Soft spaces, soft planning, and the future of regulatory planning

“Soft spaces” – non-statutory, fluid, and fuzzy planning spaces – have been a much-discussed theme in planning studies during the recent decades. These new, fluid planning scales have been argued to be helpful in responding to problems related to functionality of city-regions or ecological sustainability in planning, and their emergence has been related for instance to the changes in our mobility patterns and the development of transportation infrastructure, or ecological processes that do not comply with administrative borders. The discussion of soft spaces has sparked research also on “soft planning”, referring to informal planning practices taking place in soft spaces.

In the research symposium “Soft spaces, soft planning, and the future of regulatory planning” we ask, what the future holds for statutory planning and “hard” regulatory approaches vis-à-vis increasing popularity of soft planning approaches, softening of administrative borders and the emergence of informal governance networks. Legal regulation and formal jurisdictions will be needed in the future too, but what kind of regulation and what kind of jurisdictions? Will we see more flexibility in regulation, and what kind of flexibility? Furthermore, what are the consequences of softening of spaces, planning, and regulation as regards the sustainability and democracy aspects of planning?

You are warmly welcome to join us for this symposium. Please sign up for the event by 31 March by sending an email to Hanna Mattila ([email protected]).

Organisers: Transforming anatomies of democratic planning project (TRANAPLAN) funded by the Academy of Finland, in collaboration with Aalto University, research group of spatial planning and transportation engineering & Aalborg University, C-MUS Centre for Mobilities and Urban Studies

Contact: Hanna Mattila, [email protected]

Symposium program

(Subject to minor changes; all times are Danish time, UTC/GMT +1 hour)

Monday 4.4. (Aalborg University, Rendsburggade 14, Aalborg, room 3.565)

10.30–10.45 Coffee and welcome

10.45–11.00 Opening words: Hanna Mattila (TRANAPLAN project) & Claus Lassen (C-MUS)

11.00–11.40 Hanna Mattila & Aleksi Heinilä: Finnish city-regional planning: soft spaces, soft planning and soft law

11.40–12.20 Kristian Olesen: Neoliberalisation as reterritorialisation: 30 years of soft space planning in Denmark

12.20-13.20 Lunch break

13.20–14.00 Eva Purkarthofer: Travelling ideas in spatial planning: soft spaces and sustainable urban development

14.00–14.40 Tina Vestermann Olsen: The role of temporary activities in processes of site-transformation in Aalborg, Denmark: a maturation of soft(er) planning practices?

14.40–15.20 Aleksi Heinilä: Collaborative planning and rule of law

15.20–16.00 Claus Lassen: Mobile place understanding

16.00–16.40 Kaisa Granqvist: Soft planning in Helsinki region, Finland

Tuesday 5.4. (Aalborg University, Rendsburggade 14, Aalborg, room 3.565)

9.00–9.40 Raine Mäntysalo: Dialectics of strategic and statutory spatial planning

9.40–10.20 Mikko Airikkala: Anticipation work as a soft space of planning? Insights from the development of an integrated system for monitoring and anticipating urban and regional development in Finland.

10.20–10.30 Coffee break

10.30–11.10 Jonne Hytönen: Contractual policies in Finnish city-regional planning: growth or sustainability orientation?

11.10–11.50 Aino Hirvola: De-politicization or re-politicization? The case of contractual urban policies in Finland

11.50–12.30 Hanna Mattila, Dylan Chau Huynh and Lea Holst Laursen: Ecological urbanism and the rescaling of urban planning and design

12.30–13.30 Lunch break

13.30–14.10 Carsten Jahn Hansen: Building planning spaces?

14.10–14.50 Michael Tophøj Sørensen: Danish holiday home zones as planning spaces

14.50–15.30 Dominic Stead: Links and parallels between soft spaces and multi-level governance

15.30– Excursion: Aalborg Growth Axis

Read more about the organisers: TRANAPLAN project (Aalto University) and C-MUS centre (Aalborg University)

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