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Panel 19. North-South dialogues in urban planning


  • Associate Professor School of Environment Sonia Roitman, The University of Queensland, Australia, (


Urban planning aims to improve the lives of people who live in cities and urban settlements. This implies improving the opportunities for people to access good quality housing, infrastructure, services, as well as the opportunities to be part of decision-making processes to improve their living environments. Urban planning is a context specific discipline and practice, where there is not a ‘one size fits all’ approach. Several advocators have encouraged to look at the specificities of each setting, for planning processes to incorporate the local cultural, social, political, environmental and spatial conditions successfully. 

Concepts, practices and experiences travel and are shared among communities, practitioners and policy-makers. Southern planning argues that concepts and ideas used and learned in the Global North are not always useful and applicable to the conditions of the Global South (Watson, 2009). Other authors say we need to move forward from the North-South dichotomy, and in particular, the value attached to these regions challenging the idea that the South should learn from the North (Roy, 2005). Recent debates invite to analyse the North from the South (Gillespie and Mitlin, 2023) as a way to overcome the North-South dichotomy.  

This panel is interested in deepening this debate through the analysis of experiences of dialogue and the sharing of practices between North and South, or within different regions in the North and in the South, acknowledging for the diversity that exists within these regions.  The focus of discussion is the ‘North-South convergence’ (Gillespie and Mitlin, 2023) in relation to both empirical and conceptual discussions. This panel aims to discuss urban planning cases where there is a strong emphasis on building dialogues between different regions. We would like to understand the conditions that make possible successful learning processes and exchange of ideas and perspectives. These urban planning processes involve a diverse set of actors who have different working logics and values. Then how do these actors find common ground to work together when they come from different regions with different conditions, including resources, working logics and skills?

We are interested in papers discussing urban planning processes, involving different regions, that can share their experiences on building dialogue, trust and a learning practice. 

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