Teaching, Learning & Researching: Spatial Planning

Keywords: planning education and research, Dutch planning, integration of planning and design, new paradigms in planning, planning for sustainability


This book is composed of a general introduction followed by 18 chapters written by teachers and researchers from TU Delft, as well as frequent collaborators, each describing an issue or tool used in Spatial Planning, as it is taught and researched at our university. The book aims to give readers around the world an introduction to how spatial planning is conceived at TU Delft. Spatial planning is a highly idiosyncratic discipline and is conceived differently around the world. In most places, spatial planning is part of an architectural approach to the city, in which design exists almost autonomously, while in other places it is part of a political-economical approach to the city. What distinguishes Delft is the bridge we have managed to build between design and politics, and the way we understand space as foundational for the understanding of socio-economic processes. This is anchored on a Dutch tradition of city-making in which issues of “maakbaarheid” (roughly translated by “feasibility”), a guiding concept in Dutch society, which was built upon an exceedingly difficult territory to plan, design and manage. Spatial planning in the Netherlands is hence a combination of planning, design and management that is unique. Simultaneously, spatial planning as a discipline in the Netherlands is rather forward-thinking and uniquely equipped to deal with the great societal challenges of our time (climate change, pandemics, growing inequality, etc) and may be useful for students and teachers elsewhere seeking to learn from other traditions. Each chapter addresses issues that we see as central to the way of teaching and researching spatial planning. 


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Author Biographies

Roberto Rocco

Delft University of Technology | Architecture and the Built Environment | Spatial Planning and Strategy

Roberto Rocco is trained as an architect and spatial planner with a master’s in planning from the University of São Paulo, a specialisation in urban management tools by the Ecole d’Urbanisme de Paris (former Institut Français d’Urbanisme) and a PhD by TU Delft. At TU Delft, he is an Associate Professor of Spatial Planning and Strategy. He leads the discussion on diversity and inclusion and specialises in governance for the built environment. This includes issues of spatial justice and social sustainability as crucial dimensions of sustainability transitions. At AMS, together with Clemens Driessen (WUR) he coordinates the course “Metropolitan Innovators”, which strives to enable students to understand urban and metropolitan challenges with a critical scholarly attitude by focussing on three perspectives: spatial justice, socio-technical transitions, and eco-systems. Roberto oversees the spatial justice component, in which students discuss how concepts of justice in space can be used to plan and design inclusive cities for all. 

Gregory Bracken

Delft University of Technology | Architecture and the Built Environment | Spatial Planning and Strategy

Gregory Bracken is an Assistant Professor of Spatial Planning and Strategy at TU Delft and one of the co-founders of Footprint, the e-journal dedicated to architecture theory. From 2009-2015 he was a Research Fellow at the International Institute for Asian Studies (IIAS) Leiden. 

Caroline Newton

Delft University of Technology | Architecture and the Built Environment | Spatial Planning and Strategy

Caroline Newton, Associate Professor of Spatial Planning, TU Delft. She is an architect, urban planner and political scientist. She holds a PhD in social geography from the University of Leuven (Belgium).    

Her work and research focus on the socio-spatial dimensions of design and critical spatial practices in Europe and the Global South. Her research interests are centred on the interrelationship between social processes and the built environment.  She has been working on (informal) dwelling and participatory upgrading, the challenge of design and planning in post-colonial environments and also on the methodological and pedagogical challenges of a 'designerly way of knowledge production'.  Additionally, she has an interest in the integration of real and virtual worlds and their role in architecture and urban design and planning education.    

She is a member of the editorial board of the Journal of Housing and the Built Environment and an expert on socio-spatial planning in the GECORO of Mechelen.

Marcin Dabrowski

Delft University of Technology | Architecture and the Built Environment | Spatial Planning and Strategy

Marcin Dabrowski is an Assistant Professor at the Chair of Spatial Planning and Research at the Department of Urbanism. His academic interests span across the disciplines of spatial planning and regional and urban studies. The topics he does research on include regional and urban development policies, urban climate change adaptation, waste management and circular economy, energy transition, (multi-level) governance or international policy transfer. 

He graduated from Sciences Po in Paris and completed his PhD at the University of the West of Scotland.  He worked as a researcher at the European Policies Research Centre (University of Strathclyde) and at the University of Vienna. He is actively involved in the activities of the Regional Studies Association (RSA), among others by coordinating the RSA Research Network on EU Cohesion Policy and acting as an editor of one of the RSA's journals - Regional Studies, Regional Science (RSRS).   


Teaching, Learning & Researching Spatial Planning


September 22, 2022


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ISBN-13 (15)