6a. Land use and planning

Track Chairs:

Dr. Marc Wolfram. Associate Professor, Urban Transformations Lab, Dept. of Architecture, SKKU (Sungkyunkwan University), South Korea wolfram@skku.edu

Dr. Markus Egermann. Senior Researcher, IOER (Leibniz Institute for Ecological Urban and Regional Development), Germany m.egermann@ioer.de

Planning for transformation?

Goals and objectives of the track

The overall objective of this track is to critically review and discuss recent innovations in planning approaches, strategies and instruments regarding their potential and limits to prepare, to initiate and to sustain transformative urban change.

Cities are widely recognized as critical hotspots for shifting current development pathways at local to global scales towards sustainability. Deep structural changes are required in the multiple systems that urban areas are constituted of (Bai et al., 2016; Webb et al., 2017; Wolfram et al., 2016). In fact, cities from across the globe appear to have intensified their efforts for achieving more substantive changes in urban systems. Over the last decade, the number and scope of new planning approaches to foster and direct future urban change has increased considerably, both in the global North and South, targeting a variety of fundamental long-term economic, social and environmental changes. This process has frequently been driven by:

  • The mainstreaming of particular sustainability-related policy priorities into planning (strategies for realizing a "low carbon city", "resilient city", "eco-city", "smart city", "green city", etc.);
  • The emergence and/or revival of bottom-up and collaborative planning initiatives targeting urban sustainability and transformation (transition towns, grassroots initiatives, Local Agenda 21, etc.);
  • The diffusion and adoption of planning concepts and formats developed in various strands of sustainability science (transition management, adaptive governance, urban living labs, etc.);
  • The changing role of science and researchers as part of society (transformative science, real world experiments, scientivists, citizen science, etc.).

This emerging diversity of novel planning approaches necessarily implies shifts regarding the role and tasks of planning, its rationalities and related institutions (Franklin and Marsden, 2015; Malekpour et al., 2015; Wolfram, 2017): New approaches are frequently cutting across established sectoral and territorial boundaries, involve a variety of different actors and through novel methods, while seldom relying on formal regulations. Most importantly, the extent to which such approaches effectively enable or constrain transformative change may differ substantially, depending on their respective formation, orientation and design.

Track questions

Considering the proliferation of new approaches in urban planning sketched above, the overarching questions addressed by this track are therefore:

  • What are the institutions, motives and interests shaping new planning approaches and techniques?
  • What are the discourses that build coalitions and mobilize action (e.g. around "green growth", "sufficiency", "efficiency", "resilience", "security", "inclusion")?
  • What is the role of the global urban sustainability agenda (Agenda 2030, Habitat III), and in particular SDG11 in this?
  • What are characteristics of such new planning approaches regarding: informality/formality, scope, scale, timeframe, participants, process, methods and outputs?
  • How do such planning approaches address the conditions and requirements for transformative systemic change?
  • How do such planning approaches affect the normative orientations, power positions, and legitimacy of actors?
  • What are the outcomes and impacts of such planning approaches in terms of transformative change?
  • How do such planning approaches compare to each other (across themes or regions), and/or to formerly existing ones?

Research topics

Contributions to this track should thus engage theoretically and/or empirically with novel planning approaches and the institutions, practices and/or experiments they engender - critically exploring their role in achieving urban transformations towards sustainability. This may include, but is not limited to:

  • Novel urban planning regulations and policy frameworks;
  • Plans and strategies for comprehensive, sectoral and/or thematic urban change;
  • Formal and/or informal urban planning approaches, instruments, techniques and tools;
  • Exchange and knowledge transfer on urban planning innovations at multiple scales;

The subjects or themes of planning may thus be diverse, including spatial and urban development, land use, climate change, mobility, energy, water, waste, building, green/blue infrastructures, food, biodiversity, ICT, circular economy, social inclusion, resilience, etc.


You may submit your abstract by visiting the Ex Ordo abstract submission system (you will be required to setup an account first): http://isdrs2018.exordo.com
Deadline for abstracts: 30 November 2017 7 January 2018


Bai, X., Surveyer, A., Elmqvist, T., Gatzweiler, F.W., Güneralp, B., Parnell, S., Prieur-Richard, A.-H., Shrivastava, P., Siri, J.G., Stafford-Smith, M., Toussaint, J.-P., Webb, R., 2016. Defining and advancing a systems approach for sustainable cities. Curr. Opin. Environ. Sustain. 23, 69-78. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cosust.2016.11.010

Franklin, A., Marsden, T., 2015. (Dis)connected communities and sustainable place-making. Local Environ. 20, 940-956. https://doi.org/10.1080/13549839.2013.879852

Malekpour, S., Brown, R.R., de Haan, F.J., 2015. Strategic planning of urban infrastructure for environmental sustainability: Understanding the past to intervene for the future. Cities 46, 67-75. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cities.2015.05.003

Webb, R., Bai, X., Smith, M.S., Costanza, R., Griggs, D., Moglia, M., Neuman, M., Newman, P., Newton, P., Norman, B., Ryan, C., Schandl, H., Steffen, W., Tapper, N., Thomson, G., 2017. Sustainable urban systems: Co-design and framing for transformation. Ambio. https://doi.org/10.1007/s13280-017-0934-6

Wolfram, M., 2017. Urban planning and transition management: Rationalities, instruments and dialectics, in: Frantzeskaki, N., Bach, M., Hölscher, K., Avelino, F. (Eds.), Co-Creating Sustainable Urban Futures. Springer, New York, p. In Press.

Wolfram, M., Frantzeskaki, N., Maschmeyer, S., 2016. Cities, systems and sustainability: Status and perspectives for research on urban transformations. Curr. Opin. Environ. Sustain. 18-25. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cosust.2017.01.014