Planning Research Conference 2019

The Planning Research Conference will be hosted by the University of Liverpool from 2nd-4th September 2019. The conference will bring together international researchers and practitioners to discuss the latest developments in planning. It will feature keynote talks from leaders in the field, roundtables, study tours and the opportunity to present work to colleagues. The conference will also provide visitors with an opportunity to visit Liverpool, a city which has changed hugely in the last 20 years yet retains a unique maritime history. 

The University of Liverpool hosts the world’s first planning school, set up as the Department of Civic Design in 1909. So the Conference will coincide with the 110th anniversary of Planning in Liverpool, but we have continued to innovate and it will also mark ten years since the Department combined with a range of others to form the School of Environmental Sciences. The School includes colleagues in Geography, Geology, Geophysics, Oceanography, Ecology and Marine Biology which brings us exciting opportunities for collaboration. We have tried to reflect that diversity in the set of tracks we have chosen for the conference. 

We have chosen for the theme of the conference Make Planning Great Again: Legitimacy and Justice in a Post-Truth World. We live in an age when “experts” are coming under attack from politicians and others, and the concept of “alternative facts” is in common use. At a time like this, it is more important than ever for us to reflect upon how Planners and Planning make claims for legitimacy, at the same time as pursuing social and environmental justice. 

Planning is an activity which can, and does, play a vital role in developing solutions to the most pressing problems facing the world. But it often does so in contexts, such as in England, where Planning as an activity, and Planners themselves, are denigrated and undermined. We must also of course recognise that some criticism is justified, and that constant reflection is needed upon Planning methods and theories. At the 2019 Planning Research Conference we want to bring together perspectives on Planning that are critical and reflective, but also hopeful and forward-looking. We encourage submissions that challenge establish ways of doing things, but suggest how our discipline and profession could embrace change and work more effectively to address the challenges faced by people everywhere. 

John Sturzaker, Conference Committee Chair