13th international AESOP Young Academics Conference: Planning inclusive spaces: an inter- and trans-disciplinary approach

In addition to planners and designers, a variety of key actors are involved in the creation of urban space. Lawyers, politicians, geographers, engineers, social scientists, individuals, and communities, are some of those who play a significant role in designing, planning, and vitalizing urban space. In order to maximise the synergies between disciplines and knowledge being produced outside academia, we have to go beyond a multidisciplinary approach towards the creation of urban space. Here, we argue for adopting an inter- and trans-disciplinary approach, one that seeks integrating bodies of knowledge and methods into an overlapping synthesis of approaches. Planning, as a young discipline, is trying to create a unity of intellectual frameworks to understand and enhance the creation of cities.

This discussion is particularly important when planning inclusive spaces. Inclusion is a multifaceted concept with its various spatial, social, and economic factors. Often what makes a city more inclusive from one perspective has a negative or controversial effect from another. For example, the co-presence of different social groups has long been a controversial topic, as from one point of view it becomes a question of safety, while form the other, it is considered as an issue of exclusion. Though the constellation of factors can often be at odds with one another, there is a need for a balanced and holistic approach that takes today’s changing and evolving narratives of inclusion into consideration. Understanding the ways by which inhabitants of the city- as critical participants- provide unprecedented and innovative urban paradigms is equally crucial to this notion of inclusive urban space. The intrinsic links, conflicts and power relations between all actors through social, professional, and political processes and their interplay within the physical dimensions of the city must be well understood and worked on.

The aim of the conference is therefore to bring different perspectives to the discussion by critically examining the knowledge upon which what we call planning is formed. We hope to offer the participants new insights by bridging the limitations of a single discipline; directing the debate towards an exploration of the countless opportunities but also challenges of inter- and trans-disciplinary thinking.

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