Citizens in the New Urban Agenda(s)

The deadline for applications has been extended to 02 July 2018.



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 new global planning challenges. The Award provides an important opportunity to disseminate effective practice and importantly to celebrate teaching quality amongst European Schools of Planning.



Citizens in the New Urban Agenda(s)

In a rapidly urbanising world the 21st Century has been described by many observers as the ‘urban century’ with international debates and reflection on cities being reflected across a range of political arenas and policy agendas. Though cities and urban regions are seen as being key sites of economic and social progress in the 21st. century they are also facing many challenges surrounding issues such as social equity and environmental pressures. Informed by this context in 2016 both UN and the EU adopted New Urban Agendas [1]. The Quito Declaration on Sustainable Cities and Human Settlements for All, which accompanies the New UN Urban Agenda, thus commits to “Reinvigorating long-term and integrated urban and territorial planning and design in order to optimize the spatial dimension of the urban form and deliver the positive outcomes of urbanization”. It also commits to promoting “institutional, political, legal, and financial mechanisms in cities and human settlements to broaden inclusive platforms, in line with national policies that allow meaningful participation in decision-making, planning, and follow-up processes for all, as well as an enhanced civil engagement and co-provision and co-production”.  This follows UN Habitat’s International Guidelines on Urban and Territorial Planning of 2015 in which it is stated that “Urban and territorial planning represents a core component of the renewed urban governance paradigm, which promotes local democracy, participation and inclusion, transparency and accountability, with a view to ensuring sustainable urbanization and spatial quality” (emphases in original). Meanwhile, amongst other objectives, the Urban Agenda for the EU “strives to establish a more effective integrated and coordinated approach to EU policies and legislation with a potential impact on Urban Areas and also to contribute to territorial cohesion by reducing the socioeconomic gaps observed in urban areas and regions”. The Pact of Amsterdam agreed at the Informal Meeting of EU Ministers Responsible for Urban Matters on 30 May 2016 in Amsterdam, also places emphasis  on “Effective urban governance, including citizens participation and new models of governance”; “ Sound and strategic urban planning ...with a place-based and people-based approach”; and, an “Integrated and participatory approach”, which are seen as cross-cutting issues in the delivery of the EU’s Urban Agenda.

This emphasis on participation takes place against a background where since the 1960s there has been much reflection on the extent to which professionals should have primary responsibility for guiding the evolution of places or if the public should be more actively involved in decision-making. Reflecting this, the planning profession and its theorists and educators have thus long grappled with the issue of what gives planning and planners their legitimacy to ‘pronounce’ on the forms and outcomes of development which can be identified as serving a common good, or the public/collective interest.

In recognition of the context and themes discussed above, in 2018, the AESOP Excellence in Teaching Prize Committee are keen to encourage entries from courses that seek to use innovative ways to root appreciation of wider contexts for planning - such as the EU integration project and UN and EU urban agendas, in planning studies.  Courses which seek to explore how citizens can be engaged in the evolution and co-production of these wider settings and urban and planning agendas are particularly encouraged to apply.  The Committee will also be looking for approaches which seek to develop learners’ capacity to reflect on the kinds of issues outlined above and prepare them to work as practitioners in a world where the influences on, and challenges and opportunities of planning, are increasingly mobile, multi-scalar and animated by “enhanced civil engagement and co-provision and co-production” (Quito Declaration, 2016). 



Only AESOP member schools can be nominated for this prize. The course must have been successfully implemented for at least one year. Applicants can either be: 

  • a planning school; 
  • a planning department within a university; or 
  • a group of teaching staff or an individual belonging to an AESOP Member school.


Please, use the electronic application form available from the AESOP web site.

All material must be submitted electronically

Applications must be received by 25 of June 2018.

Applications must include a full description of the course or module, as it is described and structured in the 2018 application form.



A panel of academics (AESOP Excellence in Teaching Award Committee) will judge the nominees. The panel will consist of AESOP members, including a representative from AESOP’s Young Academics Network. 



A prize of €1000 will be presented to a representative of the winning programme during the 2018 AESOP Annual Congress in Gothenburg, at the AESOP General Assembly which will take place on Friday 13 July 2018. 

The winner will be expected to make an audio-visual presentation of the programme at the subsequent year’s congress. He/she/they will also be expected to allow the programme to be presented on AESOP’s website.