Name of event: Annual Congress of Association of European School of Planning (AESOP)
The AESOP Annual Congress is a wide platform of exchange in the fields of research, education, and practice in planning. This year the central theme was the current challenges for a sustainable future. The ongoing global turbulence scenario raises the question of the effectiveness and legitimacy of using the existing, more traditional planning approaches. In this
sense, innovative ideas, and solutions for the present conditions of high uncertainty of events, risks, and anthropogenic
and natural hazards have been discussed.
In this context, my presentation focused on the role of Local Action Groups (LAGs) as territorial development polities and their possible capacity of contributing for the design of a sustainable, resilient future. Moreover, the presentation aimed at providing a contribution to the governance innovation debate focussing on the specific agency of LAGs in the territory
of Lisbon Metropolitan Area. Since LAGs’ inception – financed by the European Commission (EC) instrument LEADER in the 1990s – they were sold on their capacity to better engage local stakeholder mobilisation, proactiveness and capacitybuilding for the design and implementation of Local Development Strategies (LDS) – a spatial imaginary for an ad hoc
territory. In other words, LAG’s place-based, context-dependent structure, and agency were understood as a trigger for
local governance innovation.
Against the backdrop of ongoing Europeanisation dynamics and a soft turn in planning theory and practice, I have presented an overview of the LAG landscape in Lisbon Metropolitan Area, as well as preliminary reflections on their role as territorial development polities, according to my research field work conducted so far: governance levels interviews and online survey. The panel in which the presentation took place was entitled “Innovation, deliberation, and placebased approach” (Fig. 1) and it was moderated by Prof. Valeria Lingua (University of Florence) and Prof. Verena Balz (Delft University of Technology). The benefit I took from this opportunity can be described as follows: Firstly, it was highly valuable having these distinguished senior professors and researchers analysing and discussing my work. Secondly, attending not only this panel but other related panels brought insights for the future of my research possible approaches.
Thirdly, at the audience I had the privilege of having one of the main authors on my research object: Prof. Loris Servillo.
Finally, another relevant aspect for myself personally – as an architect and urbanist – was the opportunity of visiting Poland, specifically the city of Łódź. The mobile tour I participated – centred on the three main cultures (Polish, Russian and Jewish) that built the city – provided detailed information on the past and future of the city. Taking stock on its industrial past, and after a period of acute decline, the city is currently going under a major urban renewal of public and private areas – focussing on economic attractiveness/competitiveness as well as providing better living conditions for its citizens and tourists (Fig. 2, 3, 4). Summarizing, attending this Conference with the support of RSA has been one of the highlights of this year, academically, professionally, and personally.