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.