Federation for
Housing and

International Young Planning Professionals Award 2012

Thursday 12.04.2012 to Sunday 30.09.2012

The Directorate responsible for planning at the Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and Environment (I&M) is encouraging young planning professionals to provide new ideas on the forms, methods and possibilities in spatial planning needed to face present-day challenges facing our human settlements. It is therefore using the European Urban Summer School (EUSS) as the main forum to organise an International Young Planning Professionals Award (YPPA), giving them the opportunity to present their proposals on planning methods, explaining why these ideas can be considered innovative and of a broader, more general application.

The competition aims to promote innovative ideas on spatial planning in Europe and arouse thinking on the role of the urban planner in time of rapid urban transformation in economic, demographic and political terms. The theme of the competition will be decided year by year by the promoting institutions.

Award theme 2012

The theme of the YPPA in 2012 wasAdaptive cities: new ideas for action. Trends, perspectives and challenges of spatial development in a phase of de-growth and decline in Europe’. This will be fully in line with the theme of the 3rd EUSS “Times of Scarcity- Reclaiming the Possibility of Making” being held from 21st-30th September 2012 at the University of Westminster, London.

“De-growth is not the alternative to growth, but rather a matrix of alternatives which would open up the space for human creativity again…” (Serge Latouche)

“Large cities, major revolts” (Walter Benjamin)

For 200 years, urbanization has been almost continuous and the processes of growth have prevailed globally. Nevertheless, during the last decade, another trend has emerged in Europe: not all cities are growing, and many face the prospect of a long-term stagnation and a process of (demographic) shrinkage. The causes of this urban decline are different: the phenomenon of de-industrialization, the process of sub-urbanization, the population decline, the economic and political transitions which are taking place in the post-communist countries and the effects generated by environmental disasters. The shrinkage, just like growth, involves profound changes of the principles of urban planning perspectives and models of intervention in the territory.

The institutions have so far been able to react to the effects of the shrinkage but not to plan proactively in order to turn the decline into an opportunity. The aim of the competition is to find and evaluate new tools for spatial planning, collecting research and projects about planning on the specific aspects of the shrinkage and with a multidisciplinary and integrated approach.  Which are the distinctive characters of a shrinking city?  Can the causes be identified?  How can local governments modify existing urban and regional plans in the medium or long term to fill the gap between growth oriented policies and shrinking population and tax base? What could be the role of planners in this context? These are questions which the new generations of planners have to answer.


There was a maximum of five prizes, consisting of free registration at the EUSS, reimbursement of travel and accommodation costs and a small cash prize. The prizes will be awarded during the European Urban Summer School organized by AESOP, ECTP-CEU, IFHP and ISOCARP at the University of Westminster, School of Architecture and Built Environment, London UK in September 2012. The prize winners will be invited to present their work during the opening days of the EUSS.


An international jury judged the proposals/entries:

Willemieke Hornis        Directorate for National Spatial Planning, Ministry of Infrastructure and Environment

Piotr Lorens                 International Society of City and Regional Planners- ISOCARP

Derek Martin                International Federation of Housing and Planning - IFHP

Izabela Mironowicz      Association of European School of Planning - AESOP


Young planning professionals (<35 years old) were invited to participate in this competition. Admissions were accepted for individuals from all over the world.


Photo credit:P. Branzi "Moscow Diaries: new districts" 1965