Schloss Cappenberg is a place of extraordinary meaning for AESOP. Here, on 24th January 1987, Klaus R. Kunzmann managed to gather a group of enthusiastic academics who decided to found a new association that would bring together European planning schools.

25 years later, AESOP is a vibrant community that is able not only to celebrate its birthday in Schloss Cappenberg in presence of all AESOP Presidents and almost all Secretaries General, but also to invite partner planning organizations for the debate about opportunities for future cooperation and joint projects. The birthday meeting on 27th-28th January 2012 gave us a good pretext to learn from the past as well as to look towards the future. This is why this meeting was an excellent moment to launch our new project: the AESOP-IFHP Lecture Series, established within the Decade of Planning framework.

The meeting would not have happened without the significant help of Technische Universität Dortmund, which offered its resources and hard work both on the organization and on the content of the event.

Dean of the Fakultät Raumplanung, professor Christa Reicher, invited all our guests for welcome reception on Friday 27th January. The essential part of this afternoon was a lecture by professor Benjamin Davy 'Do Planners Have Heroes?', which was exploring not only the issue of the persons that might become planning idols, but also ideas that shape our planning imagination and the profound meaning of the icons and symbols. It tackled the subject of rankings in the planning context and associated it brilliantly with the problem of language and paradox of local/global impacts on planners' work. The vibrant discussion which followed the lecture reflected the variety of points of view; from the basic question whether planners really need heroes and what is the 'outline' for being a planning hero, to the very precise list of idols we should adopt into the planning Pantheon.

The AESOP Birthday celebration on the 28th January in Schloss Cappenberg started with the meeting of the Presidents and Secretaries General of the partner organizations. Our invitation accepted: Anna Geppert (APERAU), Dominique Lancrenon (ECTP), Marina Cervera Alonso de Medina (EFLA), Charlie Karlsson and Richard Kelly (ERSA), Flemming Borreskov and Derek Martin (IFHP), Ismael Fernández Mejía, Piotr Lorens and Alex Macgregor (ISOCARP), Gordon Dabinett (RSA). AESOP was represented by Kristina L. Nilsson, Gert de Roo, Izabela Mironowicz and Klaus R. Kunzmann, who was chairing the discussion. All organizations presented their activities and described the opportunities of cooperation between planning organizations seen from their perspective. Three joint initiatives were briefly presented: the Decade of Planning (AESOP-ECTP-IFHP-ISOCARP) and within this framework, two ongoing projects: the European Urban Summer School (AESOP-ECTP-IFHP-ISOCARP), and the Lecture Series 'From Cities of To-morrow to a Tomorrow for Cities' (AESOP-IFHP). The framework of the Decade of Planning was generally appreciated as a flexible and open structure of cooperation, embracing both activities/products that these organizations are running separately, but in close and friendly cooperation with other partners (i.e. annual congresses, ongoing projects and activities), and joint projects that partners decide to launch and run together. Anna Geppert, on behalf of APERAU, invited all the participants for the next meeting on 2nd June to Paris, where the Institut d'Aménagement et d'Urbanisme de la Sorbonne ( will be hosting the lecture by Andreas Faludi within the AESOP-IFHP Lecture Series.

Before the long-awaited lecture by Klaus R. Kunzmann, all our guests gathered on the famous terrace... The day of 28th January 2012, opposite to this 25 years ago, was quite sunny, with the clear view over the valley, but for the retake of the picture the sun was hidden behind the clouds, as if it would like to follow the tradition... We managed to retake a picture of all AESOP founding fathers, and include many new persons: all AESOP Presidents and Secretaries General present on the birthday party, and all our guests... Indeed, AESOP has grown up...

The core element of the birthday meeting was the lecture launching the joint AESOP and IFHP Lecture Series, highlighting both the AESOP Silver Jubilee and the Centenary of IFHP. Presidents of AESOP, Kristina L. Nilsson, and of IFHP, Flemming Borreskov, introduced the idea and the concept of the Lecture Series and highlighted the importance of the project to both organizations. They expressed the hope that very soon the lectures – transmitted live in the Internet and available for replay from the webpages of AESOP and IFHP – will become the most important motor of the Decade of Planning and contribute to the renaissance of planning as a substantial tool of the quality of life, at least in European context. Michael Makiolla, the Landrat of Kreis Unna, warmly welcomed participants of the meeting and expressed the expectations from the perspective of local authorities about the role and importance of planning, especially in the transforming European regions.

The lecture 'Planning Education in Europe: Challenges and Pathways into the Future' is now ready to be replay on our webpage. In order do so, please click here.

The lecture evolved into a vibrant discussion, which finished over the Magnum bottle of champagne delivered by Anna Geppert directly from Reims.

The AESOP Silver Jubilee Birthday Meeting reflected the nature of the organization: friendly, open for cooperation, focused on projects and activities. We hope we will be able to continue...


We would like to express our gratitude to the Technische Universität Dortmund. We are deeply indebted to the Dean of the Fakultät Raumplanung, professor Christa Reicher and also to prof. Frank Othengrafen, prof. Thorsten Heitkamp, Dipl-Ing. Katharina HeiderEva Gehrmann and Franziska Sielker. Our special word of gratitude goes to prof. Benjamin Davy for his outstanding lecture. We also owe the word of gratitude toThomas Hengstenberg and Schloss Cappenberg for hosting our event.

There are no words to give justice to the contribution Klaus R. Kunzmann made to AESOP and to this event. We are honoured and pleased that his lecture launched the Lecture Series.

We would also like to express gratitude to our partners: APERAU, ECTP, EFLA, ERSA, IFHP, ISOCARP, RSA, which accepted our invitation and undertook joint initiatives with AESOP. We believe we will all benefit from it and the synergies we are producing will also affect the planning landscape of Europe.