I am professor of strategic urban planning at Aalto University, Department of Built Environment. I am also Adjunct Professor at University of Oulu, specialized in planning theory and communicative planning. In education my responsibilities in Aalto include coordinating the Finnish Major Rakennettu ympäristö (Built environment) in the School of Engineering Bachelor Programme. I have recently published articles on strategies, trading zones, democracy and power in spatial and land use planning. Currently I am Principal Investigator of the Academy of Finland -funded Strategic Research Council consortium project BEMINE - Beyond MALPE-coordination: Strategic Envisioning (2016-2019) with 11 Finnish and international partners (bemine.fi), and another Academy of Finland -funded consortium project SCENSLECO - Strategic Spatial Planning with Momentum Gaining Scenario Storytelling: Legitimacy Contested? (2015-2019) with Tampere University School of Management as partner. I am editorial member of the journals Planning Theory, Planning Theory and Practice and European Planning Studies. In January 2019 I will begin my three-year term as member of the Academy of Finland Research Council for Natural Sciences and Engineering.
In collaboration with foreign and Finnish research teams, my team has developed a specific transdisciplinary approach to planning research based on the concept of 'trading zone'. Our research has gained notable international attention within a short period of time. The pioneering article, published in collaboration with prof. Alessandro Balducci (PoliMi) in the journal Planning Theory (Mäntysalo, Balducci & Kangasoja 2011, PT 10 (3)), was selected as the journal's nominee for the AESOP Best Paper Prize. Inspired by the article, a group of Finnish and Italian researchers published a number of case studies applying the trading zone concept in planning in an edited book (Urban Planning as a Trading Zone, Springer, 2013), including a contribution by prof. Peter Galison (Harvard), the originator of the trading zone concept. Prof. emer. Patsy Healey (Univ. of Newcastle) gave a positive review of the book in the journal Regional Science, and a Roundtable around the book was held in the AESOP-ACSP Congress in Dublin, 2013. Later on, the authors involved in the book project have published several journal articles on the thematic. In our Spatial Planning and Transportation Engineering Group, we have had four doctoral theses developing the thematic further (Maarit Kahila-Tani 2016, Zheng Liang 2016, Jonna Kangasoja 2017, Vesa Kanninen 2017). The concept of trading zone has also a central role as a theoretical concept framing transdisciplinarity in the BEMINE consortium project.