On 18th and 19th of May 2017 the conference SHAPING REGIONAL FUTURES: Designing and visioning in governance rescaling took place at the Medici Riccardi Palace in Florence. During the conference the roles of regional design and visioning in the formation of regional territorial governance were discussed. The conference aimed at an increased understanding of how practices, enga­ged with the imagination of possible futures, support the creation of institutional capacity for strategic spatial planning at regional scales. Information on the conference is available here.

The conference was hosted by the University of Florence (UNIFI) and supported by the Italian Ministry of Education, University and Research, the Metropolitan City of Florence, the Florence association of architects and the Italian National Town Planning Institute (INU). It was organized by Valeria Lingua and Giuseppe De Luca (Chair of Urban and Regional Planning, UNIFI). Members of the Chair of Urban Development at the Munich University of Technology (TUM) and of the Chair of Spatial Planning & Strategy, Delft University of Technology (TU Delft) were co-organizers. The conference forms part of a series of events in which the Chair of Spatial Planning & Strategy engages (for earlier events see e.g. here).

Below you find a very brief summary of the conference proceedings. Links to presentations will be made available soon. Results of the conference will be turned into a book publication. Updates on this will become available via this blog.

Day 1: Metropolitan cities in the context of governance rescaling

Day 1 of the conference started with a general introduction to the topics governance re-scaling and regional design/visioning. Prepositions concerning the impact of design-led approaches on governance processes were posed. Presentations by experts demonstrated their common understanding of impact: design-led approaches are not seen to instruct planning but facilitate dialogue among actors. Designs provide knowledge about/insight into particular spatial development and identify their positive spill-over effects. They contribute to the re-framing of spatial development and in this way to the re-framing of planning and the re-scaling of governance.

The largest part of Day 1 was dedicated to analyses of governance re-scaling processes in European countries and regions. Presentations showed that processes are complex, taking place at multiple scales simultaneously. Specific issues that were discussed included, amongst others, the objectives of governance re-scaling processes (their common interest in growth strategies), interrelations among vertical centralisation and the (sometimes voluntary, sometime required) teaming up of local governments, the important role of EU cohesion policy in processes and the political implications of governance re-scaling processes. Specific conditions that affect governance re-scaling were discussed. Presentations reflected on the importance of e.g. the legal position of strategic spatial planning, governance attitudes, the continuity of organisational change and the role of experts in planning decision making. Analyses of the roles of visions in governance re-scaling processes showed that they are at times integrating actors and at other times lead to conflict and political unheaval.

Day 1 concluded with a presentation of a current visioning process in Florence. The mayor of Florence, experts in planning law and design commented on the process.

Day 2: Shaping the future of metropolitan cities: theories and practices

Day 2 centred around regional design and visioning. During a first set of presentations the impact of design-led approaches on governance processes was reviewed from a theoretical perspective. Presentations highlighted the strong dialectics between planning decision making and design. Expectations concerning the performance of design in planning and governance and competencies of designers were critically discussed. A following session was dedicated to the role of metaphors in spatial planning. Presentations highlighted both, the importance of metaphors in planning decision making and the difficulties that arise from involving them in operational planning. The largest part of Day 2 was dedicated to illustrations of the role of design led-approaches in the making of strategies for distinct regions. Examples concerned the region of Antwerp, Zurich, Palermo, Munich and the east coast of the US.

Please follow and like us: