During the 2019 Annual AESOP conference the new AESOP thematic group Regional Design was launched by researchers at the Universities of Florence, Munich, and Delft. Activities by the group aim to explore new paths for spatial planning at the regional and metropolitan level by challenging policies and practices that are traditionally anchored in rigid administrative boundaries. They seek for insights into novel, more flexible and more design-led approaches and how these approaches are and can be embedded in institutional practices. The theme Regional Design will be discussed during a series of meetings that are provisionally planned to take place in the Netherlands, Germany, Italy and Portugal over the upcoming years.

The launch of the group was accompanied by a range of related conference events: sessions on ‘Urban design for multilevel planning’, on results rendered by the ‘Young investigator training program 2018 – regional planning and design, from theory to practices’, a Regional Design thematic group meeting, and, finally, a special session called ‘Regional design: impacts on territorial governance and planning practice’. We were glad to welcome a broad, engaged and enthusiast audience to all of these events!

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