PLAN-ED - Educating Planners for the New Challenges of Sustainability, Knowledge, and Governance

Project details

Duration: September 2010 – August 2012

Sponsor: European Commission

Project leader for WHO CC: Laurence Carmichael

Project summary

The challenges posed to sustainability by the combination of global environmental, political and socioeconomic shifts call for innovative planning and policy solutions. It is critical to rethink the way in which planning education adapts and responds to these new challenges.

This two-year policy project (September 2010 to August 2012) drew from the strength and specialisations of four schools of planning and from the commonalities and differences between the four cities and the regions (Bristol, Hannover, Richmond and Portland) in which they are situated and have developed knowledge and practice networks. 

The consortium is composed of two EU and two US universities:

  1. University of the West of England, Bristol, Department of Planning and Architecture (EU Project Leader) (UWE)
  2. Leibniz Universität Hannover, Germany, Faculty of Architecture and Landscape (LUH)
  3. Virginia Commonwealth University, L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs (U.S. Project Leader) (VCU)
  4. Portland State University, Nohad A. Toulan School of Urban Studies and Planning

The main purpose of the collaborative project PLAN-ED is the enhancement of planning education in Europe and the United States through the international exchange of planning knowledge, methodologies, and practices and the tuning of competences and learning outcomes in urban and regional planning degree-granting institutions.

The project will represent a platform for promoting the comparability, transparency, and interchangeability of knowledge, practices, and skills taught in planning schools in different international and geo-political contexts. The model emerging from this project is intended to benefit not only its original participants, but also other planning degree-granting institutions and the communities that they serve. 

The main goals of the proposed effort are to: 

  1. Enhance the curriculum of each participating institution through knowledge sharing and faculty exchange 
  2. develop a model and set of teaching tools to be adopted in the long run by other planning institutions in order to tune learning outcomes and planning competences transnationally 
  3. promote the exposure of visiting faculty to local planning practices and solutions to be critically evaluated and integrated in the planning curricula of their respective institutions. 

The activities comprising the project will include faculty travel to partner institutions, guest lectures, site visits, meetings with local practitioners, joint submissions of papers to academic and professional journals, presentations at annual professional meetings, and planning for long-term activities – for example, webinars and distance learning tools. In particular, these activities will culminate in four rounds of seminars, organised in turn by each partner. Local planning and policy settings will provide the backdrops for the seminars. The seminars, consisting of presentations and interactive workshops, will be directly linked to the planning, policy, and educational challenges of the host institution’s context. Local urban planning students and faculty, key stakeholders, and practitioners will be invited to participate and contribute to seminars.

Each of the four seminars will focus on one of the following substantive policy and planning areas relevant to sustainability:

  1. Sprawl, growth management, and affordable housing
  2. urban regeneration, poverty alleviation, and social inclusion
  3. environmental planning and public health
  4. governance and planning decision-making, community participation, equity and social inclusion

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