The 6th annual meeting of AESOP YA, , was co-organized with Henley Business School, University of Reading, from 17th – 20th of April 2012 in Reading, UK. The overall theme was “Communication and Planning: Goals, Challenge and Possibilities”. Knowledge transfer between research and practice in the field of planning and public policy is a contemporary widely discussed concept and concern for scholars. This meeting invited a broad range of papers on planning and territorial development-related research that address the goals, challenges or opportunities of 'communication' in practice, such as community-based and neighbourhood planning, government and governance issues, and ethical aspects in communication within planning and research processes. We were keen to receive a variety of research and project insights from this field. We had 34 applicants and 29 participants representing 13 different nationalities displaying the wide-spread of YA network. Participants themselves recognized the diversity and internationality showcased in the meet. Presentations were distributed in four sessions in a two-day program. We were fortunate to have four eminent keynote speakers: Prof. Francesco Lo Piccolo from University of Palermo, Prof. Gert de Roo from University of Groningen, Prof. Ali Madanipour from Newcastle University and Prof. Yvonne Rydin from University College London, Bartlett School of Planning. Their respective sessions were on Plural values, divergent interests: conflicts or cooperation?; Complexity and planning; Sustainable development, cultural change, and urban space; and Knowledge and stakeholder participation in planning. Our sessions were appreciated for their informal and constructive format. Participants acknowledged receipt of constructive feedback on their work. Furthermore two Roundtable sessions were organised for two days chaired by Dr. Richard Nunes from University of Reading. Themes for those sessions were ‘Mapping Methodologies’ and ‘Policy and Practice’. The one on ‘Mapping Methodologies’ discussed mapping the methods used within the different PhD Thesis, and participants shared their experiences with different methods. The second day session on ‘Policy and Practice’ reflected upon the role of research outputs in the planning process and beyond its regulatory confines. It also discussed how we might relate research to policy development and practice; and how this is reflected differentially in planning education across the globe. Participants were really interested and enthusiastic about these roundtable sessions. They found the discussions important and fruitful. Another main attraction of the meeting was the ‘Best Paper Award’ co-organised and sponsored by the journal Town Planning Review strengthening its support for AESOP-YA since 2008, nurtured by Prof. David Massey. All those attending and submitting papers on time were eligible to enter their paper for the award if they so wish. We received good response from participants. The jury for the selection of best paper was consisted of four session chairs, Prof. Gavin Parker, Dr Richard Nunes and Cecilia Wong from TPR. The award winner was selected from those papers entered by their authors through a nominations process by session chairs and final decision by the jury and the results were announced at the final dinner during the conference. The idea behind the award was to encourage young academics towards publication in refereed journal and provide experience in the authorship process.
Two highly recommended papers as selected by the jury were ‘Affordable workspace: Common understandings or divergent interpretations in policy and practice?’ by Dr Jessica Ferm from Bartlett School of Planning, University College London; and the second one was ‘Effects of Land Policy on Hybrid Rural-Urban Development Patterns and Resilience: A case study of the territorial development in the Bangkok Metropolitan Region’ by Suwanna Rongwiriyaphanich from Department of Urbanism, Faculty of Architecture, Delft University of Technology. The Best Paper Award was awarded to Feras Hammami from Royal Institute of Technology, Sweden for his paper on ‘Legitimation of Interventions in Historic City Areas: the case of well–preserved Ystad’. Feras has already been in touch with the TPR editorial board for the review process leading towards the publication of his paper in forthcoming issue of TPR. The award also includes the provision of a free personal print copy of the six issues of Volume 82 (2012) of TPR both for highly recommended and best papers. The Best Paper award was announced during the final dinner, sponsored by Town Planning Review and Celebrating the 25th anniversary of AESOP. Finally the meeting was concluded with an excursion to the Olympic Site in London on the 20th April. It was arranged and sponsored by Richard Nunes, Henley Business School University of Reading. This was a unique opportunity and high interest on the participants’ side. We were appreciated for organizing the meeting in a way that maintains balance between working session and breaks, provides participants the opportunity to network with their peers and professors in an informal setting and benefit from their expert opinion. Participants mainly highlighted the issues of relaxed environment offered in the meeting combined with a high degree of sincerity. The important contribution of the meeting was recognized to the development of young academics in the field of planning. We also received some productive feedback about how the members of the network would like to see it grow in future. Many new post doctoral fellows expressed their willingness to be more visible in the network with more defined role as they are in the transforming stage between AESOP and YA. This also shows the outreach of YA network beyond only doctoral students. As participants found the feedback on their research productive, they were willing to have it in a more structured way. would not do that in a written form We express our immense gratitude towards Henley Business School, University of Reading, Reading, Town Planning Review journal and AESOP; without their continual support it wouldn’t have been possible to organise the meet. We were delighted to have Prof Gert de Roo, the new president of AESOP with us also for an informal meeting with CT members highlighting the importance of AESOP and YA connection and his encouragement and support towards the future growth of the relationship.
Antonio Raciti Verena Peer Chandrima Mukhopadhyay
on behalf of the YA Committee