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The complexity and interconnectedness of the urban challenges of today demand integrated and innovative approaches to the planning and design of sustainable, fair, and inclusive cities and regions. This, in turn, requires us to challenge and rethink current planning practice and education. Future generations of planners and designers need knowledge and skills to deal with that complexity by integrating insights from across different disciplines, from urban and regional design, environmental technology, geomatics, and urban studies to history and other branches of the social sciences. Furthermore, they also need to have a strong understanding of the values, ethical challenges, and dilemmas intrinsic to planning practice. These insights, methods, and frameworks provide a foundation for envisioning a future in which justice and sustainability play central roles. Contemporary planners need effective tools for developing shared spatial visions in communicative democratic exercises, to design strategies to achieve those visions, and create action plans for their implementation. Communication plays a central role in multi-stakeholder environments, especially when power and knowledge are unevenly distributed, as is the case in cities. It is generally understood that the fields of planning and design require a value-oriented stance that seeks to promote pluralism(both epistemological and political) and shape public debate and practice. Planning is seen as a process in which visioning and strategy creation for (and with) diverse stakeholders is carried out. Therefore, blueprint planning is skewed in favour of participatory and deliberative planning. Conveying ideas and shaping the future are two of the capabilities of planning and design. With the help of design, we can better ground planning in existing spatial conditions and maximise the potentials of a given space. Design adds imagination and creativity to planning practice and opens up opportunities for experimenting with stakeholder participation and (visually) communicating solutions to complex urban challenges. This book provides an authoritative collection of perspectives on theories, urban challenges, and methods of research and education in planning, from a diversity of perspectives and disciplines. It builds upon the integrative ‘Delft approach’ to Urbanism, which draws on knowledge and research from design, the social and physical sciences, and engineering. At the Department of Urbanism of TU Delft, students and staff engage in cross-disciplinary and comparative studies to better understand the inherent connections between spatial planning, spatial design, landscape design, environmental technology, urban data science and urban studies. It is our hope that the various chapters in this book will resonate with the call for a more pluralist and adaptive approach to planning and design, one that is in constant evolution in response to changing needs, circumstances, and perspectives.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationTeaching, Learning & Researching Spatial Planning
EditorsRoberto Rocco, Gregory Bracken, Caroline Newton, Marcin Dabrowski
Place of PublicationDelft
PublisherTU Delft Open
Number of pages4
ISBN (Print)978-94-6366-604-6
Publication statusPublished - 2022


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