A maze with arrows and a clock

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28-29 November 2024, RWTH Aachen University

Time is too often a peripheral element in scholarly and practical discourses. It is frequently treated as a neutral background factor instead of an active force that shapes cities and their planning. However, complex socio-spatial systems continuously evolve and transform over time in ways that are sometimes predictable, and others spontaneous; sometimes slow, and others fast. Planners are at the frontline of this change, and yet, how well do they understand or leverage wisdom about time? 

This conference seeks to deepen our understanding of intricate socio-spatial configurations and changes by studying their timing, speed, sequence, durability, and the enduring or fleeting impacts they leave. It welcomes the exploration of dynamics and methodologies characterized by time-sensitive interests. It invites scholars with interdisciplinary backgrounds to delve into innovative analytical, design, and planning methods that can empower planners, policymakers, and designers to better understand and use time in addressing contemporary urban challenges and opportunities across various scales.

Possible avenues for submissions include (in alphabetical order):

Sensing: This encompasses various dimensions of ‘sensing’ such as spatial, corporeal, cognitive, mediated, and technological aspects. We explore the points of convergence among diverse perspectives and approaches, the representation or mission of whose sensing, and the implications for sensing and sense-making. How can we capture and conceptualize diverse socio-spatial rhythms, layers, and processes of change that give rise to distinct and recognizable patterns? Access to new forms of data and technologies is a crucial aspect of this discussion.

Planning: Developing effective temporal awareness to use planning actions that are sensitive to timing, speed, and (un)expected effects is a real challenge. Rooted in longstanding ideas and practices, planning interventions and debates are often driven by present urgencies but struggle to keep pace with continuous changes. How can we point towards socio-spatial transformations that often transgress dominant timeframes? The focus here is the exploration of modes or methods for policymaking and strategies for spatial governance.

Designing: Design processes that prioritize time navigate the delicate balance between providing optimal short-term solutions and addressing long-term unpredictable dynamics. We are interested in unraveling the time-sensitive tensions that affect design logic and exploring design frameworks that can accommodate complexity. To what extent do current design ideals and practices perpetuate limitations in our understanding of the temporal dimension? The composition of the built and natural environments along with their rules are central aspects of this question.

Submission details

  • Target audience: Early career researchers (e.g. PhD candidates) and seniors (e.g. Professors, Seniors Researchers), practitioners with scholars' interest
  • Abstract Length: up to 350 words
  • Keywords: Provide 3-5 keywords relevant to your submission
  • References: Provide 3-5 major references relevant to your submission
  • Abstract Submission Deadline: May 15, 2024 
  • Extended Abstracts Submission & Registration Deadline: mid-late October 2024


Submit via https://forms.gle/w5XQxQnr7yUZ1Ehc7


The event is organised by Robin Chang, Fabio Bayro Kaiser and Stefano Cozzolino (local organising team 2024), with support from Christian Lamker and Ward Rauws (thematic group coordinators). Contact via email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Logo/poster design by Esther Padberg (RWTH Aachen)