On behalf of the Association of European Schools of Planning (AESOP) and the International Federation for Housing and Planning (IFHP) we would like to invite you to a lecture by

Professor Juval Portugali

The Future is Not What It Used to Be
Complexity, Cognition and the City – Implication to Planning

which will take place at University of Amsterdam

at 13:00 on Friday 5th April 2013



There is NO registration fee. However we would request that you register only if you are sure that you can attend. The lecture room has a limited number of places and if you do not come, you are preventing someone else attending the lecture. If you have registered and are prevented from attending, please let us know as soon as possible for the same reason.


AESOP and IFHP wish to express word of gratitude to the co-organizers of the 5th Lecture: Univeristy of Amsterdam

We warmly invite both the AESOP and IFHP communities to join the lecture and the dialogue which will follow the lecture. We are very interested in hearing your input at the event!

Venue: University of Amsterdam, Plantage Muidergracht 12, room M1.01, Amsterdam, NL
Please find advice how to get to the Univeristy.

Please send ourposter and invitation (also relevant files, right hand side) to your colleagues and students.


This is the fifth event in the Lecture Series by well-known planners, policy-makers and other ‘urban thinkers’, which is being organised by AESOP and IFHP in the framework of respectively the Silver Jubilee (2012) and Centenary (2013). The lecturers have been asked to present their ideas on ‘new vision’ for planning and territorial development. The lecture will be rounded off with a question and answer discussion with the audience.

Professor Juval Portugali, currently a visiting Professor at the Department of Urbanism, Faculty of Architecture TU Delft, is Professor of Human Geography at the Department of Geography and the Human Environment Tel Aviv University. He is the Head of the Environmental Simulation Laboratory (ESLab) and of the Environment, Society and Planning Graduate Program of Tel Aviv University.

His research integrates complexity and self-organization theories, environmental-spatial cognition, urban dynamics and planning in modern and ancient periods.

The Lecture:

The notion of Classical urban and planning theories refers to theoriesthat implicitly or explicitly treat cities as machines, urban scientists as external observers and planners as external experts. On the other hand,Complexity theories of cities (CTC) refer to approaches that treat cities as systemic wholes, and scientists and planners as some of the many parts, agents and forces that participate in a complex and spontaneous urban game (Portugali, 2011). According to classical urban theories the future is essentially predictable; location theory is a typical example of a classical urban theory while rational comprehensive planning exemplifies a classical planning theory. CTC, per contra, argue that ‘the future is not what it used to be’, or rather what we tended to believe it is, namely, that the future is essentially unpredictable. Can there be a planning theory that is not based on prediction – on our basic ability to foresee the future? The answer is ‘Yes!’ and ‘No!

‘Yes’, because in several previous studies it has been demonstrated that a planning system can be built that is not based on prediction but rather on planning rules. ‘No’, because the human memory is chronesthetic, that is, it enables us humans to mentally travel in time – back to the past and also forward to the future. However, this mental time travel capability is not a matter of choice, it is at once an advantage and a constrain as we cannot be mentally in the present with the implication that even when we are aware of the unpredictability of our cities, we cannot not travel to the future – we cannot not take into consideration the future; we cannot not predict.

Can we reconcile the unpredictability of cities with our inability not to predict?


The Dialogue:

The lecture will be followed by a discussion where AESOP Young Academics and IFHP Urbego will engage in a dialogue with professor Protugali and participants on the future of the cities.

12:45-13:00     Registration

13:00-13:50     Lecture by Professor Juval Portugali

13:50-14:15     Discussion

14:15-14:30     Coffee Break

14:30-15:45     Young Planners Dialogue: AESOP Young Academics & IFHP Urbego

If the Future is Not What it Used to Be – What is the Future?

Moderator: Ward Rauws, University of Groningen

15:45-17:00     Reception


Book the date in your agendas!

We at AESOP and IFHP look forward to seeing you in Amsterdam on 5th April!