planning / conflict. Contentious perspectives on urban developments. International research conference

Place: Berlin, Technische Universität

Date: 27-28 October 2011

Keynote speakers: Frank Fischer (Rutgers University), Patsy Healey (Newcastle University), David Laws (Amsterdam Centre for Conflict Studies, AISSR / University of Amsterdam), Tommaso Vitale (Centre d‘Études Européennes, Science Po Paris)

There has been a significant resurgence of conflict around urban plans recently in terms of both social mobilization and public perception. The significance gained by the issue in current public debates also highlights the need for rejoining different strands of critical research.

The conference brings together different perspectives on conflicts around urban planned developments, with a focus on the role planning practices may play in both defining / framing and possibly solving / reframing conflicts.

Planning theory and research have since long recognised the signifi cance of conflict. From a reflection on the contentiuous character of planning processes, important consequences have been drawn in terms of a critical understanding of the role of planning practices in conflict situations. And yet, the idea that planning may develop
a key role in effectively dealing with conflicts stands in harsh constrast with the fact that social conflicts in the city are often co-constituted by the very features of planning practices. Acknowledging this is anything but trivial, since a focus on embedded practices of confl ict resolution has apparently led to progressively neglecting the factors for social confl ict that are endogenous to the logic of planning practices. Paradoxically, this may be even seen as one of the reason for an increasing divide between planning studies and urban studies.

Two critical issues emerge from this: on the one hand, the need for reflecting on the understanding of urban conflicts in planning theory and research in terms on the actual purchase it bears on concrete planning practices; on the other hand, the need for rethinking planning conflicts in a multidisciplinary perspective.

The conference will be also an occasion for discussing further joint activities, including research groups and publications projects.

On Saturday 29, an additional programme of excursions and meetings around current urban planning confl icts in Berlin will be organized.

Details on the conference website