This research project examines how spatial planning is taught and researched today at large planning schools around the world. The result will be a planning map that provides an overview of what is meant by planning in different parts of the world and how the travelling concept of planning changes as it travels.
The history of city and regional planning as a public task begins in the second half of the 19th century with the efforts of far-sighted urban planners to overcome the repercussions of industrialization, housing-related and social grievances of that time. "Planning emerged as the 20th century response to the 19th century industrial city" (Fainstein / Campbell 2012). Rational and scientifically based government planning was seen as a way to select the best alternative to achieve a given goal. In the divergent political systems of the era, planning was declared a technical tool.
Since its beginnings, the discipline of planning has developed into a science relevant in research, teaching and practice. Parallel to the development of city and regional planning, thinking about planning evolved, both within spatial planning and in other areas of society. This led to the emergence of planning theories, the teaching of which is now anchored in the curriculum of all planning courses. For a long time, however, planning theory was understood merely as a component of engineering planning that was oriented toward practical problems and concerned with methodological and procedural issues. "The planning tradition itself has generally been 'trapped' inside a modernist instrumental rationalism for many years" (Healey 1997). It was only in the spirit of optimism of the late 1960s that controversial debates on the relationship between planning and politics, on the understanding of values in planning, and on the legitimacy of planning statements began.
This research project examines how spatial planning (aka city and regional planning) is taught and researched today at large planning schools around the world. By "large planning schools" we mean schools that have the largest number of students (undergraduate and graduate) in planning programs. Determining these is challenging because there are no robust statistics on this. In consultation with continental associations of planning schools and based on an internet search, a preliminary list of 20 large planning schools in Europe, North America, Latin America, Africa, Asia, and Australia was compiled.
An empirical study shall be conducted at these schools to examine what they understand by spatial planning (aka city and regional planning) and how they teach and research spatial planning. The result will be a planning map that provides an overview of what is meant by planning in different parts of the world and how the travelling concept of planning changes as it travels.
Between November 2023 and March 2024, up to ten selected planning schools will be visited to conduct interviews and have some classroom observations. Intended are visits to the following planning schools (in alphabetical order): California State Polytechnic University Pomona, RMIT University, Torino Politecnico, Universidade Federal do ABC, University of Cape Town, University of Cincinnati, University of Guadalajara, University of Liverpool, University of Melbourne, Vienna University of Technology.
A video with a presentation about the project at the UF ABC in Sao Paulo can be found on YouTube.
Prof. Dr. Thorsten Wiechmann (Projektleitung)
Laufzeit des Projekts: 01.01.2023 - 30.09.2024