This Special Session is hosted within Track 10
Sustainability scholars are clear with their message: the life-protecting global ecosystems are deteriorating at an alarming pace. Despite decades of sustainability endeavors in planning, urban planning still too often leads to urban development that bears heavy environmental weight, causing biodiversity loss and overuse of natural resources. This observation leads to the questioning of certain underlying presumptions of the planning apparatus as a facilitator of land use and urban growth. From the perspective of planetary well-being, neither the traditional relativist view of sustainability nor reductionist focus on individuals and their attitudes and behavior (be they humans, animals or plants) are enough to safeguard the life-protecting ecosystems from extractivist impacts.
The regulative framework is also tightening due to the possible forthcoming legislation on nature restoration in the European context. Response of the planning community in the face of environmental emergency is called after. What would a shift to spatial planning conditioned by strong sustainability require? Does the planning community have the courage to enable radical change of mindset? What are the current enabling conditions and barriers to support or hinder the transformations? Do current educational and pedagogical practices lead towards the needed transformation? How could educational and pedagogical practices strengthen the role of planners in sustainability transformations? And furthermore, which reforms or changes to current practice might be needed based on these reflections? In this open special session we invite scholars to share their experiences and views on the role of planning education in sustainability transformations. How to treat planning sites as interconnected webs of diverse forms of life, non-living environments and meanings? How to support planetary empathy? What is the role of scholarly teachers and learners in sustainability transformations? And most importantly, how to support the future generations of planners in enhancing planetary and systemic well- being accounting for and expanding beyond individual humans, animals and plants?
Keywords: Planetary well-being, strong sustainability, education, sustainability transformation, more-than-human planning