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

Track 13: Theories



  • Ben Davy, TU Dortmund University
  • Xavier Desjardins, Sorbonne Université 
  • Luciano Pana Tronca, Istituto Universitario di Studi Superiori, Pavia 

This track invites the bold explorers of the game-changing potential of planning theories to share their ideas on creative destruction, disruptive knowledge, inventive borrowing, and turbulent polyrationality with respect to spatial planning theories. Leaving behind the final frontier of a Pure and Unified Theory of Planning, the track normalises and mediates a wide variety of theoretical approaches to planning. Moreover, it welcomes reflections on how planners employ or are disappointed by theories that address the methods, processes, and substances of planning.

Planning theories are the expression and foundation of planning knowledge and planning performance. However, these theories are not static but inspire constant change and development. The track highlights how planning theories change the game in favour of just and sustainable regional and urban developments. This track expects that questions of planning and theory will be raised and discussed in all tracks: it specifically encourages:

  • unfolding the different meanings of planning and theory as object and subject of planning theories, 
  • contributing to a better understanding of the interconnections between planning practices, planning theories, and planning academia, 
  • understanding the strategies and dynamics of theory-building in planning theories, 
  • deconstructing the relationships between truth, the political, and ideology in planning theories, as well as
  • stimulating a debate on the suitability of planning systems and approaches to encounter today’s big topics and raise awareness for needful changes.

This track offers experienced as well as young planning academics an opportunity to engage with plural planning theories in a turbulent world. Their contributions will examine the scope of planning theories, the integrated or fragile knowledge shared by planning theorists, and the obstacles within planning theories. Recognising that theoretical narratives often are lost in translation and have vague meanings, the track also invites to improve quality through more precise and explicit language in planning theories.

Keywords: planning theories, planning practices, planning academia, theory-building, planning 

This track will host: