36th AESOP Annual Congress 2024 Paris, France
“GAME CHANGER? Planning for just and sustainable urban regions”

Three Characters in Search for an Author. Sustainability, resilience and transition in spatial planning research and practices 

 This Roundtable is hosted within Track 7

Organizers :  

  • Ombretta Caldarice, Politecnico di Torino, DIST, R3C
  • Filippo Magni, Università IUAV di Venezia, EPIC, R3C


  • Federico Beffa, Fondazione Cariplo
  • Grazia Brunetta, Politecnico di Torino, DIST, R3C
  • Pasquale Capizzi, ARUP
  • Alberto Giacometti, Nordregio - Research centre for regional development and planning 
  • Paolo SiccardiFondazione Cariplo
  • David Simon, University of London, Department of Geography
  • Nicola Tollin, University of Southern Denmark
  • Jan Zaman, IDEA Consult

During the last fifty years, sustainability, resilience and transition are, in turn, topics of high interest for academic researchers, policy-makers, and practitioners in facing the multiple challenges of urban development. From a planning perspective, sustainability, resilience and transition require a rethink of the planning process's rationality radically, as it no longer aims to realise physical infrastructures but to reduce environmental emergencies and social disparities in cities.

This premise opens up a renovated season for planning, which requires new spheres of action to deal with complexity. Despite an ambiguity in defining sustainability, resilience and transition, academicians are intensely involved in tracing the epistemological boundaries of the three concepts: resilience as the requirement for sustainability and the agent of change in supporting transition. At the same time, the European policy discourse must remark on the relationship among sustainability, resilience and transition, disclosing the potential of an integrated approach. Finally, the practices are mainly assumed a hybrid interpretation of these concept, missing the opportunity to support locally the ambitious and integrative European policy frameworks. In this scenario, the key challenge for the 21st-century research agenda is to co-develop and harmonise scientific and practice-led knowledge to support informed and science-based decision and policymaking to enable urban regions to evolve and innovate. Starting from this perspective, the Roundtable aims to discuss and explore how spatial planning research and practices can reveal and support the required systemic change, arguing the need to undertake sustainability, resilience and transition simultaneously. 

Keywords:  sustainability, resilience, transition, spatial planning, multi-level governance