to address long-standing inter-regional socio-economic disparities in England. This paper assesses how the Levelling Up The UK White Paper, published in early 2022, frames the problem of interregional inequality and the potential of the proposed solutions contained within the paper to address the problem. We argue that the Levelling Up agenda as currently framed is likely to be too spatially vague to achieve meaningful reductions in the level of interregional inequality in England, and suggest that any attempts to improve the economic performance of regions outside of London and the South East should focus on the fortunes of England’s ‘second-tier’ city-regions. Using Liverpool City Region as a case study area, we discuss three key themes included in the white paper and identify some areas where additional policy focus will be required to meet the UK government’s aspirations.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Developing Companionship with the Left-Behinds: University Social Responsibility and a Collaborative Approach to Rural Regeneration in the Badlands Region of Taiwan
    (AESOP, 2022) Chang, Hsiutzu Betty
    The subject of regional inequality has been garnering the attention of scholars over the past decade and has generated debates on territories forgotten by mainstream economic activities. Left-behind places are a global phenomenon yet with various situated conditions in different development contexts that required customized, place-based solutions. This paper discusses a possible approach to work with the left-behinds: using the university as an institutional resource to engage people and places in regional regeneration. Using the [anonymised] project as an example, we describe the learning journey of developing the ground solutions and companionship between a research university and left-behind communities in the rural badlands region. Adopting a hybrid of an asset-based approach to community development and collaborative planning for regional development, this case demonstrates a potential level-up strategy for sustainable development for the lagging region. 
  • ItemOpen Access
    Forgotten territories in Europe : lessons from Italy, Spain and Poland
    (AESOP, 2022) Desjardins, Xavier; Estèbe, Philippe
    This paper presents the results of a comparative research on place-based policies towards “left-behind territories” in Europe. It shows the variety of trajectories of putting the territorial question on the agenda and of defining the 'forgotten' territories in Italy, Spain and Poland. This variety reveals specific processes linked to short- and long-term debates on the Nation. The tools used to help these territories tend to converge, under the influence of methods coming from the European Union. However, the functions of these territories are still unclear in national planning strategies, particularly because their possible contributions to ecological transition and the economic models of this transition are only imperfectly defined.  
  • ItemOpen Access
    Forgotten Italy: Spaces and identities of a changing geography
    (AESOP, 2022) Kercuku, Agim
    The forgotten Italian territories have almost always been understood as compact physical and conceptual spaces. While changing its terms, borders, and issues from time to time, the forgotten regions have been described through a homogeneous image: Mezzogiorno, peripheries and Inner Areas. Such a representation has effects both in conceptualization and efforts taken to recompose the gaps between the forgotten territories and the most active parts. Yet, in recent years, the numerous crises of the 21st century have shattered this compact representation and brought out new geography of forgotten Italy, the Italia di mezzo. The new geography is no longer linked only to the North-South dichotomy and does not concern only the metropolitan suburbs or inland areas. The new geography highlights how to be forgotten now is also a piece on the margins of public policies, underestimated by scientific research but at the center of the twentieth-century urbanization process and the recent crisis.
  • ItemOpen Access
    How can challenges in left behind places be addressed? Learning from Greater Lille, Nantes, the Ruhr region, San Antonio and Estonia
    (AESOP, 2022) Taylor, Abigail
    Addressing issues of regional inequalities and supporting ‘left behind’ regions is a global issue, but analysis of international regions that have successfully levelled up is limited. Developing and implementing effective place-based policies is critical for recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic but remains an under-explored issue. This paper provides insight into different policies and tools used to support left-behind places. Comparing experiences of addressing socio-economic challenges in Greater Lille, Nantes, the Ruhr region, San Antonio and Estonia, it discusses what ingredients for successfully addressing inequalities are, what has worked well, and future challenges. It identifies seven “foundations” for levelling up and stresses the importance of levelling up “within” regions and not just levelling up “of” regions given how despite economic growth in the case study places, clear socio-economic disparities continue to exist. In particular, it debates opportunities to support levelling up through financial management and governance tools.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Editorial - Volume 5 / Issue 2 / (2020): Changing Contexts for Planning Education
    (AESOP, 2021) Sykes, Olivier
    This issue (5.2) of Transactions of AESOP brings together a selection of papers which address current themes and issues in planning education. Two of the papers reflect on the experience of teaching modules submitted to recent rounds of the AESOP Excellence in Teaching Award (ETA), one reports on an experience of internationalisation in planning education, and one is an invited paper by Andrea Frank the present Chair of the AESOP ETA Committee. They all provide original and insightful contributions addressing key themes in contemporary planning education including, the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, new technologies and modes of teaching delivery, the teaching of landscape in planning programmes, and, the internationalisation of planning cohorts and curricula.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Higher Education Futures? Reflections on Covid-19, Digitalization, and Gen Z Expectations
    (AESOP, 2021) Frank, Andrea
    Predicting the future is a difficult and inexact business and, generally, humans are more prone to focus on immediate problems and short-term problem-solving rather than long-range planning. In fact, long-range forecasts are tricky and often rendered wrong due to catalytic events. The dramatic changes in teaching, learning, and conducting research that have seemingly catapulted Higher Education (HE) institutions into a new modus operandi over the past 24 months are a case in point. Who would have predicted that higher education would be conducted by a great many institutions almost entirely virtually and over sustained amounts of time? That academics would teach from their homes lecturing to a screen of black boxes and images? That students would do fieldwork virtually via video, embedded questions and tasks, and that the practice of research teams discussing progress and findings in person would practically vanish?
  • ItemOpen Access
    The International Cooperation in Planning Studio as a Pedagogical Approach: Experiences from Grenoble & Sfax
    (AESOP, 2021) Roux, Jean-Michel
    In 2012, an international planning studio was organized by the Urban Planning Institute of Grenoble (France) at Sfax (Tunisia). What could have been a one-off project evolved into a long-term cooperation between French and Tunisian partners. The international cooperation in urbanism studio is now the focus of the teaching approach in both years of the Urbanism and International Cooperation master’s programme. This paper firstly considers the theoretical and practical contexts in which these studios developed. It then goes on to explore the planning concepts on which they are built. The main pedagogical characteristics are then drawn out. Finally, the lessons which can be learned from this experience and the potential for these to be applied elsewhere are evaluated.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Embedding Landscape in the Education of Young Planners
    (AESOP, 2021) Ray, Karen
    Understanding the relationships between a development and its wider setting is not new to planning. This often delicate balance has been contemplated by planners since well before the ground-breaking European Landscape Convention emerged in 2000. Nevertheless, and in the sustainable management of change, the ELC and its interpretations in domestic laws serve as conscious reminders of landscape as being more value-laden and complex than mere scenery. They support arguments for why meaningful engagement must and should be done - arguments that are most compelling during the education of young planners. In a world where rapid environmental change leads to more deadlines for decision-makers, and in which approaches to prescriptive environmental standards can result in mediocre compliance, it might seem idealistic to expect engagement with landscape in this way. Sharing experiences from University College Cork, this paper explores methods for equipping students with the skills necessary to make efficient and objective yet value-sensitive judgements on landscape at strategic and project levels.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Facilitating the Smooth Transition of Second-Year XJTLU Students into Planning Programmes at the University Of Liverpool: Results and Reflections from an Ongoing Series of Interventions
    (AESOP, 2021) Dockerill, Bertie; Mell, İan; Nurse, Alex
    Increasingly internationalised student cohorts within planning schools offer opportunities to enhance existent student learning, but may also present potential issues, such as language difficulties, cultural disorientation, and the need to assimilate learning styles, internationalise curricula, and varying pedagogic teaching styles, all of which can impact staffing and costs. In 2016 the Department of Planning and Geography at the University of Liverpool obtained a Learning & Teaching (T&L) Award to develop projects examining the potential for a more meaningful learning experience for undergraduate students transitioning to Liverpool from XJTLU – the university’s sister institution in Suzhou, China. This intervention primarily sought to promote complementary understanding of British and Chinese planning at XJTLU and UoL to facilitate improved academic attainment for XJTLU students completing their studies in Liverpool. Evaluating those aspects of the intervention focused on additional contact and one-to-one guidance for students, this paper reflects on this project and develops recommendations on managing the process of student transfer as well as ensuring that the planning discipline integrates “soft skills” more effectively in its teaching.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Editorial - Volume 5 / Issue 1 / June 2021
    (AESOP, 2021) Sykes, Olivier
    This issue (5.1) of Transactions of AESOP brings together a selection of papers submitted to recent rounds of the Best AESOP Congress Paper Award and an invited paper by Tuna Taşan-Kok the Chair of the AESOP Congress Paper Award Committee. They provide original and insightful contributions addressing key themes in contemporary planning research and practice.
  • ItemOpen Access
    New relational understandings of city building: Reading the city through dynamic landscapes of spatial governance
    (AESOP, 2021) Tasan-Kok, Tuna
    In this think piece I will take you on a journey to share my approach to reading contemporary city building, which is increasingly chaotic, fragmented, and complex. Spatial governance, in my understanding, refers to the collective efforts to coordinate and structure the dynamic institutional activities of a variety of actors that aim to organise the built environment. Urban planning is one of these efforts, though not the only one. Therefore, in this article, I will visualise spatial governance as a dynamic landscape which accommodates multi-actor, multi-scalar, multi-loci and multi-temporal regulatory activities related to the uncertainties, opportunities, and crises of the market. Reading dynamic landscapes of spatial governance requires an understanding of regulatory efforts as they refer to the relational behaviour of state, market, and community actors. This approach, to linking regulatory efforts to relational behaviour, in my view, gives us new opportunities to provide comprehensive understandings of how cities develop under market-driven conditions.
  • ItemOpen Access
    The impact of actor-relational dynamics on integrated planning practice
    (AESOP, 2021) Eräranta, Susa; Mladenović, Miloš N.
    Integrated planning processes involve an increasing number of actors and aim to create synergy between multiple knowledges in communicative settings. Planning research has acknowledged that the actor-relational aspects of planning processes are not yet adequately understood, and that methods to reveal the often-invisible dynamics and their possible effects over time require development. This research aims at developing a methodological contribution for revealing the socio-communicative complexities of integrated planning processes, by focusing on the aspects of knowledge co-creation and process memory development. Actor-relational dynamics are explored through social network analysis and qualitative methods, using longitudinal data from a four-year strategic spatial planning process in the Finnish context. The findings indicate that a range of actor-relational dynamics affect the level of sectoral and scalar integration over time, and that social complexities have an essential role in enabling knowledge co-creation and process memory development. Unveiling actor-relational dynamics is a promising research direction, requiring new methods for bridging research and practice, and re-centring the need for understanding planning practice on the actor-relational level.
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