Conversations in Planning 

Collaboration between AESOP and the Young Academics (YA) community

‘Conversations in Planning Theory and Practice’ is a collaborative e-publication project between the Young Academic network and AESOP (Association of European Schools of Planning). The booklet project aims to document conversations between two generations of scholars about theories, ideas, concepts and practices that matter in planning, in an inviting and explanatory way that allows the readers to easily engage with the discussion. The booklets are carefully put together and blind peer-reviewed, i.e., they host comments by people indicated by Senior Scholar that highlights parts of his/her work, in a manner that helps to elaborate on the essence of the conversation in knowledge creation. Simultaneously, this was the first product to appear on AESOP’s digital platform for publication, which facilitated the dissemination of this library with everyone and at minimal cost (

The booklet project serves multiple purposes:

  • The booklets (target as three booklets per year) initiate an essential library containing issues, discussions, arguments and proposals relevant to the discipline;
  • The production and publication of this shared project help to bring AESOP and its YA network closer;
  • At the same time, this collaboration introduces an interactive platform between early career academics, senior scholars and practitioners. YA authors are keen to explore, learn and digest while senior academics are willing to share and to guide. The booklet project encourages both the groups to jointly push the debates further. It gives young academics the chance to develop their intellectual and academic skills through interaction with senior academics and/or practitioners whereas senior academics and practitioners mentioned that YA authors encourage them to critically reflect their past work.
  • The booklets are blind peer reviewed; hence, it builds on the YA authors’ publication record.
  • We will soon invite the YA network to publish detailed book reviews of these booklets in an external journal.
  • We will introduce keyword and abstract features soon in order to help the YA network connect their own area of interest with the booklets.

Method of developing the booklets:

The booklets provide an arena for Young Academics and senior scholars or practitioners to interact, discuss and write about the development of planning practice and theory. Each booklet constitutes of two scripts per topic; and finally presents an interactive reading that reflects on the trans-disciplinary planning debate in theory and practices, through the introduction of influential associated thinkers. The uniqueness of the project is that it allows YA authors to reflect on evolution of theories from a different timeline and different context.

The booklets provide a platform for interaction between the senior scholars and the YA authors. The YA author has the opportunity for an in-depth insight about the planning debate through the work and ideas of influential senior scholars. And the senior scholar has the chance to re-approach and reflect on the development of their career and theory. YA authors develop a storyline based on reflective debate through interviews with significant people in senior scholar’s life, as well as other planners/scholars who influenced and/or are interested in the developed debate by this particular senior scholar. Such interviewees include both followers and critics. Essentially, these booklets establish an interactive reading that reflects on the planning debate, through the work of nominated planning practitioners who have significantly influenced the practice of planning.

The editorial board will publish a call for author for new booklets on the website as well as through the AESOP-YA newsletter.

List of published booklets:

  • Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari for planners - Jean Hillier (RMIT, Australia) in conversation with Gareth Abrahams (2014) (Exploring foundations for planning theory)- Author(s): Jean Hillier (RMIT, Australia) and Gareth Abrahams (Cardiff University, UK) 
  • Faludi: Introducing a Theory of Planning - Andreas Faludi (TU Delft, the Netherlands) in conversations with Chandrima Mukhopadhyay (2015) (Exploring the abstractions in the Planning debate) – Author(s): Chandrima Mukhopadhyay (Newcastle University, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK; CEPT University, India) 
  • Innes: The evolution of planning theory – Judith Innes (UC Berkeley, USA) in conversations with Leonard Machler and Dan Miltz (2015) (Exploring the abstractions in the Planning debate) – Author(s): Leonard Machler (University of British Columbia, Canada) and Dan Miltz (University of Illinois Chicago, USA & SUNNY Plattsburgh) 
  • Changing Planning Discourses and Practices: The Flanders Structure Plan – Kristian Olesen in conversation with Louis Albrechts (KU Leuven, Belgium) (2017) (Exploring Place Matters in Planning Practice) – Author: Kristian Olesen (Aalborg University, Denmark) 
  • The work of Roy: Reckonings and Encounter – Ananya Roy (UCLA Luskin, USA) in conversation with Sara Hinkley and Jennifer Tucker (2018) (Exploring the abstractions in the Planning debate) – Author(s): Sara Hinkley (University of California, Berkeley, USA) and Jennifer Tucker (University of New Mexico, USA) 
  • Fainstein: Fragmented states and pragmatic improvements - Susan Fainstein (Harvard University, USA) in conversation with Cuz Potter and Sai Balakrishnan (2019) – Author(s): Cuz Potter (Korea University) and Sai Balakrishnan (Harvard University, USA) 
  • Jacques Lacan: Introducing thinkers for planners – a narrative and conversation – Michael Gunder in conversations with Chuan Wang (2019) – Author(s): Michael Gunder (University of Auckland, New Zealand) and Chuan Wang (University of Edinburgh, UK) 
  • Practicing Polycentric (Post)Metropolis: A dialogue about the Milan Urban Region- Mario Paris in conversation with Alessandro Balducci (Politecnico di Milano, Italy) (2019)- Author(s): Mario Paris (Politecnico di Milano, Italy) 
  • Larry Susskind: Action-reflection-adaptation-public learning: Excerpts from the life of a pracademic (2020) - Larry Susskind (MIT, USA) in conversation with Shekhar Chandra (MIT, USA) (Download this booklet.)
  • Vanessa Watson: Planning from the south, learning from academica, praxis and activitsm (2021) - Vanessa Watson (School of Architecture Planning and Geomatics, African Ventre for Cities, University of Cape Town) in conversation with Aditya Kumar and Ananya Ramesh.

Call for contributors:
Editors and YA authors:
We issue periodically calls for these positions. If you are interested we invite you to check the YA newsletters and website.

Peer reviewers:
If you are interested in being part of our peer reviewers panel, we invite you to express your interest to: AESOP Conversations in Planning

e have a constantly open call for reviewers. You can download the call here.