Call for papers - UERA TWG4 Urban Governance and Participation International Conference 2019

Published at: 5 February 2019

Call for papers

The Humanification of the City
The Urban Innovation Nexus Across Planning, Governance and the Commons

UERA TWG4 Urban Governance and Participation
International Conference 2019

Aalborg University, Aalborg, Denmark
28-29 March

Urban Planning research team Department of Planning Aalborg University


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’.


From the Human to the Humane: Grappling with the More-than-human Urban Commons Jonathan Metzger, KTH - Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm, Sweden.

Jonathan Metzger is an Associate Professor at the Department of Urban Planning and Environment at KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm and a Visiting Fellow at the Department of Land Economy at the University of Cambridge. Most of his research deals with decision-making concerning complex environmental issues – often with a focus on urban and regional policy and politics. In recent years he has pioneered the development of a more-than-human perspective on urban planning. Among his most recent publications is the edited volume Deleuze and The City (w/ Helène Frichot & Catharina Gabrielsson, Edinburgh University Press, 2016)

The Role of Conflict in a Humane City David Laws, University of Amsterdam

David Laws is Associate Professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of Amsterdam (UvA) and Director and co-founder (with M. Kuitenbrouwer and A. Rinnooy Kan) of the Public Mediation Program at the UvA. Dr. Laws’ research focuses on policy conflict and front-line practice in a range of domains including urban development, environmental protection, social affairs, and water management. This research includes the analysis of framing and of practices for organizing dialogue and negotiation in response to policy controversy. He is the author (with J. Forester) of Conflict, Improvisation, Governance: Street Level Practices for Urban Democracy (Routledge, 2015).

The Co-City and Internet of Humans: Urban Experimentalism and the tech justice Christian Iaione, LUISS Guido Carli

Christian Iaione is Associate Professor of urban law and policy, land use and regulatory innovation at LUISS Guido Carli and faculty director of LabGov – LABoratory for the GOVernance of the Commons ( He is member of the Sharing Economy International Advisory Board of the Seoul Metropolitan Government and e advisor of several Italian local governments and institutions. He is UIA – Urban Innovative Actions expert appointed by European Commission for the Co-City project of the City of Turin, ad-hoc expert of the EU Urbact program, member of the Urban Partnership on Innovative and Responsible Procurement within the Urban Agenda for the EU.

Call for papers

We welcome papers on the lines of research that reflect the various ways of understanding urban humanification for the ways of framing and theorizing it and/or along case studies on contemporary challenges of urban governance and participation (spatiality, imagination, creativity, engagement). Three main lines of research:

  • Planning approaches that underline the multiple forms of emergencies, strategies and potentials for urban networked perspectives;
  • Urban governance and participation practices and practitioners emerging in the contemporary city
  • Urban commons and the co-production of commons building knowledge to manage challenges in relation to sustainability and technology driven processes

Please submit abstracts of not more than 250 words, with title, your name and affiliation, to the conference chair Enza Lissandrello by 25th February 2019. We will respond to all submissions by 1st March 2019. Abstracts selected according to the quality and relevance to the conference theme will be asked for a full paper to be included in a selected journal for a special issue.

Conference fee:

There is no conference fee. However, there may be an additional extra for a conference dinner on the first evening.

What is the UERA:

The Urban Europe Research Alliance (UERA) brings together European research organisations to create a research community. The UERA aims to strengthen, expand and optimise coordination activities and research planning, with the goal of avoiding fragmentation and optimising resources in the field of urban research. (

The UERA has four ‘Thematic Working Groups’ (TWGs).
This conference is organised by/for TWG4, ‘Urban Governance and Participation’.