The selection of the nominated papers is carried out by a committee. The AESOP Best Congress Paper Award Committee consists of the following members:

  • Tuna Tasan-Kok, Chair (University of Amsterdam)
  • Mike Raco, Vice Chair (Bartlett School of Planning, UCL)
  • Sabine Knierbein (Vienna University of Technology)
  • Jonathan Metzger (Royal Institute of Technology, KTH)
  • Cristiana Rossignolo (Politecnico di Torino)
  • Pieter Van den Broeck (Catholic University of Leuven)

A first pool of papers results from nominations by the Track co-Chairs among all the self-nominated papers submitted. An evaluation is then carried out by the Committee based on the following criteria: Theoretical strength, Clarity of argument, Originality, Quality of writing, Methodology and Relevance to current debates.

The final short list comprises the following articles:

  • Javier Martinez, Spatial Patterns of Fragmentation and Quality of Life: the case of Nairobi in Track 5/Housing (Paper ID 470);
  • Paola Briata, Massimo Bricocoli, Martina Bovo, Diversity on board: The 90/91 trolley-bus in Milan as a “cosmopolitan canopy” in Track 9/Mobility  (Paper ID 851);
  • Clarissa Rhomberg, Fair Building. Perception of Challenges and Social Responsibilities of German, Austrian and Swiss Architects in Global Practice on the Individual and Organizational Levels in Track 20/Foundations (Paper ID 259);
  • Grischa Frederik Bertram, Contentious Content: Planning-related citizen protests in Berlin 2005 – 2015 in Track 16/Activism (Paper ID 1589);
  • Aybuke Akgun, Zeynep Gunay, Politics of Diversity and Gender: An LGBTTQ Perspective on Urban Spatiality  in Track 14/Politics (Paper ID 793);
  • Guo Yuchen & Xiao Yidi, Complex and Cohesive Effect of Urban Renewal in the Artist Cluster  in Track 11/Complexities (Paper ID 1307);

This year's Best Congress Paper Award went to Paola Briata, Massimo Bricocoli and Martina Bovo

for the paper

Diversity on board: The 90/91 trolley-bus in Milan as a “cosmopolitan canopy”

in  Track 9/Mobility

According to the Best Congress Paper Award Committee, this paper is based on an original idea, an ethnographic study of a bus line in Milan, interwoven with an implicit reflection on planning education, since master students were also involved in the process of research. The main aim of the project was to explore the role played by public spaces in supporting the coexistence of a multitude of strangers in the city through the continuous negotiation of difference.

The Committee felt that the paper was particularly significant and original in its conceptual and methodological framing, its deployment of innovative research methods, and its relevant and challenging findings. The principal focus on everyday encounters in diverse cities has featured prominently in planning and urban studies literatures in recent years, but this paper adopts a highly innovative approach by focusing on the public transport as a key space for engagement. Too often writings on public transport infrastructure focus on its divisive effects in cities – and the separations it creates between different communities. This paper shows that its role is more complex and nuanced and that under certain conditions it can provide an important space of encounter that tells us much about broader patterns and processes of engagement and separation in contemporary cities.  The deployment of an actor-centred ethnographic methodology also presents a timely challenge to the over-reliance of policy-makers (and some academics) on the use of ‘big-data’ sets to map transport use.  Whilst big-data can provide helpful descriptions of broad patterns it underplays the reflexive character of social actors and their intentionalities. Ethnographic insights, conversely, provide evidence of the meanings and practices associated with the use of public spaces by diverse citizens and communities and their multi-faceted character. 

The paper written by Grischa Frederik Bertram (Universität Kassel), titled Contentious Content: Planning-related citizen protests in Berlin 2005 – 2015, took the second place, followed by the paper written by Javier Martinez (University of Twente) titled Spatial Patterns of Fragmentation and Quality of Life: the case of Nairobi, which took the third place in the ranking.

On behalf of the AESOP Community, we would like to congratulate the author and to express our thanks to Tuna Tasan-Kok (Chair) and the Award Committee for all their hard and skillful work.