Territorial planning and urban transformative capacities. Preliminary reflections on the case of Valencia in Spain.

09/07/2019 to 13/07/2019
Association of European Schools of Planning –AESOP 2019 - Planning for Transition
Cities and territories require new forms of planning to face sustainability challenges. The research community is paying increasing attention to place-based approaches to identify the essential factors for accelerating urban sustainability transitions. This work-in-progress is based on the urban transformative capacity conceptual framework (Wolfram, 2016) for the analysis of the transition processes in the particular case of Valencia, Spain. The aim is to apply the framework as an analytical tool and to develop an exploratory assessment wich identifies strategic implications for policy making and urban planning in order to accelerate transitions. Urban sustainability transitions are conceived here as deep transformation processes at economic, social, environmental, cultural, organizational, governmental and physical level (Ernst et al., 2016). Consequently, they are assumed to be a set of connected changes which reinforce each other but take place in several different areas through multiple causality and co-evolution (Rotmans et al. 2001). Sustainability transitions schools focuses on socio-technical systems (Geels, 2004) to underline the tension between emerging niches and stabilized regimes while recognizing the important role of actors’ agency (Frantzeskaki et al., 2018) and the need for reflexive governance. At urban level, transitions studies emphasize the relevance of scale, place specificities and interconnections amongst socio-technical systems. This work draws on Wolfram’s conception of “urban transformative capacity as the collective ability of the stakeholders involved in urban development to conceive of, prepare for, initiate and perform path-deviant change towards sustainability within and across multiple complex systems that constitute the cities they relate to” (Wolfram, 2016, pp. 126). Particularly, the role of urban planning (and planners) has to be examined in relation to its capacity of translating and incorporating innovative practices to accelerate urban sustainability transitions. At this level, implications in terms of rationalities, governance, instruments and techniques will be showed.
Venice (Italy)
Sergio Segura-Calero, Jordi Peris