REGIONAL DESIGN: Impacts on Territorial Governance and Planning Practice

The Thematic Group REGIONAL DESIGN focuses on regional design as a practical and experimental response to a variety of processes which has drastically changed the way spatial planning used to work. One can think of in particular decentralization and neo-liberalisation. In the search for ‘authoritative governance’ there seems to be an increasing role for spatial visioning and spatial design in particular on the regional level.

The TG will focus on the shifts in institutional architectures and planning regimes: in particular, the shift from plan­led (often fixed, regulatory, statutory, paternalistic and formal) to development-led approaches, in which plans, visions and designs follow and facilitate development proposals and initiatives by market and civil society at large. This has inspired a new planning mode characterized by normative and persuasive agenda-setting approaches, often involving many actors and a variety of knowledge bases.

In various countries, regional spatial planning is becomes connected to regional design practices. As a consequence the 'art' of making spatial representations and the imagination of spatial metaphors has emerged as a powerful tool in capacity- and consensus building in multi-actor settings. lt is often deemed to be a way of overcoming conflicting rationales and images of desired spatial development and possible spatial futures. The proposed TG will thus discuss the actual impact regional design has on regional governance and spatial planning issues.
The thematic group activities aim to explore new paths for planning at the regional and metropolitan level, in a context of governance rescaling in which spatial planning policies and practices, still traditionally anchored to rigid administrative boundaries, are now challenged to be reinvented.

Processes of defining and redefining sub-regional boundaries call for spatial visioning and design for shaping the boundaries of urban regions, providing pro-active knowledge of their characteristics and trends and conceiving shared visions of their spatial development.

The performance of regional planning and the contribution of regional design practices in these settings will be the focus of the TG, relating this performance to characteristics of the institutional context.

Coordinated by: Associate Professor Valeria Lingua

Contributors: