PlanNord 2019

PlanNord 2019


The 9th Nordic Planning Research Symposium

21 - 23 August 2019 / NMBU Campus Ås and Oscarsborg in Norway

Host: The Norwegian University of Life Sciences (NMBU), Department of Urban and Regional Planning

Future challenges to Nordic Planning

Nordic planning is often associated with environmental awareness, social welfare and democracy. PlanNord 2019 recognises that these assumptions are in need of critical revision, in the face of current environmental, social and political challenges. These complex and inter-related challenges arise partly from social transitions, in terms of growing cultural and social diversity due to large-scale and complex movements of goods and people. Further challenges are also caused by accelerating societal transition due to technological developments and environmental changes. Last but not least, emerging political trends at local and global scales generate new challenges for planning.

At PlanNord 2019, we wish to address these challenges and explore their implications for future planning in the Nordic region. Nordic countries have characteristics that distinguish them from other European countries, in terms of lifestyle, culture and politics. They are also geographically distinctive, with extensive sparsely populated regions, large natural areas, long coastlines and few large metropolitan areas. Such contexts require strong and effective integration of urban and regional planning. We welcome academics, practitioners and PhD candidates, in order to build bridges between science and practice, between scientific disciplines, and between Nordic planning communities. 

The symposium theme will be explored in five tracks, for which you are invited to submit presentation proposals. A PhD workshop will take place directly before the symposium, 19-21th August. More information will come soon, but for now please save the date and prepare for submitting your abstract! 

We look forward to see you next summer at PlanNord 2019!


Key note speakers

Gro Sandkjær Hanssen, Senior Researcher at OsloMet and Professor at NMBU, Department of Urban and Regional Planning

Jonathan Metzger, Docent/PhD at KTH - Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm



PLANNORD is a platform for networking and exchange of knowledge concerning spatial planning. It is an informal forum that primarily operates in a Nordic context. It is comprised by planning academics and practitioners who gather to discuss changes in planning activities and experiences.

The platform is aimed at raising awareness of emerging planning challenges, trends and practices in connection with various development conditions and different scales of spatial governance activities, in particular at local-regional levels. PLANNORD seeks to provide an opportunity to look across the varied spectrum of planning activities in a search for the new settings and roles that spatial planning adopts in societal development.


Background and main focus

PLANNORD has its roots in the early 2000s when a Nordic network was formed over the issue of Local Authority Planning in Change. The starting point was to debate contemporary changes in local planning and how to meet new challenges:

There are important changes influencing local authority planning in the Nordic countries. The economical conditions for the local authorities have decreased and the competition of inhabitants, new establishing of industry and commerce, and tourism is encouraging the local authorities among other things to improve the attractiveness through urban renewal of city centres. More local authorities even strive to reduce the segregation between inner and outer parts of the cities. There are even important changes that are challenging the way we organise and carry out local or municipal planning in the Nordic countries.

The underlying paradigm has moved from hierarchical regulation and control to more network democracy, partnerships, new public management and governance. As a result, major restructurings of the institutions and legal frameworks for local planning and development are being implemented in several countries. Demands for efficiency have also resulted in new policy regimes and new roles for both professionals and politicians.

How are we to meet these new challenges? What are the emerging trends and practices in our respective countries? What can we learn from each other’s experiences in our attempts to meet the future in a dynamic and constructive way? What do we really mean with new public management and governance? Is it a new way of thinking or just new concepts on already well-known conditions?

For more information about the PLANNORD network and earlier PLANNORD conferences, see