2024 AESOP Excellence in Teaching Prize


Teaching in the broad field of planning is one of the main activities of AESOP Member Schools. Thus, in 2002, AESOP introduced a prize, which recognizes and encourages Excellence in Teaching. Through this award, AESOP celebrates and disseminates innovative practices in teaching in its Member Schools. The broad aim of the Prize is to stimulate the development of planning courses or groups of courses in order to better prepare students for their forthcoming practice, to further educate practitioners, and to promote the development of a critical perspective. The specific purpose of the prize is to promote and encourage planning schools to innovate in ways that enhance the knowledge and skills necessary to respond to existing and emerging planning challenges. The Award provides an important opportunity to disseminate effective practice and importantly to celebrate teaching quality amongst AESOP members.


This year we received 14 entries from AESOP member schools across a wide geographical range evidencing the ever-growing strength and quality of planning education in Europe. The submissions displayed throughout high levels of pedagogical quality and in many cases also addressed innovative, future-oriented spatial planning topics. It was a delight and privilege to review the submissions but also posed a bit of a dilemma. Selecting a winner required multiple rounds of deliberations by the committee and it was a very tight race to say the least. 

On behalf of the Excellence in Teaching Award jury it is with pleasure to announce:

  • Winners of the 2024 AESOP Prize for Excellence in Teaching are Emilia Román López and Rafael Córdoba Hernández (Department of Urban and Territorial Planning at Universidad Politécnica de Madrid, Spain) for the module “The city and the environment.” 

The module “The city and the environment” is a compulsory module for 3rd year students completing a 5-year degree. It is taught to a large cohort size for 7 years and continues to stand out for its positive feedback on their learning by students as well as from externals. The objective of the module is to develop design solutions for environmental improvements of outdoor spaces working in close collaboration with a (different) Madrid neighbourhood (and public servants, planners, technicians) each year. The module thoroughly examines the relationship of the city and its physical-climatic environment at territorial and urban scale via important themes in the day and age of climate change adaptation including urban microclimates, heat island effects, nature, urban agriculture, wind, natural risks etc replete with adequate tools of analysis and interventions. The pedagogical approach employs an active learning mode (studio, workshops etc) and is conceptually akin to service-learning whereby learning and community service are combined in well-articulated projects which aim to help small municipalities in Madrid. The jury was also impressed by the successful manifestation of the philosophy that sees the university as integral part of the wider city environment and the organization of a public exhibition showcasing the class results to the community, friends, and family to promote education and awareness building within the wider community.

Two additional submissions were close runners-up and were awarded commendations 

  • Fabiano Lemes de Oliveira (School of Architecture, Urban Planning, Construction Engineering (AUIC), Politecnico di Milano, Italy) for the module: “Urban and Environmental Design Studio” 
  • Elin Bórrud and Anja Standal(Centre for integrated and transdisciplinary teaching in planning (SITRAP) at the Norwegian University of Life Sciences, Norway) for the module: “Building competence of participation in planning”

We are looking forward to a presentation from Emilia and Rafael at the forthcoming AESOP Congress in Paris and also hope to see representatives from the runners-up in Paris at the prize giving ceremony (General Assembly).


Andrea Frank, Committee Chair (University of Birmingham, UK): Maria Håkonsson (KTH – Royal Institute of Technology, Sweden); Lukas Gillard (Hafencity GmbH, Germany); Josselin Tallec (Université Grenoble Alpes, France); Valeria Fedeli (Polytechnic of Milan, Italy); Rüya Erkan, Young Academics Network Representative (Yildiz Technical University, Turkey); Maros Finka (Slovak University of Technology, Slovakia).