21 August 2017

The main themes of the project relate to the role of indigenous peoples common land rights and how they impact on deforestation in the Argentinean Chaco in the province of Salta


This project is funded through the European Research Council Consolidator Grant Scheme, and runs over a five-year period from November 2016 until October 2021. The acronym stands for Indigenous Communities, Land Use and tropical Deforestation (INCLUDE).
Tropical deforestation is an important contributor to climate change, through the release of significant amounts of carbon in the atmosphere. The main proximate cause of deforestation is agricultural expansion, followed by resource extraction. This project will look at the problem of deforestation in the Argentinean dry Chaco in the province of Salta (the Chaco Saltenho). The Chaco Saltenho, part of the Great American Chaco (the second largest tropical forest in the American continent after the Amazon), experiences one of the fastest deforestation rates in the world (on average about 2 football fields per minute over 1970-2015), represents an important agricultural frontier (with over 6 million ha of forest left) and hosts significant ethnic and cultural diversity, including both ‘criollos’ (small scale livestock farmers of European descent) and indigenous peoples (IPs). The project, lasting 5 years, is structured around the following macro-objectives (work packages)

The Impact of Strategic Spatial Plans on Land Change in Urban Regions: Debating Plan-Making and Plan-Implementation

General description:
Within the CONCUR project ‘From plans to land change: how strategic spatial planning contributes to the development of urban regions’ the expert workshop ‘The Impact of Strategic Spatial Plans on Land Change in Urban Regions: Debating Plan Making and Plan Implementation’ (9th – 10thNovember) includes public lectures on Thursday, 9th November (09:00-15:00) by eight international experts. These experts will lecture on issues concerning strategic spatial planning, territorial governance and land-change science (further information on the order of the presentations will be soon available).
9:00 - 12:30
Public lectures by
· Frank Moulaert, The Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium
· Gertrud Jørgensen, University of Copenhagen, Denmark
· Raine Mäntysalo, Aalto University, Finland
· Jasper van Vliet, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, The Netherlands
· Peter Schmitt, Stockholm University, Sweden
· Peter Austin, City of Oslo, Norway
· Thomas Houet, University Rennes, France
· Peter Verburg, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, The Netherlands
13:45 - 15:00
Public lectures by
· CONCUR project team on the aims of the project and the preliminary theoretical model.
The final program will be soon available.
Please check the CONCUR project webpage regularly.
We look forward to seeing you.

8 August 2017

Call for Paper: "Planning and Ideology", Journal "Planning Theory"

Call for Paper: "Planning and Ideology", Journal "Planning Theory" The journal "Planning Theory" has launched a call for papers for a special issue on ideology and planning. Edited by Edward Shepherd, Andy Inch and Tim Marshall, this special issue starts from the premise that the significant analytical potential of the concept of ideology for planning thinking can only be realised if its role is brought to the fore of analysis. However, ideology has rarely been subject to sustained critical reflection within planning and there have been very few attempts to provide an overview of this terrain or to identify potential new directions for scholarship. The call invites contributions exploring the intersections of planning thought and practice with various approaches to ideology, seeking to bring together a range of papers that use the concept to cast light on different facets of the complex relationships between planning, politics and society. Deadline for paper submission is 20th of October, 2017. http://journals.sagepub.com/home/plt

18 July 2017

Special issue: Power/Knowledge in Natural Resource Management

Content of the special issue:
Power/Knowledge in Natural Resource Management

The will to knowledge: natural resource management and power/knowledge dynamics
Kristof Van Assche, Raoul Beunen & Martijn Duineveld

Partnerships for development in the extractive sector: protecting subterranean interests?
Javier Arellano-Yanguas & María del Pilar Bernal-Gómez

Small-scale fisheries within maritime spatial planning: knowledge integration and power
Svein Jentoft

Natural capital and the political economy of wetland governance in Alberta
Marian Weber, Naomi Krogman, Lee Foote & Rebecca Rooney

Governing the water user: experiences from Mexico
Edwin Rap & Philippus Wester

Power/knowledge and natural resource management: Foucaultian foundations in the analysis of adaptive governance
Kristof Van Assche, Raoul Beunen , Martijn Duineveld & Monica Gruezmacher

Materiality in natural resource management: a systems theory view
Vladislav Valentinov

Place Branding and Marketing

The great moment when you open a newly published book and you have a chapter in it.

Handbook on Place Branding and Marketing


Chapter 2: A strategic spatial planning approach to regional branding: challenges and opportunities


in memory of Prof. Sir Gregory Ashworth.

Impact of planning mandates on local plans: a multi-method assessment

Original Articles "Impact of planning mandates on local plans: a multi-method assessment" by Sophie C. Rudolf, Simona R. Grădinaru & Anna M. Hersperger Swiss Federal Research Institute WSL, Birmensdorf, Zürich, Switzerland


4 July 2017

3 July 2017

Join CONCUR project sessions at AESOP congress in Lisbon

Join CONCUR project sessions at AESOP congress in Lisbon
AESOP congress 11 - 14 July 2017, Lisbon, Portugal
Green infrastructures: fostering dialogue across scales and policies
Tuesday, 11th July, 14:30 – room V1.09, Instituto Superior Técnico, Alameda
By Anna M. Hersperger and Simona R. Gradinaru
Regional economics and scarce resources planning
Wednesday, 12th July, 09:00 – room V1.14Instituto Superior Técnico, Alameda
By Eduardo Oliveira
DETAILED CONGRESS PROGRAMME: http://aesop2017.pt/index.php/congress/news

26 June 2017

Handbook on Place Branding and Marketing - OUT NOW

Chapter 2: A strategic spatial planning approach to regional branding: challenges and opportunities

Eduardo Oliveira and Gregory J. Ashworth

This chapter critically scrutinizes the actual and potential roles of place branding as an instrument for the attainment of strategic spatial planning goals. The chapter also aims to critically discuss the challenges and opportunities of branding regions, a spatial scale seldom explored in academic and grey literatures. By presenting and discussing the challenges and opportunities involved in the process of branding regions, the chapter emphasizes the relevance and effectiveness of regional branding processes in supporting economic and social spatial realignment through the shaping of envisioned and collectively defined futures. Collectively defined futures, as the literature in both fields – place branding and strategic spatial planning – elucidates, requires the engagement and careful consideration of those whom a spatial strategy and ultimately a region brand must serve – the territory and those interacting with it. The involvement of key regional actors as well as community participation in strategic spatial planning and place branding strengthens the place brand independently of its scale of application. The chapter proceeds as follows. Firstly, it clarifies the authors’ understanding of place branding as an instrument for the attainment of strategic spatial planning goals. Secondly, civic and institutional participation is critically appraised in light of the literature of place branding and strategic spatial planning. Thirdly, it discusses the roles of strategic spatial planners in branding regions. Finally, the challenges and opportunities of branding regions are discussed and conclusions regarding such an approach are presented.

19 June 2017

Using multi-seasonal Landsat imagery for rapid identification of abandoned land in areas affected by urban sprawl


We present a Landsat-based method for mapping abandoned land in heterogeneous and fragmented urban landscapes.
The method makes use of NDVI values and decision trees.
Vegetation phenology is accounted for indetermining which period of the growing season fits best for mapping.
Scenes encompassing the beginning of the vegetation growing season enhance classification accuracy.
Monitoring land abandonment and urban sprawl can support evaluation of land-use regulations and planning strategies.

16 June 2017

Regional Studies Association conferences 2017 2018

RSA Central and Eastern European Conference 2017
10th – 13th September 2017, Babeş-Bolyai University, Cluj-Napoca, Romania
Today’s the Day! Last day to submit your abstract to the RSA CEE Conference in Cluj-Napoca. Meet with your colleagues, take part in networking activities, discuss the most recent research.If you are still unsure about attending the conference, you can find more information about the conference, speakers and special sessions here. Discover what Cluj-Napoca has to offer here. To register and submit your abstract click here.
We have a busy calendar of events that might interest you:
Student and Early Career Conference 2017, Newcastle, UK
Call for Papers and more information available 
RSA Winter Conference 2017, London, UK
Call for Papers and more information available 
RSA Russia Division Workshop 2017, Yekaterinburg, Russia
Call for Papers and more information available 

RSA Annual Conference 2018, Lugano, Switzerland
Call for Papers and more information available 

12 June 2017

How strategic spatial planning contributes to the development of urban regions

Lunch Seminar
TUESDAY, June 13th 2017, 12:00-13:00
Dep. of Human Geography, Stockholm University, Sweden
How strategic spatial planning contributes to the development of urban regions
Eduardo Oliveira
  • Introducing myself & research trajectory;
  • Introducing WSL;
  • Introducing the CONCUR project;
  • Detailing the 2nd aim of the project on territorial governance & SPP;
  • Clarifying the aims of this short research visit;
  • Sharing forthcoming events;
  • Sharing future research ambitions.

9 June 2017

Place branding in strategic spatial planning: an analysis at the regional scale with special reference to Northern Portugal

Ph.D. thesis main research question applied to the case study:

A region branding strategy for northern Portugal might (and eventually should) be developed in line with the strategic spatial planning document in force - that is - Northern Portugal Strategic Guidelines 2014-2020. This is the main strategic planning document that establishes ten planninggoals/ priority axes aimed at improving the socio-spatial and spatial economic condition of northern Portugal. 

Taking region branding as an instrument it the Northern Portugal Strategic Guidelines would contribute to re-imagining and re-positioning the region in those ten goals. As the planning document is the result of a thorough participatory process it represents the communities needs and would generate legitimacy for a region brand. 

Resources will be economised and an integrative spatial development would be reached. As the Strategic Guidelines 2014-2020 is essential to apply for EU funding – region branding could be fuelled with capital to contribute to the achievement of the strategic goals identified.


31 May 2017

METREX Stockholm Spring Conference

Looking forward for 3 days of serious debates on "Planning for social cohesion and Implementing EU strategies and programmes."  at METREX Stockholm Spring Conference


26 May 2017

Planning for compact urban forms: local growth-management approaches and their evolution over time

Urban growth is a key issue for spatial planning as it influences urban patterns and disrupts open landscapes. To effectively steer urban growth towards compact urban forms, many growth-management policies have been developed over recent decades. However, few studies have assessed how municipal policy mixes have evolved over time. In our representative Swiss-wide survey, we evaluated the prevalence and the time of introduction of 18 policies. Our results indicate that large municipalities use a broad range of reinforcing policies over decades. In contrast, small municipalities mostly rely on conventional land-use regulations. The lack of innovative, incentive-based policies casts doubt on small municipalities' ability to effectively manage urban growth. However, our analyses reveal recent efforts by small municipalities to diversify approaches to growth management and adopt innovative policies. These efforts should be supported by guiding small municipalities in their policy choices, and providing support to those lacking planning capacity.

Planning for compact urban forms: local growth-management approaches and their evolution over time

Planning for compact urban forms: local growth-management approaches and their evolution over time: (2017). Planning for compact urban forms: local growth-management approaches and their evolution over time. Journal of Environmental Planning and Management. Ahead of Print. doi: 10.1080/09640568.2017.1318749

Refining a Conceptual and Operational Framework for Analysing Territorial Governance in Processes of Strategic Spatial Planning at the Urban Regional Level

Short research period at Department of Human Geography, Stockholm University on: 
Refining a Conceptual and Operational Framework for Analysing Territorial Governance in Processes of Strategic Spatial Planning at the Urban Regional Level
The purpose of this visit to the Department of Human Geography at Stockholm University hosted by Professor Peter Schmitt, is to refine a conceptual and operational framework for analysing territorial governance in the context of strategic spatial plan-making and plan-implementation processes at the urban regional level. This visit comes in the context of the CONCUR project, From Plans to Land Change: How Strategic Spatial Planning Contributes to the Development of Urban Regions, coordinated by Dr Anna Hersperger (Swiss Federal Research Institute WSL) and funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNF).
This international visit, while brief, is intended to (i) refine the visiting fellow’s proposed framework for analysing territorial governance, within the context of strategic spatial planning, by identifying drawbacks and opportunities, and (ii) discuss with Stockholm-based experts how territorial governance and strategic spatial planning can cross-fertilize with each other.
The visiting fellow*: Eduardo Oliveira, http://cms.wsl.ch/info/mitarbeitende/oliveira/index_EN
The host: Professor Peter Schmitt, Department of Human Geography at Stockholm University, http://www.su.se/english/profiles/pschm-1.188628
Project coordinator: 
Dr. Anna Herspergerhttp://www.wsl.ch/info/mitarbeitende/hersperg/index_EN

Project team
Dr. Simona Raluca Gradinaruhttp://www.wsl.ch/info/mitarbeitende/gradinaru/index_EN ; 
Dr. Sofia Pagliarinhttp://www.wsl.ch/info/mitarbeitende/pagliarin/index_EN ; 
Dr. Gaëtan Palkahttp://cms.wsl.ch/info/mitarbeitende/palka/index_EN ; 
& *

CONCUR WSL will be attending

CONCUR WSL - "How strategic spatial planning contributes to the development of urban regions" project will be attending:
The Network of European Metropolitan Regions and Areas spring conference, 31 May–2 June 2017, Stockholm County Council
Nordic Geographers Meeting, June 18th–21st 2017, Stockholm University
CONCUR project dedicated webpage

What's branding?

22 May 2017

Regional Studies, Regional Science (RSRS).

RSRS is the flagship open access journal from the Regional Studies Association, focusing on regional issues in geography, economics, planning, and political science. Find out more.

How will publishing open access in RSRS benefit you?
Increased visibility

RSRS is one of the few open access social science journals to be included in Scopus.

Increased readership
Articles are made freely available to anyone, thus the potential reach of your paper is much wider than traditional journals. The most viewed papers published in RSRS are within the top 5% of all scholarly papers.

Rapid publication times and high quality peer-reviewRSRS offers field-leading review times - currently averaging 35 days. All papers are double blind peer reviewed, ensuring only the highest quality research is published in the journal.

No submission fee
You will only be asked to pay an article publishing charge if your paper is accepted.

Your work will sit alongside papers by such luminaries as:
Submit your paper here.
Kind regards,
Alasdair Rae,
Co-Editor-in-Chief of RSRS

Basque Country cluster policy: the road of 25 years

This paper addresses how cluster policy, particularly its management part, contributes to the processes of switching path dependency and escaping lock-ins in the old industrial regions. This is based on the case study of the Basque Country in a timeline of 25 years. Analysing the development of the Basque cluster policy on both a period and a stage-by-stage basis gives a practical understanding of the intervention framework for effective cluster policy management. Moreover, it rediscovers and stresses the importance of agile policy capacity to internal knowledge creation, constant learning and adaptation stimulating processes of path creation in old industrial regions by providing new ways of thinking about cluster policy interventions.



9 May 2017

This island position: An interview with Janice Morphet

Janice Morphet, who will speak at the RTPI Planning Convention on 21 June, tells Simon Wicks how the UK seems to be a nation out of tune with Europe, the times and itself.
Words:Simon Wicks



Educating Planners in a Post-truth World

Applications are open

Teaching in the broad field of planning is one of the main activities of AESOP Member Schools. Thus, in 2002, AESOP introduced a prize (http://www.aesop-planning.eu/en_GB/excellence-in-teaching) which recognizes and encourages Excellence in Teaching. Through this award, AESOP celebrates and disseminates innovative practices in teaching in its Member Schools. The broad aim of the Prize is to stimulate the development of planning courses or groups of courses in order to better prepare students for their forthcoming practice, to further educate practitioners, and to promote the development of a critical perspective. The specific purpose of the prize is to promote and encourage planning schools to apply new pedagogy, theories and/or technologies/techniques in ways that enhance the knowledge and skills necessary to respond to new global planning challenges. The Award provides an important opportunity to disseminate effective practice and importantly to celebrate teaching quality amongst European Schools of Planning.

One of the key features of political debates in recent times has been the rising scepticism displayed towards different forms of expert knowledge by certain political movements and sections of society. The prevailing mood was captured by an anti-EU politician during the 2016 UK referendum on EU membership, who remarked that people in Britain have “had enough of experts”.  Such attitudes have been accompanied by the rise of mendacious and manipulative discourses and narratives in recent political processes, leading to the growing use of term ‘post-truth’ politics to describe this phenomenon. If the realization of true democratic participation requires what Habermas termed to be ‘undistorted’ communication characterized by the features of comprehensibility, legitimacy, truthfulness and sincerity, then the ‘democratic’ quality of many recent electoral episodes is perhaps rather moot.  Instead crude majoritarian views of what is ‘right’ and ‘should’ happen dominate, whilst the rights of minorities, or those, including experts, who take a different view, to be heard are often questioned. This is the case even where a majority of the electorate did not actively support certain choices (e.g. 63% of the UK electorate did not vote for so-called ‘Brexit’), or in truth the absolute majority of voters backed the ‘losing’ side (e.g. Hillary Clinton polled more votes than President-elect Donald Trump in the 2016 US Presidential election). 
The political and societal context described above brings clearly into view notions of the relativity of what constitutes ‘truth’ and who can authoritatively claim to articulate it in given social situations. It presents particular challenges for societal groups such as professions that claim to possess forms of specialized or expert knowledge in relation to a particular field of human action and endeavour. It brings clearly into view notions of the relativity of what constitutes ‘truth’ and who can authoritatively claim to articulate it in given social situations.
The planning profession and its theorists and educators have long grappled with the issue of what gives planning and planners their legitimacy to ‘pronounce’ on the forms and outcomes of development which can be identified as serving a common good, or the public/collective interest. The idea of planning and views of the ‘knowledges’ it should draw on have evolved over time, with the central theme of the position and legitimacy of the planner as the expert, or ‘knower’ being explored in practice and in theory. This issue been a theme of reflection for planning practitioners, scholars and students, and the design and teaching on many planning programmes seeks to take this into account. These issues are given particular and renewed salience by the current political and societal climate in many countries.
In recognition of this context, in 2017, the AESOP Excellence in Teaching Prize Committee are keen to encourage entries from courses that seek to use innovative approaches to develop learners’ capacity to reflect on the kinds of issues outlined above and prepare them to work as practitioners in a world where dissensus rather than consensus around matters of collective interest seems to be growing and the legitimacy of expert and professional knowledge(s) is increasingly called into question. 


Only AESOP member schools can be nominated for this prize. The course must have been successfully implemented for at least one year. Applicants can either be:
  • a planning school; 
  • a planning department within a university; or 
  • a group of teaching staff or an individual belonging to an AESOP Member school.


Please, use the electronic application form available from the AESOP web site.
All material must be submitted electronically.
Applications must be received by 5th of June 2017
Applications must include a full description of the course or module, as it is described and structured in the 2017 application form.

A panel of academics (AESOP Excellence in Teaching Award Committee) will judge the nominees. The panel will consist of AESOP members, including a representative from AESOP’s Young Academics Network.

A prize of €1000 will be presented to a representative of the winning programme during the AESOP 2017 Congress in Lisbon, at the AESOP General Assembly which will take place on 13th July 2017.

The winner will be expected to make an audio-visual presentation of the programme at the subsequent year’s congress. He/she/they will also be expected to allow the programme to be presented on AESOP’s website.

5 May 2017

RSA Funding Opportunities - deadline approaching

Non-members may apply for membership at the same time as applying for a grant.

Are you a mid-career researcher in need of a grant to finance for example a pilot study? Apply for the RSA Membership Research Grant worth up to £5,000 (Deadline 8th May 2017).

Are you an early career researcher within five years of you PhD? Apply for the RSA Early Career Research Grant worth up to £10,000 (Deadline 31st May 2017).

Have you published a paper/ thesis which deserves an award? Apply for one of the RSA awards (Deadline 31st May 2017).

Are you interested in organising a series of events examining an issue of collective interest? Apply for the RSA Research Network worth up to £10,000 (Deadline 31st July 2017).

2 May 2017

The limits of growth: A case study of three mega-projects in Istanbul


Istanbul continues expanding the limits of its growth (and sustainability).
Mega-projects are the dominant mode of production of urban space and infrastructure.
The problems of jeopardized natural resources, property rights and expected migration influx could violate the existing urban fabric.
The key issue with mega-projects is the danger of losing green areas to business development.

how Jane Jacobs saved New York from Bulldozer Bob


26 April 2017

5th Master Class on EU Cohesion Policy for PhD students and early career researchers

15th European Week of Regions and Cities 2017 “Regions and cities working for a better future”
8-12 October 2017, Brussels

5th Master Class on EU Cohesion Policy for PhD students and early career researchers

As part of the 15th European Week of Regions and Cities (EWRC), the biggest event world-wide on regional and urban development, the Master Class on EU Cohesion Policy will be held for PhD students and early-career researchers for the fifth time between 9 and 12 October 2017.
The Master Class will be organised and led by the European Commission, DG for Regional and Urban Policy (DG REGIO), the EU Committee of the Regions (CoR) and the Regional Studies Association (RSA) in cooperation with the European Regional Science Association (ERSA) and the Association of European Schools of Planning (AESOP). A selection panel composed by these organisations will be responsible for reviewing the applications and selecting participants.
The Master Class is a unique format to connect young researchers and will include presentations of papers by the participants as well as lectures and panel debates with policy makers, EU officials and senior academics to improve understanding of and research on EU Cohesion Policy. In particular, it will serve to
  • discuss recent research on European regional and urban development and EU Cohesion Policy;
  • enable PhD students and early career researchers to exchange views and network with policy makers, EU officials and senior academics;
  • raise awareness and understanding of the research potential in the field of EU Cohesion Policy.
  • This year, the Master Class will focus on EU Cohesion Policy’s implementation, the debate about its future post-2020 and EU and international research programmes and projects.
30 successful applicants from the EU Member States and non-EU countries will be selected and invited to attend the Master Class. 
Interested PhD students and early career researchers (within 5 years after completing their PhD) are requested to submit applications to the Regional Studies Association (RSA) by the deadline of 9 May 2017, 3pm BST to daniela.carl@regionalstudies.org
Applications must be accompanied by abstracts of papers to be developed on one of these themes:
  • Resilient regions and cities: What local and regional strategies have proved successful in addressing the economic crisis and providing resilience? What lessons have regional and local authorities learned from the crisis and how has EU Cohesion Policy contributed to these lessons?
  • Governance of regional local development: How does EU Cohesion Policy influence “good governance” and innovation in the public sector?
  • Sharing knowledge across borders: How does EU Cohesion Policy facilitate learning between regions and cities and what are future directions in this respect?

Successful applicants will be notified by 30 May 2017 and invited to submit their full paper with a maximum of 3,000 words to the RSA by 11 September 2017. The organisers will cover travel and accommodation expenses of all participants. 

For more details and the application form, go to www.regionalstudies.org/conferences/conference/ewrc-2017

Photos from the 2016 Master Class are available at www.flickr.com/photos/regionalstudiesassociation/sets/72157675269534946