2020 AESOP PRIZE FOR EXCELLENCE IN TEACHING - applications deadline extended to 2 July 2020)

Published at: 28 June 2020


Teaching in the broad field of planning is one of the main activities of AESOP Member Schools. Thus, in 2002, AESOP introduced a prize, which recognizes and encourages Excellence in Teaching. Through this award, AESOP celebrates and disseminates innovative practices in teaching in its Member Schools. The broad aim of the Prize is to stimulate the development of planning courses or groups of courses in order to better prepare students for their forthcoming practice, to further educate practitioners, and to promote the development of a critical perspective. The specific purpose of the prize is to promote and encourage planning schools to innovate in ways that enhance the knowledge and skills necessary to respond to new global planning challenges. The Award provides an important opportunity to disseminate effective practice and importantly to celebrate teaching quality amongst AESOP members.



Teaching Resilience, Resilient Teaching


Over the past decade, the concept of resilience has become a staple of the planning lexicon. This is reflected in its appearance in the United Nations (UN) 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 11 ‘Sustainable Cities and Communities’  which aims to ‘make cities inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable’ (added emphases).  The concept is subject to different interpretations and can be used to sustain different forms of policy development and action. As Davoudi (2012 p.302) notes “much of the resilience-building literature is dominated by post-disaster emergency planning, where the focus is on sudden, large and turbulent events, at the expense of gradual, small and cumulative changes.”  There is thus often a focus on the notions of “bouncing back”, or “bouncing forward” to ‘build back better’, from disruptive events and moments. Evoking resilience in the context of planning for cities and regions may also require identification of, and responses to, ‘fast’ and ‘slow’ emergencies- examples, of the former could include natural disasters such as floods or earthquakes, or public health emergencies such as pandemics, whilst the latter may include more gradual processes such as biodiversity loss, the impacts of air pollution on health, and widening socio-economic disparities.  The notion of ‘The Fragile Metropolis’ developed under the POPSU 2 research programme (Bourdin, 2016), for example, saw fragility as not only being exposed by dramatic events or disasters, but that it could also be of the slow-onset or ‘ordinary kind’. Building resilience may thus require a focus on variable adaptive cycles, different scales, different speeds and timeframes (Davoudi, 2012). 

Bourdin, A. (Ed.) (2016), La métropole fragile, Editions Le Moniteur, Paris. http://www.popsu.archi.fr/sites/default/files/nodes/document/1061/files/popsu-la-metropole-fragile-introduction.pdf

Davoudi, S. (2012) Resilience: A Bridging Concept or a Dead End?, Planning Theory & Practice, 13:2, 299-307, DOI:10.1080/14649357.2012.677124. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/14649357.2012.677124

Informed, by the context above the theme selected for this year’s AESOP Prize for Excellence in Teaching is ‘Teaching Resilience, Resilient Teaching’: 

-       As regards ‘Teaching Resilience’ the Prize Committee encourages entries from modules that employ innovative approaches to explore the concept of resilience in planning and its practical applications.  Entries should demonstrate how the teaching develops the knowledge and skills of planners to contribute to the building of resilience through different roles and modes of planning, in cultural, social, economic and geographical environments facing different challenges and problems. The Committee will adopt a broad view of resilience as a concept, which can be explored through different teaching formats.

-       The focus on ‘Resilient Teaching’ is designed in part to take into account the particular circumstances of the current 2019 – 2020 academic session under which normal modes of teaching are suspended across higher education institutions in many parts of the globe. The Prize Committee encourages entries which demonstrate the resilience and flexibility of teaching in the context of crises/’system shocks’ - understood to include both ‘fast’, and ‘gradual’ or ‘slow onset’, emergencies. Reflecting the internationalisation of AESOP activities, we are particularly interested in adaptability of teaching approaches under the different conditions of various national, regional, and local contexts.  

For information on eligibility and on how to enter please click here