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Young Academics AESOP Conference 2018 at the University of Groningen

Date:18 April 2018
Author:Steven Forrest
The 12th Young Academics Conference of the Association of European Schools of Planning (AESOP)
The 12th Young Academics Conference of the Association of European Schools of Planning (AESOP)

The 12th Young Academics Conference of the Association of European Schools of Planning (AESOP) was successfully hosted at the University of Groningen from the 26th-29th March 2018. The international conference is one of the largest gathering of young researchers (such as PhD students, early-career researchers, and young practitioners) from spatial planning and related fields held in Europe. This year’s conference at the University of Groningen welcomed 53 participants from over 30 universities and organisations from across Europe and the USA (4 participants).

The conference theme was on ‘Navigating Change: Planning for societal and spatial transformation’. This theme aimed to explore insights into how various disciplines within planning, and related to planning, are dealing with change. Researchers and practitioners presented their research on dealing with environmental, technological, population and political change. Understanding these processes and exploring appropriate planning approaches for navigating these changes were key focuses of the conference.

The four-day conference offered an opportunity for young academics to present their current research and receive feedback from other participants and our track chairs: Professor Tialda Haartsen, Dr Sander Lenferinck, Dr Gerd Weitkamp, Dr Ferry Van Kann, Eva Wolf (University of Antwerp) and Dr Barend Wind. Participants also learnt more about Dutch water management, designing with nature, and cultural heritage with an excursion to the ‘Afsluitdijk’ and the city of Harlingen. Dr Tim Busscher led the excursion with further expert input provided by representatives from Rijkswaterstaat, Province Fryslân and the Wadden Academy. There were also workshops on issues of change (‘planning for growth’ and ‘balancing individual and collective interests’) facing Groningen organised by the Province of Groningen, Municipality of Groningen and Rijkswaterstaat.

Three keynote talks took place in Groningen and Leeuwarden by Professor Patrick Devine-Wright (University of Exeter), Professor Philip McCann (University of Sheffield) and Professor Maarten Hajer (Utrecht University). These keynotes were well-attended by participants, University of Groningen students and members of the public.

A best paper prize was awarded to Delphine (University of Utrecht) for her paper titled “Counting the uncountable: Identification of factors influencing people’s perception on built mega-projects: The case of Suramdu bridge in Indonesia”. The winning paper will be forwarded to disP – the Planning Review journal and proposed for publication.

The conference was organised by six PhD researchers based in the Faculty of Spatial Sciences, University of Groningen: Anne-Marel Hilbers, Anna Martini, Rik Huizinga, Rozanne Spijkerboer, Steven Forrest and Suzan Christiaanse. Special thanks to both Professor Tialda Haartsen and Diana Bruinewoud for their support in organising the conference.

The conference is free of charge to participants whose abstracts were accepted. This was made possible with the support from our generous partners:

  • Faculty of Spatial Sciences, University of Groningen
  • Rijkswaterstaat (Ministry of Infrastructure and Water)
  • Province of Groningen
  • Groningen Municipality
  • Campus Fryslân (University of Groningen)
  • Young Academics Network (AESOP)
  • Groninger Universiteits Fonds (University of Groningen)
  • Sustainable Society (University of Groningen)
  • Wadden Academie
  • NETHUR (Netherlands Graduate School of Urban and Regional Research)

More information on the conference can be found on the YA AESOP Website.