Department of Planning

The humanification of the city

The Urban Innovation Nexus Across Planning, Governance and the Commons


28.03.2019 - 29.03.2019


Objectives & theme:

The conference aims to explore and solidify the meaning of humanification with regard to the co-production of urban planning through collaborative and deliberative governance and the co- creation of urban commons. It is posited as a new way of analysing problems in and proposing solutions for the urban environment, in its material and non-material expressions, and as such informing future understandings of cities and the transformation of planning in view of future sustainable transitions.

Humanification seeks to bring the ‘human’ element back to the city as a lens through which citizens are not just considered as a passive force adapting themselves to the city, but through which the city is actually shaped with citizens. Cities represent and express a spatial socio- technological change, but cities should also become able to creatively harness change with specific regards to imagination, creativity, and engagement, to facilitate a move towards human sustainable futures. This ability requires the effort to reconcile urban planning with governance frames and the production of urban commons.

These issues are relevant in meeting the challenges of cities today, and are to be specifically considered using the context of ‘urban transitions’ in the work of JPI Urban Europe. JPI Urban Europe is focused on innovation driven by challenges and the cooperation of research with cities and urban stakeholders. The SDG 11 ‘Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable’ is used as an entry point to try and achieve a wider range of SDGs using Urban Transitions. Urban transitions are needed to anticipate and mitigate wicked issues facing urban areas. While some targets of the SDGs are mutually supportive, others compete or have conflict between sectors and societal groups. These challenges have been summarised by the JPI as four dilemma themes to serve as priorities:

● Digital transition and urban governance

● From urban resilience to robustness

● Land-use and urban infrastructures and

● Inclusive public space.

While there has been progress and there remains potential of innovative solutions and development in each of these areas, there are also risks of increased socio-spatial inequalities, with the gain of development being shared disproportionately. The aim of this conference is to advance the concept of ‘Humanification’ within urban planning, assessing where the concept can be used productively to address innovative and equitable planning methods in view of addressing the above ‘dilemmas’.


Please find the program here


Department of Planning