Differences and Connections: Beyond Universal Theories in Planning, Urban, and Heritage Studies

IX YA Conference 2015

23-26 marzo 2015 | Palermo

 AESOP Young Academics Network is proud to announce the 9th annual Conference in Palermo, Italy, March 23-26, 2015: Differences and Connections: Beyond Universal Theories in Planning, Urban Studies, and Heritage Studies will be hosted by the University of Palermo, Polytechnic School.

The conference is a four day event around the successful frame developed by the YA: five keynote talks, two parallel tracks for presentation of 40 papers by young academics, a methodological workshop, a field trip. The conference will also host the presentation of the Festschrift for Patsy Healey edited by Jean Hillier and Jonathan Metzger. The creation of a joint event will create the room for a lively debate between the participants to the conference and one of the most emblematic figures of contemporary planning.


Keynote speakers

Patsy Healey (Newcastle University).

Jean Hillier (Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology).

Cornelius Holtorf (Linnaeus University, Kalmar).

Laura Saija (University of Catania).

Leonie Sandercock (University of British Columbia).

Theme of the conference

 The conference invites inter-/multi-disciplinary contributions that present empirical research and/or theoretical discussions and building that explore the ways universal theories in Planning, Urban and Heritage Studies have shaped planning approaches worldwide as well as advance discussions on how to go beyond such universality by exploring dimensions of differences and connections in-between different (geographic, theoretical, institutional, mental) contexts in the European and global arena of cities.

(More details here).


The conference will offer four thematic areas (more details here).

  1. . Dialogues between planning theory and research, critical urban theories, human and cultural geography, critical heritage studies, and beyond.

Contributors are invited to explore the borders of disciplines, and going beyond them, offering methodological, epistemological, and empirical reflections on how different theoretical foundations may collaborate for renovating scholarship and practice.

  1. . Comparative studies, de-parochialising theories.

Papers on this thematic area are invited to explore horizontal connections between urban contexts, planning systems and cultures, and vertical relations between global trends and local responses, and go beyond, looking at the connections between planning, governance, institutional arrangements, grass-root action. Especially welcome are comparative contributions able to put into debate historical divides at the global, regional, national, local level, and question mainstream theories’ Western-centric gist.

  1. Heritage and the politics of local-global divide

In this session, contributions are invited to advance dialogues on how planning and heritage ought to promote a more democratic approach that goes beyond Western-centricity of heritage and the continuously expanding local-global divide.

  1. Local effects and answers, making sense of European differences and connections.

 We invite contributors to look at the space of local effects of, and answer to, the crisis, both within and outside Europe, and actual (or potential) fruitful contaminations that international networks of local action may generate.


Important dates

  • November 1, 2014: abstract submission deadline;
  • December 15, 2014: notification of acceptance;
  • January 31, 2015: full paper submission deadline.


Submission guidelines and registration

The conference is free of charge and open to Members of the AESOP Young Academics Network. Register today to the network, it is free.

About forty abstracts will be selected for presentation in the conference. The selection will be based on the topics covered and the general quality of the written abstract. Although priority will be given to students enrolled in AESOP’s member schools of planning during the selection process, seats will be reserved for papers from countries outside the European Union.  A wide geographical distribution and equality of gender through participants will be guaranteed.

PLEASE NOTE: multi-authored papers are welcome, but all authors must be young academics – i.e. students, PhD students, post-docs, early-stage career researchers with no permanent position –, young activists or practitioners.



– Length: 500 words max (plus references).

– Content: outline the aim of research, problem, methodology, expected contribution and key references (max 5).

– Formats: the abstracts shall be submitted on .doc/.docx/.rtf format, without embedded images (if you wish to add an image, please upload it on an image hosting service and add a link).

– Submission: mail your abstract to yamail@aesop-youngacademics.net.

Please submit your Abstract before 1st November 2014. Response on abstract submissions will be provided by 15th December 2013. The successful contributors will be asked to provide a full version of their paper (around 6.000 words) by 31st January 2015.


Best Conference Paper Prize

As a tradition in AESOP Young Academics Network conferences, each year one paper is awarded the conference best paper prize by an international journal.


For further information:

Conference website

YA website

Mail the organizers at yamail@aesop-youngacademics.net