Prepared by Linda McElduff and Rachelle Altermann



This report provides a brief overview of the activities of AESOP’s Planning, Law and Property Rights (PLPR) Thematic Group (TG) during the year 2019.


Overview of PLPR TG

The PLPR TG evolved from a congress track on planning and law organised by Rachelle Alterman (Technion, Israel), together with Willem Salet (University of Amsterdam), Ben Davy (TU Dortmund) at the 1999 AESOP congress in Bergen. The track soon grew and the PLPR Thematic Group was announced in 2003 at the AESOP congress in Leuven. During the 2006 World Congress of Planning Schools in Mexico City, a group of interested academics from many countries convened and decided to establish an International Association on Planning, Law, and Property Rights. The Association was established during the inaugural symposium in Amsterdam, in 2007, with Rachelle Alterman as first PLPR President. The main objective of the Association is to foster international academic knowledge exchange on the themes of planning, law, and property rights. PLPR is a free-standing standing academic association with members from all around the world, its own statutes, a website: see and an annual conference. 

PLPR maintains close links to AESOP. In 2012 Prof. Ben Davy, president of PLPR, and Prof. Kristina Nilsson, president of the Association of European Schools of Planning (AESOP) at the time signed a Memorandum of Understanding. This memorandum affirms and institutionlizes the mutual friendship between the two associations. The PLPR TG constitutes an important link between the two organisations and the law track continues to be one of the most well attended tracks at AESOP congresses. 


PLPR TG Coordination

Dr Linda McElduff (Ulster University) and Professor Rachelle Alterman (Technion – Israel Institute of Technology) coordinate the TG. Activities of the coordinators include establishing the group’s agenda; managing online communication (via homepage, mailing list, newsletter) among TG participants; preparing meeting minutes and annual reports; promoting knowledge sharing and publication affairs; as well as strengthening links with the wider AESOP community and Secretary General, and with practitioners and industry.


TG Activities in 2019

AESOP Annual Congress 2019, Venice: ‘Planning for Transition’ (9th– 13thJuly)

The Track: “Planning, Law and Property Rights: facing urban transitions” (Track No.14) was held during the 2019 AESOP congress in Venice, Italy. This was one of the largest tracks at the conference with an average of six papers across ten sessions. Rachelle Alterman (Israel Institute of Technology, Israel), Thomas Hartmann (Wageningen University, Netherlands) and Kim Carlotta von Schönfeld (Wageningen University, Netherlands) chaired the track, assisted by a series of young academics. In advance of the formal conference, two PLPR members; Linda McElduff and Thomas Hartmann (Wageningen University), attended the AESOP PhD workshop in Ferrara as mentors.


A TG meeting was convened during the conference (11/07/19). During this meeting both old and new PLPR TG attendees gathered to share updates and ideas in relation to research, teaching and funding opportunities. Upcoming events and conferences were also outlined to the participants including AESOP lecture series and PLPR conference 2020.


Workshop: ‘Teaching Planning Law: sharing lessons from across Europe’, Wageningen (07/10/19)

PLPR TG was successful in its AESOP Thematic Group Funding Bid to hold a small workshop on ‘Teaching Planning Law: sharing lessons from across Europe’. The workshop was held on 07/10/19 in Wageningen to coincide with an AESOP lecture from Barrie Needham and Eveline Van Leeuwen (AESOP 14th Lecture Series). This event provided an important platform to share existing practices and ideas in how planning law is being, and should/could, be taught in universities across Europe (and beyond) with a targeted participant group. The aim was to identify good practices, differences, barriers, and suggestions in how planning law has been integrated within the curriculum of planning schools (ie. its ‘visibility’ within planning programmes); what is being (and should be) taught – and what is currently missing (ie. what knowledge is needed); the pedagogical approaches used to teach planning law (ie. how is it being taught – teaching styles, assessment, didactic V’s interactive, etc.); and how the quality of that learning and teaching can be maintained, or indeed enhanced (linked to student satisfaction, progression, etc.).

The TG aims to build on this initial discussion and carry out additional research and workshops in the coming months (funding dependent). Updates, including a ‘summary report’ of the initial workshop in October, will be made available on the TG area of the AESOP Website. We look forward to continuing the discussions with you all soon!


TG Activities in 2020

In 2020 the TG will continue to promote and facilitate the exchange of knowledge and ideas relating to planning, law and property rights. The particular focus of the TG for 2020 will be on identifying and sharing good practice in teaching planning law.   


14th PLPR Annual Conference

TG coordinators and members will be participating at the 14th PLPR Annual Conference (17th-21st February 2020) at the Jan Evangelista Purkyně University, Ústí nad Labem, Czechia.


33rd AESOP Congress

The forthcoming 2020 congress offers an opportunity to engage with existing and new TG members, and support young academics. A PLPR TG meeting will be held during the 33nd AESOP Congress at the University of the West of England, Bristol, UK in July 2020. More detail will be provided in due course. As in previous years, there will be a dedicated Law Track.