Urban and Planning Philosophy

The group will contribute towards making this domain of research more visible and profiled at our department and towards creating synergies between projects, researchers, and perhaps departments within the Faculty of Landscape and Society. It should also contribute to participants’ long-term academic development, and provide an arena for initiating new research projects. The group will also seek to strengthen the international dimension of our department and faculty, inviting guest lecturers.

Discussions will have point of departure in philosophical texts, interpreted in the context of contemporary challenges cities face:

  • What kind of cities do we aim at? Communitarian vs. neoliberal vision of a city; relationship between a vision of a good individual/communal life and a good city; the notion of public interest in today’s conditions, etc.
  • Alternative theoretizations of planning
  • Alternative views of urban development– beyond neoliberal agenda
  • Urban politics and power
  • Discourse and its role in planning
  • Different types knowledge and rationality in planning; practical vs. theoretical reason
  • Normative underpinnings of central concepts within planning, such as sustainability and resilience; possible alternatives
  • How to initiate a change? Pathways towards a transition
  • Social/spatial justice
  • Democracy and public space
  • Environmental ethics

 Other themes:

  • The relevance of modern philosophical sources (Kant, Hegel, Marx, Nietzsche) for contemporary spatial planning
  • Non-Western philosophical perspectives and their relevance for contemporary planning:(e.g. non-Western views of rationality, justice, human prosperity)


  1. Aristotelian and neo-Aristotelian thought
    • Aristotle: Ethics and Politics
    • MacIntyre: After Virtue (1981) Dependent Rational Animals (1999); Ethics in the Conflicts of Modernity (2016)

  2. Further sources: to be specified


Dr. Kelvin Knight, Reader in Ethics and Politics and Director of the Centre for Contemporary Aristotelian Studies at London Metropolitan University. He has been closely cooperating with Alasdair MacIntyre since 1990s. His expertise is in the history and philosophy of both Aristotelian practical philosophy and human rights, and in the relation of virtues to practical, institutional and communal goods.

Published 30. mars 2017 - 14:56 - Updated 11. mars 2022 - 11:47