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


Planning models, circulation and learning across boundaries


  • Divya Leducq, Université de Lille
  • Chandrima Mukhopadhyay, UN-Habitat India
  • Marcela Alonso Ferreira, Sciences Po Paris

Within a more interconnected world, urban professionals through their references and practices are contributing to the international circulation of ideas and policies in and around spatial planning, experimenting with solutions to environmental and social challenges. Track 14 “Policy Mobility” aims to critically examine not only the circulating planning ideas, both in theory and practice, but also the transnational circuits of knowledge (how do ideas travel?), international benchmark, local experimentations, urban production that result from them, and urban resistance towards them. The session will focus on the political-economic, institutional, ethical, and methodological issues of international exchange in the planning field (process of diffusion). While the circulation from Norths to Souths - and reverse (even though limited) - of ideas and policies (such as: Olympic urbanism, transition towns, smart cities, Green European Capital, Transit-Oriented Development, 15-minutes city, etc) is not a new topic, new debates have emerged: hybridization of models, entrepreneurial urbanism, adaptive urbanism, decolonization of planning practices, provincialization of policy, etc. 

We invite contributions from different intellectual traditions such as the history of planning ideas, international development studies, urban studies, the globalization and postcolonial literatures and the policy transfer and social learning fields. The session will look into North-North, North-South, South-North as well as South-South circulation of ideas and policies. So, we call for studies from various contexts such as Europe, North America, and also Asia, Africa, Middle East. 

We welcome studies on roles of international networks, actors and agencies and their expertise and ethics (e.g. ICLEI, UN-Habitat, C40…) in transferring such ideas and policies. While the presentations would discuss land use planning, transportation planning, basic services, and infrastructure planning, we are interested in learning which policy traveled to what context and by whom, and to what extent it was successfully implemented and why.

Contributions to this track might cover the following urban planning issues (although this list is not exhaustive):

  • ​​Assemblage and hybridization of planning models; adaptation process
  • Provincialisation of planning theories, ideas and policies; situating planning practice
  • Planning culture/ Culture of practice
  • Institutional changes in sustainability transitions
  • Role of epistemic communities
  • Role of civil societies in either promoting or resisting international ideas
  • Tracing policy mobility and policy networks
  • Transnational circuits of knowledge
  • Carriers of ideas and Struggle of local experts to adopt; urban resistance
  • Outside observer and Insider practitioner; reflective practitioner. 
  • Local ambitions, policy experimentations 
  • Sustainableplanning models, new urbanism, European Green Capital, European Capital of Culture, Olympic urbanism, Smart-city, compact city, 15-minutes city, transition towns, TOD, gender mainstreaming strategies…

For all these themes, one might wish to discuss: theoretical perspectives, methodologies and empirical contributions exploring shared urban models, ideas and practices and stakeholder involvement, including activists, across as well as key results/impacts achieved or not achieved such as environmental planning policies, local development, spatial justice or better territorial cohesion.

This track could also be of interest to the thematic groups on, Transboundary Planning and GovernanceFrench and British Planning Studies GroupUrban Transformation in Europe and ChinaNordic Planning as well as Planning Theories And Practices For The Global South & East

Keywords: Mobile urbanism, international exchange, environment, urbanization, green-city models, planning practices, postcolonialism, gender lens, urban strategy, policy transfer, local assemblage, global age, placemaking, traveling theory…