Societal development is continuously expressed in changes in the spatial environment. It can be noticed in changes in the built environment in cities and towns as well as in land use in rural areas. Spatial planning in an urban and regional context is concerned with attempts to understand and analyse such changes, and in particular to discuss activities and actions with the intention to influence changes in the spatial environment.
Urban and Regional Planning (URP) therefore intends to understand spatial change processes and challenges and how they are dealt with – in particular how they are coordinated, organised, facilitated, regulated and administrated. This entails a wide spectrum of more substantial themes, sectors and challenges, such as:
Sustainable land use in regions, cities, communities, and in rural areas
Climate change planning – mitigation and adaptation strategies from EU to local levels
Smart Cities & Regions. Integrated policies and solutions
Innovative, creative and knowledge-based regions and cities
Inclusive regions, cities and communities
Mobility challenges and innovations
Urban regions – between polycentric and monocentric development
Slow cities, Ageing cities and demographic challenges to urban as well as rural development
Qualitative development in peripheral regions and communities
Coordination of actions: challenges and synergies in regional and urban governance and planning
Evidence-based policies (EU, ESPON, national and regional)
Planning in a transitional perspective
The focus for our research will be on planning in a transitional perspective where we want to investigate the governance structures, the dynamics of planning, the spatial data infrastructures, the future of the legal framework for planning, the movements, the placements and of course also some of the different aspects of the mobility agenda in an urban context. We want to look into the mechanisms behind the change from a planning tradition where the political focus has been on governance and the balancing of needs and services in a local context to a more competitive future scenario where smart solutions and big data can give us answers and directions before we even get to the point of putting the right questions. A critical approach to the popularity of smart cities and the growth scenarios of city regions is needed. We want to protect and preserve some of the qualitative elements of the existing planning system but at the same time be innovative and creative together with the planners, developers, politicians and citizens when new tools and new models of the future urban and regional planning are introduced.
URP is supposed to be a platform for knowledge interaction and networking activities concerned with spatial development and planning. The research group is committed to cooperation on all scales with practitioners, authorities, consultants, and other researchers. It seeks to look across the varied spectrum of planning activities in a search for the new settings and roles that spatial planning adopts in societal development.