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university of tampere: faculty of management: plannord 2017:
Faculty of ManagementUniversity of TampereFaculty of Management
Plannord 2017


Changing concepts of regional planning

Track chairs: Ulla Higdem (Lillehammer University College) & Eva Purkarthofer (Aalto University)

Although spatial planning in the Nordic countries is traditionally characterized as bipolar, relying on the municipality and the nation state, regional planning has gained ground during the last decades. Despite this development, the region seemingly has not yet “found its place” in the Nordic planning systems and cultures. In many countries, the regional level is currently once again undergoing changes regarding geographical boundaries, institutional structures and governance arrangements, often leaning towards informal, soft approaches. Correspondingly, regional spatial planning frequently serves as testing ground for innovative and strategic planning approaches. In this track, we welcome contributions discussing regions, the challenges that can be addressed at the regional level and the unfolding of regional spatial strategic planning in the Nordic countries.

Experiment-driven agile cities

Track chairs: Markus Laine (University of Tampere) & Kristian Olesen (Aalborg University)

The needs of the dwellers are constantly changing and diverse. New urban ideas are emerging in relation to housing, working and living in the cities. Urban researchers trace traveling urban processes such as globalizing of urban policies, circular economy, climate change adaptation, the workings of transnational urban activism and shifting global resonances of urban cultures and milieus. In this track, the urban experimental practices and local actions are the key issue. By exploring how general ideas are implemented in different local contexts, how particular sphere of urban life may produce interesting emergent action in the fields of city planning, environmental activism, sharing economy, art, public space, civic initiatives, and so on. Moreover, we ask, what are the agile practices of cities when answering to the diversity of needs? We invite to discuss about how, why and by whom are these experimental actions created – or are there self-organizing elements around these phenomena? What can be generalized from local initiatives? We hope diversity from the papers in order to strengthen our understanding of how the local circumstances frame the idea of urban culture, action and experiment.

Agency in planning

Track chairs: Pia Bäcklund (University of Tampere) & Kristina Grange (Chalmers University of Technology)

The idea of this track is to evaluate what happens to planning when new ways of informal planning practices emerge. We specifically want to ask what is the role of planners in the context of current institutional ambiguity, in which, on the one hand, planning cannot control the development of cities by itself any longer, on the other, new forms of governing seem to lead to increasing in-transparency, demand for loyalty and, consequently, democratic losses. In this track we hope to discuss the increasingly informal rationality of planning administration, the ways in which planners themselves see these changes, as well as ethical and democratic consequences of such changes.

Nordic urbanisation trajectories and policy instruments

Track chairs: Daniel Galland (Aalborg University) & Emma Terämä (Finnish Environment Institute SYKE)

Urban and regional planning in the Nordic countries is diversifying in terms of available approaches, policy instruments and forms of implementation. This is largely due to inter alia the miscellaneous drivers that (urban) regions experience today: multi-locality of live-work arrangements, international and national migration, economic and preferential pressures, concentrated growth and transport challenges. In this session we wish to focus on contemporary Nordic urban and regional trajectories: the specificities and definition of current approaches in selected Nordic urban regions, i.e. how unique development trajectories seem to emerge in determined areas. In doing so, the revealed urban-regional development trajectory can be explored via approaches such as (i) modelling; (ii) policy analysis / effectiveness of policy instruments; or (iii) adaptation.

Planning with creativity

Track chairs: Kristi Grišakov (Aalto University & Tallinn University of Technology) & Kristina L. Nilsson (Luleå University of Technology)

The rise of statistical and geo-referenced data and related surveys has provided planners with an abundance of information which is frequently relied upon as a basis for planning decisions. This development has, however, narrowed our view on knowledge. The hegemony of evidence-based knowledge is problematic, as planning is largely coping with yet unknown futures. The role of planners goes beyond making predictions and forecasts but lies in actively shaping and creating better futures. The impacts of plans and planning processes can unfold over decades, making a long-term forward-looking perspective indispensable. Consequently, planners have to find creative and innovative ways and use their experiential tacit knowledge of tackling challenges associated with uncertainty while reflecting critically on the knowledge and assumptions planning decisions are based on. Techniques such as visioning, scenario writing, storytelling as well as new interactive digital tools are increasingly used to describe and decide between different future development paths. What kind of creativity does planning need and what kind of planning does creativity need in order to create better futures? How can planning become more innovative and more creative in dealing with places and their possible futures? How can creativity and tacit knowledge be embedded into formalized planning laws and practices? In this track, we encourage the presentation of papers reflecting upon creativity in planning as well as the presentation of techniques that enable spatial change aimed at creating desirable futures.

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