Part of the AESOP mission – and encapsulated in the Association’s charter is - to ‘promote the development of teaching … in the field of planning’ and to ‘promote a progressive approach to planning education in schools’. While AESOP has had long standing activities to support these goals through a dedicated conference track, an Excellence in Teaching prize and establishing a ‘core curriculum’ and expert pool – we feel that a Thematic Group could further promote these aims and bolster AESOP’s contributions to the field. In particular, two strands of related discourses will be pursued by this group.
The first strand focusses on the promotion of discussion and dialogue of planning curricula and subject-specific pedagogical developments. There are a number of issues in planning education that warrant discussion in terms of how the field can progress. For example, how can interdisciplinarity, interdisciplinary literacy amongst planning students be fostered in a systematic manner? What new topics, methods and theories should be reflected in curricula and how are these best conveyed in the planning curriculum. For example, how can disaster prepared and resilience, and green infrastructure planning as mean to address implications for climate change be addressed in the planning curriculum? Or how can students be supported in addressing ‘wicked/complex’ problems? This could and should also include the growing discussions around reforms in doctoral education (in general and for planning in particular).A second, related but no less important strand of work and discussions will explore the implications (threats and opportunities) for planning education within the context of emerging discussions of new models, missions and values of/in and for higher education institutions. Such new modes and models are amongst other things driven by changes in how universities are funded and perceptions on what students will need to gain from university education to cope with future challenges. Ideas include the challenge-driven university (e.g., Mulgan and Townsley 2016) or the engaged or ecological university (e.g., Barnett 2011; 2017). How can goals of promoting innovation and economic development be supporting classical planning values of advocacy of the disadvantaged and so forth? Can signature pedagogical approaches used for teaching and learning in planning (such as the workshop/studio) be scaled up to institutional level and what are the implications for planning departments?