We have included in each track the UWE Coordinators' name, email, and also the thematic group(s) aligned to the track.



UWE Coordinator: Katie McClymont


Aligned Thematic Group:

  • Planning and Complexity

  • Ethics, Values, and Planning

This track invites papers whose primary aim is to develop the understanding of planning processes, ideas and actions. It includes debates on values and ethics, as well as complexity. This track will welcomes contributions which take up contemporary debates in planning theory (conflict/consensus, the ‘post-human’) as well as new and innovative means of bringing theoretical contributions to planning scholarship drawing on thinkers and ideas from a range of disciplines.  Papers which address questions of ethics and values in planning, and the way these can be conceptualised for theory and practice are also included. Questions of power, the public interest and norms of planning practice and epistemologies will be interrogated.


  • Theory in planning

  • Ethics

  • Theorising values and the public interest

  • Challenging and re-interpreting planning practice

  • Complexity

  • Conflict/Consensus

  • Planning Epistemologies




UWE Coordinator: Katie McClymont


Aligned Thematic Group:

  • Planning and Complexity

  • Ethics, Values, and Planning

This track welcomes papers that offer insights into the changing dynamics of communities in a range of settings; urban, semi-urban and rural. It looks at major social, cultural, economic, political and migratory change at a local scale and the challenges this presents for the contemporary idea of community within a planning context.  It also develops understandings about migrant communities within Europe and the way in which diversity and migration intersect with ideas of belonging and local place attachment. How planning research and policies can respond to these challenges through for example ideas of ‘encounter’ and the role of public space and community buildings; the way different policies support different urban outcomes; establishing dialogue and connections between different communities and stakeholders with different interests, different rationalities, different cultures (both traditional and alternative), and different moral points of view and the implications of these challenges for notions of social justice and ethics in planning are also explored.  Finally, we would welcome papers which explore the contribution of planning to both establishing and breaking down boundaries between communities at a variety of spatial scales and levels and its role in developing new connections though, for example,  creative participatory and governance methods and  (re)-emphasising the social purposes of planning.


  • Exploring the challenges of major social, economic, political and migratory change at a local scale

  • The contemporary idea of community, and challenges and opportunities within these debates

  • Ideas of ‘encounter’ and the role of public space and community buildings

  • The contribution of urban policies and planning on local and regional dialogue between stakeholders with different interests, different rationalities, different cultures (both traditional and alternative), and different moral points of view.

  • The contribution of planning to national and transnational dialogues, as well as contribution to the discourse on values and ethics in planning and on justice.



UWE Coordinator: Deepak Gopinath


Aligned Thematic Group:

  • Urban Design in Planning

  • Public Spaces and Urban Cultures

  • Regional Design

This track invites papers that examines how ideas and practices of the urban design professional shape our cities and villages. It considers how urban design practice is related to pedagogy (including relation to disciplines such as planning, architecture etc.). It also explores the emergent role of urban design within a typology of urban developments across European cities in particular. In addition, the track values impactful research within the urban design discipline that sets out to engage with potential disruptors to the urban fabric in the future, for instance through increased levels of automation and shifting mobility patterns and how that might affect street design. 



  • Leadership and place

  • Movement and public realm

  • Urban design for ageing cities

  • Design skills for planners

  • Driverless cars and future neighbourhoods



UWE Coordinator: Nicholas Smith


Aligned Thematic Group:

  • Planning Education

This track focuses on the borders and connections associated with education and the professional development of planners. The track will encourage reflection on the domains across which planning education resides and the connections that exist between those who can apply influence on type of knowledge, skills and competencies that practising planners are expected to have. The track will allow for discussion on the potential boundaries that exist both within, and across, planning education, and whether new connections should be established to help future-proof future planners. The track will also encourage contributions that can showcase strategies for successfully connecting research with teaching. The track will recognise the value of delivering curricula collaboratively, and the innovative ways through which technology can facilitate the delivery of planning education across borders. It will also support discussion surrounding the supply of future planners and critically consider some of the steps that are being taken for promoting planning as a vibrant, dynamic and inclusive career.


  • Educational outreach and the promotion and recruitment of future planners

  • Promoting inclusivity and diversity across the planning profession

  • Innovative pedagogical practices, as practised through modules, programmes, short-courses

  • Teaching and learning in partnership, by working with business, communities, practitioners, educational providers and different university faculties and departments

  • Professional development and lifelong learning

  • Technological innovations in the shaping and delivery of planning curricula

  • Ensuring an interdisciplinary / transdisciplinary approach to planning education

  • Internationalization of planning curricula

  • Promoting synergies between teaching and research



UWE Coordinator: Hannah Hickman


The AESOP Conference embraces ideas around boundaries and connections. This track will provide a space for papers considering planning for housing within this context. We invite papers that will generate a broad discussion about planning for housing, and in particular encourage contributions that explore the challenges that conceptual, administrative and geographical boundaries present for planning’s ability to positively influence the provision of affordable and market housing. We also encourage submissions which transcend thematic boundaries and make connections to the many and varied factors that influence planning for housing, including (but not limited to) infrastructure, economic development, communities, financialisation, and socio-spatial inequalities.


  • The ’housing crisis’ – and planning’s response to it; 

  • Urban growth strategies; 

  • New housing construction and development;

  • Homelessness, evictions and precarious housing situations;

  • Flexibility, adaptability and innovation within housing design;

  • Locational mismatch in the provision of housing, employment, and public transport

  • The challenges of providing affordable housing;

  • Low cost rehabilitation and renovation options, innovative solutions in conversion of other types of buildings into residential places;

  • Temporary use and informality, resource efficient conversion and alterations of obsolete structures, counteracting the displacement of people and disruption in communities;

  • community-led, cooperative, municipal, and non-market driven housing development and policy;

  • housing, neighbourhood design and liveability; 

  • Perspectives on economic, environmental and social aspects of housing policy;

  •  Domestic energy and the decarbonisation of housing; and 

  • Environmental or social justice perspectives on housing. 



UWE Coordinator: Stephen Hall


The aim of the track is to explore regeneration from the perspectives of urban redevelopment, citizen initiatives, private investment, and public sector activities. The track would welcome papers focusing on theoretical reflections, and applied analyses of urban policies and projects dealing with these issues.


The regeneration of urban areas in order to improve living conditions is a central concern of urban policies. Over the years, the objectives of urban regeneration have extended from the improvement of the quality of the dwellings, via the improvement of the quality of buildings, public space and facilities, to the improvement of “quality of life” in the broadest sense, including notions of socio-economic development, environmental wellbeing, and social cohesion.




UWE Coordinator: Mark Drane


The health track for AESOP 2020, derives its scope from phase VII (2108- 24) of the WHO Healthy Cities Network Vision:  Healthy Cities foster health and well-being through governance, empowerment and participation, creating urban places for equity and community prosperity, and investing in people for a peaceful planet (Copenhagen Consensus of Mayors, 2018).  The track is convened by the World Health Organisation Collaborating Centre for Healthy Urban Environments based at UWE Bristol.

Population health and planetary sustainability are recognised as integrally linked at this time of climate crisis.  And health is valued in all its complexity including physical health, mental health, and social wellbeing as a resource for living from childhood and throughout life.

The themes for the health track are informed by this Healthy Cities agenda: environmental health promotion; community participation in co-production of health; and delivering this agenda within planning practice.

  • Environmental health promotion: is understood broadly within the track and the built environment, natural environment, and global ecosystem are seen as positive resources for health.  Examples of topics include: active living; play; access to healthy food; access to nature; green infrastructure; and overarching environmental health approaches and research.

  • Community participation: in the creation of health and wellbeing is vital to this agenda and topics include include participatory and co-produced research, approaches, and methods.

  • Planning practice: has a key role in implementation and evidencing what works and is deliverable.  The track includes practice-based research and especially collaborations across academia and practice recognising the role of practice in implementing the Healthy Cities agenda.

Topics - Informed by the WHO Healthy Cities Phase VII, the track focuses on the role of the following in improving population health and planetary sustainability:

  • Environmental health promotion:

    • Environmental health promotion

    • Active living

    • Play

    • Access to healthy food

    • Access to nature

    • Green infrastructure

  • Community participation:

    • Participatory and co-produced research

  • Planning practice:

    • Practice-based research

    • Academic-practice approaches to collaboration

    • Role of practice in implementing the Healthy Cities agenda



UWE Coordinator: Stephen Hall


This track will promote papers that combine theory with innovative empirical approaches that are relevant to planning policy and practice, and account for an urban or regional perspective. We particularly welcome contributions that feature a heterodox theoretical framework.


We particularly welcome contributions on the following themes (list is not exhaustive):


  • Evaluations of policy to address regional and local disparities, especially in respect of social and environmental justice.

  • Economic analysis of policy and practice in sustainable urban and regional development;

  • Ecologically innovative policy outcomes of regional development policies in human capital / skills / employment.

  • Knowledge transfer between regions with the European Union, and globally, especially focusing on co-creation and inclusive sustainability processes.

  • The contribution of carbon-neutral energy production and consumption in regional and local economies.

  • Resource scarcity in cities, the economic and social impacts of urban heat islands, and adaptation and mitigation policies.

  • Social change (poverty, social exclusion, migration) and their economic causes and consequences.

  • Critical commentaries on platform (e.g. gig, sharing) economies and their economic, social and environmental consequences.

  • Urban and regional public finance, and the scope of public investments within the existing fiscal policy frameworks (e.g., fiscal compacts of the European Union).


Submissions should clearly state the research question, the methods, keywords on the theoretical framework, and preliminary results where possible.



UWE Coordinator: Hooman Foroughmand Araabi


This track invites papers concerning history (including historical perspectives, insights, lessons, and learning) and heritage (including cultural heritage, especially inner city areas, historic sites, buildings, memorials, monuments and landscape)

Topics -

  • Learning and insights from history

  • Heritage as spaces of hope;

  • Urban displacement, marginality and punishment;

  • Untold and silenced pasts in neoliberal urban development;

  • Heritage from below, empowerment and resistance;

  • Heritage and justice in cities;

  • New heritages beyond the conventional orthodoxy;

  • New language of optimism and hope in/through heritage and planning;

  • Risks and opportunities driven by alternative politics of heritage-making.



UWE Coordinator: Deepak Gopinath


Aligned Thematic Group:

  • New Technologies & Planning

  • Evalutation in Planning

This track invites papers that explores the application of innovative methods and technologies in understanding as well as analysing our urban and rural environments. It will also consider the various scales at which these methods and technologies are being applied ranging from neighbourhoods to cities to the wider regions. The track will also be keen on papers that offer a critical insight into the challenges in operationalising various methods and technologies, e.g. ethical issues and big data, balance between positivist vs. interpretivist approaches etc. We would also welcome any papers that will explore how new methods and technologies are being used to bridge gaps between planning practice, research and/or policy.


  • Mapping and visualisation

  • Virtual reality and public engagement

  • Use of big data

  • Open GIS data and the democratisation of knowledge

  • New tools in planning evaluation

  • Methods for structuring participatory knowledge



UWE Coordinator: Stephen Hall


Aligned Thematic Group:

  • Transboundary Spaces, Policy Diffusion, Planning Cultures

  • French and British Planing Studies

The track will explore discourses concerning the economics of place. Networks and structures, and approaches will all form a focus for this track, which will welcome submissions approaching the subject from both a theoretical and applied stance. This track aims at discussing existing conceptual and practical deficits and strengths of current governance settings and mechanisms.


  • Collaborative, place sensitive, territorial governance arrangements

  • Theoretical, conceptual or empirical focused submissions that seek to enhance knowledge

  • Discourses concerning institutional design and capacity, legitimacy and accountability, territoriality/locality, rescaling and subsidiarity, soft/hard spaces, planning cultures and policy diffusion, learning and adaptation.

  • Comparative studies focussing on cases internationally that take up multi-actor and multi-scale perspectives are especially welcome.

  • Government to governance- what does this mean, critical views on this and on the neoliberalisation of cities.

  • Departmental conflicts, public agencies, reconciling conflict over scale/networks, new methods for this?

  • Government and governance for the design and implementation of regional economic policies.

  • Contribution of planning and regional economics to efficient, effective, and equitable places.

  • Valuation of regional resources (e.g. human capital, infrastructure, land, ecological resources) from different methodological perspectives (qualitative and quantitative).

  • Empirical, methodological or theoretical approaches to regional planning and/or regional economics.

  • Presentation of empirical urban and regional development projects and/or policies in relation to facing problems related to the management of space in the current context of strategic dilemmas.

  • Place as key area for intervention- but now done by many other governmental actors- do planners have the right skillset and methods for engaging for such different actors who come to this different agenda/different values





UWE Coordinator: David Ludlow



This track invites papers with focus on the development and future evolution of urban planning and governance systems enabled by the dynamic(s?) of technological and social innovation in addressing the systemic challenges of inclusive sustainable urban development. The aim (is) to respond to the need for governance systems that facilitate and promote effective transition pathways toward urban sustainability. Track topics are strongly aligned not only with the pan-European but also global agenda of smart and future urban planning and governance research and innovation; in Europe e.g. promoted in the framework of EU Horizon 2020 research and innovation, specified in the strategic research and innovation agenda of JPI Urban Europe, and as elaborated elsewhere, for example in the work of the European Environment Agency on transition management. Contributions are welcome that elaborate the research and innovation experience regarding these issues, and which highlight theoretical, conceptual, critical, and empirical experience supported by successful and not so successful case studies.



Topics are strongly connected with the pan-European agenda of smart and future urban planning and governance research and innovation promoted in the framework of Horizon 2020, specified in the strategic research and innovation agenda of JPI Urban Europe, and as elaborated elsewhere, for example in the work of the European Environment Agency on transition management:

  • Smart communities, cities and regions

  • Citizen focused smart services

  • Conceptualising new governance architecture

  • Smart policy promoting equitable solutions

  • Open governance process

  • Co-production and co-design

  • Ecosystems and living labs

  • Integrated sustainable assessment

  • Interoperable solutions

  • Replicability and scalability

  • Digital transformation

  • Destructive technology and impact assessment

  • Data driven provision of services

  • Governance as a platform

  • Systemic challenge and transition management

  • Transition pathways for sustainable cities

  • Scenario development and alternative futures

  • Managing future transitions



UWE Coordinator: Michael Buser


Aligned Thematic Group:

  • Resilience and Risks Mitigation Strategies

Scales, Boundaries and the Politics of Resilience: Resilience has gained a growing currency in planning and been deployed at multiple scales and across various boundaries (Coaffee and Lee 2016).  Drawing inspiration from ecology and the resilience of ecosystems (Holling 1973), its conventional definition has put the emphasis on the ‘capacity of a system to absorb disturbance and reorganize while undergoing change to still retain essentially the same function’ (Walker et al 2004: 1). However, its  translation from ecology to society has generated a large body of critical literature which among other things highlights the problem of ‘system boundary’ (Davoudi 2012 ) and criticises resilience thinking as being reactionary; arguing that it not only perpetuates the status quo (Cook and Swyngedouw, 2012), but also serves as a justification for neoliberal austerity policies and individualization of responsibility (MacKinnon and Derickson, 2013; Davoudi, 2018; Bohland et al. 2018). Others have sought to redeem or reimagine the concept by drawing the attention to its potential for supporting and explaining proactive ways of ‘securing the future’ (DeVerteuil and Golubchikov, 2016: 150). This potential for transformative resilience moves beyond the ability of a system to ‘bounce back’ and highlights processes of evolutionary change (Davoudi et al 2013; White and O’Hare, 2014).  In this track we welcome contributions that critically examine and/or provide evidence of the potential for resilience strategies and practices that aim to support transformative change in the governance of social and environmental challenges and in the responses to climate crisis and disaster risk reduction.

Potential topics include:

  • Evidence of evolutionary and transformative resilience in planning policy and practice

  • Interconnections between resilience and other planning objectives (justice, sustainability)

  • Locally oriented approaches to resilience, including ‘community-led’ initiatives.

  • Examples and impacts of multi-scalar and integrated resilience practices.

  • Challenges and opportunities for integrating resilience strategies and practices across boundaries.

  • Resilience and its relationships with vulnerability especially in the context of climate change and disaster risk reduction

  • The significance of resilience in planning theory and the planning profession

  • Resilience in planning curricula and education



UWE Coordinator: Steve Melia


Aligned Thematic Group:

  • Urban Futures

This track will focus on: decarbonising transport – rising to the climate challenge.  Following increased awareness of climate change and international commitments to tackle it, this track will invite transport researchers to address the challenge of how to decarbonise transport in line with national and international commitments.  This overarching theme will allow for a wide range of individual topics, touching on many different strands of transport research.  However, all presentations must be suitable for a non-technical audience, some of whom will not have a quantitative background.


  • Climate impacts of different transport modes or activities

  • Planning for transport decarbonisation at the national or international level

  • Modal shift and behaviour change towards active travel and other low-carbon modes

  • Policy responses to transport and climate change

  • Decarbonisation and public health

  • Supporting technological change towards lower-carbon transport

  • Infrastructure to support decarbonisation, which may include electrification/hydrogen infrastructure, but also public transport, cycling and walking infrastructure

  • Integrating transport and land-use planning: urban intensification, transit-oriented development and research on spatial development patterns which support, or hinder, the decarbonisation of transport

  • New models of transport provision e.g. sharing services, mobility as a service

  • Improving the climate resilience of transport services

  • Is transport planning part of the problem or part of the solution?

  • Mobility research methods


15. LAW

UWE Coordinator: Adam Sheppard


Aligned Thematic Group:

  • PLPR

Spatial development and planning is conducted within a legal and institutional framework that establishes and regulates decision-making procedures, property rights, environmental protection, land-related fiscal policy as well as other types of substantive policy areas. In their way, they create boundaries and connections. Laws, institutions and jurisprudence that govern spatial planning and development decisions greatly influence how policymaking and political action address today’s environmental, social, and economic challenges. How are these challenges met in contemporary legislative and legal practice? How can legislative and legal practices support initiatives striving to achieve desirable change? Differences among countries in governance and institutional practices, legal systems, statutory regulations, as well as conceptions of justice, property rights and common values have major effects on both the measures and the outcomes of regulations.

Topics –

  • Statutory (regulatory) planning systems and instruments: local statutory plans, zoning, building permits, agreements with developers, “exactions” or “planning gain”

  • Regulation of open space and natural resources, regulations of existing built environments;

  • Property rights and planning law: relations and tensions between public, common and private property rights/duties, land for public services, expropriation, compensation, land readjustment, taxation of land values, transfer or development rights;

  • Governance structures and procedures: relationships between central governmental control, local government, markets, and non-governmental agents;

  • Public participation and involvement: conflict management, dispute resolution, legal discourses relating to democracy and inclusion in decision-making in spatial development and planning;

  • Legal frameworks for efficient and equitable management of land and ecological resources;

  • Issues of illegal, “informal” or “irregular” development: processes and enforcement;

  • Land-based fiscal and tax policy tools related to planning, management and public Administration at various administrative levels of government. 

  • And public Administration at various administrative levels of government. 



UWE Coordinator: Adam Sheppard


Aligned Thematic Group:

  • Sustainable Food Planning

  • SUstainable Cities

The global challenges that we currently face, such as climate change and other anthropogenic pressures on the earth system, call for innovative ways of thinking about planning for sustainable development. In this track, we seek to critically explore the content of today’s planning for climate changes and sustainable development.  We are interested to explore ways of working with sustainability and climate change issues such as Green Infrastructure, ecological services, nature based solutions, mitigation, and adaptation. Therefore, we will welcome a wide range of papers on these topics, which explore today’s practice s and approaches, but also papers discussing how to overcome today’s sustainability inertias.  To what extent do global challenges call for new planning practices, new designs, new policies and tools and also new ways of teaching planning?


  • Conceptualising and realising the sustainable city

  • Benefits of green infrastructure and nature-based solutions

  • Planning green infrastructure and nature-based solutions at the region, city or neighbourhood scale

  • Biodiversity in the city

  • Sustainable food planning and the sustainable city

  • Governance of green infrastructure

  • Models of funding green infrastructure and nature-based solutions

  • Designing green infrastructure

  • Incorporating green infrastructure and nature-based solutions into new buildings and neighbourhoods

  • Retrofitting green infrastructure and nature-based solutions into existing places

  • Quantifying green infrastructure and other natural assets

  • Assessing the quality of green infrastructure and nature-based solutions


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