This is an article collection published in Urban Transformations.
Planning is experiencing another paradigm shift today. There is an emerging diversity of novel planning concepts and approaches that address complex urban challenges and strive to instigate whole system change. This transformative turn implies shifts regarding the role and tasks of planning, its rationalities, instruments and related institutions. New approaches are frequently cutting across sectoral and territorial boundaries, involve a variety of different actors and through particular novel methods, while seldom relying on formal regulations. Most importantly, the extent to which such approaches effectively enable or constrain transformative change for sustainability differs substantially, depending on their formation, orientation and design.
This article collection aims to critically review recent innovations in planning approaches, strategies and instruments regarding their potentials and limits to prepare, guide, initiate and sustain transformative urban change. Considering the proliferation of new planning approaches sketched above, and the inherent tensions between characteristics of “planning” and the emergent nature of transformations, the overarching questions addressed are therefore:
- What are the institutions, motives and interests shaping new planning approaches and techniques?
- What are the discourses that build coalitions and mobilize action for new planning approaches (e.g. around “green growth”, “sufficiency”, “efficiency”, “resilience”, “security”, “inclusion”)?
- What are the characteristics of such new planning approaches regarding: informality/formality, scope, spatial scale, timeframe, participants, process, methods and outputs?
- How do such planning approaches address the conditions and requirements for transformative systemic change?
- How do such planning approaches affect the normative orientations, power positions, and legitimacy of actors?
- What are the outcomes and impacts of such planning approaches in terms of transformative change?
- How do such planning approaches compare to each other (across themes or regions), and/or to formerly existing ones?
Marc Wolfram, Sungkyunkwan University Seoul, South Korea
Markus Egermann, Leibniz Institute of Ecological Urban and Regional Development, Germany
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