The Directorate responsible for planning at the Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and Environment (I&M) is encouraging young planning professionals to provide new ideas on the forms, methods and possibilities in spatial planning needed to face present-day challenges facing our human settlements. It is therefore using the European Urban Summer School (EUSS) as the main forum to organise an International Young Planning Professionals Award (YPPA), giving them the opportunity to present their proposals on planning methods, explaining why these ideas can be considered innovative and of a broader, more general application.

The competition aims to promote innovative ideas on spatial planning in Europe and arouse thinking on the role of the urban planner in time of rapid urban transformation in economic, demographic and political terms. The theme of the competition will be decided year by year by the promoter institutions

Award theme 2012

The theme of the YPPA in 2012 is ‘Adaptive cities: new ideas for actionTrends, perspectives and challenges of spatial development in a phase of de-growth and decline in Europe’. This will be fully in line with the theme of the 3rd EUSS “Times of Scarcity- Reclaiming the Possibility of Making” being held from 21st-30th September 2012 at the University of Westminster, London.

“De-growth is not the alternative to growth, but rather a matrix of alternatives which would open up the space for human creativity again…” (Serge Latouche)

“Large cities, major revolts” (Walter Benjamin)

Since 200 years, urbanization has been almost continuous and the processes of growth have prevailed globally. Nevertheless, during the last decade, another trend has emerged in Europe: not all cities are growing, and many face the prospect of a long-term stagnation and a process of (demographic) shrinkage. The causes of this urban decline are different: the phenomenon of de-industrialization, the process of sub-urbanization, the population decline, the economic and political transition which are taking place in the post-communist countries and the effects generated by environmental disasters. The shrinkage, such as growth, involves profound changes of the principles of urban planning perspectives and models of intervention in the territory.

The institutions have so far been able to react to the effects of the shrinkage but not to plan proactively in order to turn the decline into an opportunity. The aim of the competition is to find and evaluate new tools for spatial planning, collecting research and projects about planning on the specific aspects of the shrinkage and with a multidisciplinary and integrated approach.  Which are the distinctive characters of a shrinking city?  Can the causes be identified?  How local governments can modify existing urban and regional plans in the medium or long term to fill the gap between growth oriented policies and shrinking population and tax base? What could be the role of planners in this context? These are questions to which the new generations of planners have to answer.


An international jury will judge the proposals/entries:

Willemieke Hornis Directorate for National Spatial Planning, Ministry of Infrastructure and Environment
Piotr Lorens International Society of City and Regional Planners- ISOCARP
Derek Martin International Federation of Housing and Planning - IFHP
Izabela Mironowicz Association of European School of Planning - AESOP


Young planning professionals (<35 years old) are invited to participate in this competition. Admissions will be accepted for individuals from all over the world. Every copyright infringement will imply the immediate exclusion from the competition.


There will be a maximum of five prizes, consisting of free registration at the EUSS, reimbursement of travel and accommodation costs and a small cash prize

The prizes will be awarded during the European Urban Summer School organized by AESOP, ECTP-CEU, IFHP and ISOCARP at the University of Westminster, School of Architecture and Built Environment, London UK in September 2012. The prize winners will be invited to present their works during the opening days of the EUSS.


13 April 2012……………Online announcement

27 May 2012……………Abstracts submission deadline

4 June 2012…………….Notification of 15 selected abstracts to deliver full papers

22 July 2012…………....Full papers submission deadline

29 July 2012…………….Winners' announcement on the websites

15 August 2012…………Confirmation about the winners’ participation in EUSS

19 August 2012………...Confirmation of the participants from a reserved list, in case some of the winners are not able to participate in EUSS.

21-30 September 2012....European Urban Summer School 2012


Submission requirements

-An abstract which describes new ideas for adaptive planning in time of shrinkage, explains the role of planner in the present situation, provides at least one project-example of adaptive planning and demonstrates the applicability of the ideas and experiences in other European contexts.

In order to be able to evaluate the papers according to homogeneous and defined judging criteria, the abstracts submitted to the web site reflect the following standards:

Total length: abstracts will be limited to 6000 characters, including spaces.

Text format: a frequent paragraph/new line separation is recommended for easier reading and quick understanding of main paper contents.

Language:The official competition language is English.Any text written in different language will be ignored.

-The application form to be downloaded from the website, containing participants’ personal information.

The abstracts themselves should not contain information about the author or any other sign of recognition, on penalty of disqualification.


After the winners' announcement, the award winners will be asked to submit:

- A complete essay on the proposed topic describing a planned project or a project being implemented and explaining why this project is innovative, how it can be broadly applied in other situations, what the planning community as a whole can learn from different aspects of the project.

- A short presentation (ppt, pptx, pdf) that explains the essay and the project. The power point presentation should have a maximum of 15 slides.

Assessment criteria

Innovative idea

It will be evaluated the ability to define an useful framework, developing original and creative approach for evaluating different situations and exploring principles and issues for further investigation; the ability to develop innovative perspectives for the spatial planning in Europe. The abstract can be based on an original project developed by the author or the analysis of an existing project which is relevant for the proposed theme. It is essential that the author shows an ability to analyze the chosen project in an original way.


It will be evaluated the ability to compare experiences at different scales and to formulate practical recommendations and learn lessons relevant for other European cases.


It will be evaluated the level of coherence between the theme of the competition and the ideas and experiences presented in the abstract. The abstract should fit together into a coherent whole, with an introduction of the main ideas, a review of prior research or relevant projects and conclusion. These parts should be interconnected.

Overall quality

It will be evaluated the coherence and relevance of the abstract for the proposed competition theme; the ability to structure the ideas logically and to present the analysis, experience and recommendations in a clear and synthetic document; the critical understanding of concepts derived from practical experiences/projects and academic literature on the subject. It will be evaluated the level of clarity and coherence of the abstract.


The Jury reserves the right to not consider in the evaluation phase the abstracts that do not meet the criteria mentioned in the guidelines. The Jury’s decision is final and sovereign in order to determine the winning abstracts according to the evaluation criteria. Moreover the Jury can allocate the prize following different terms in case of ex-aequo or similar level of works.



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