Shaken, shrinking, hot, impoverished and informal: Emerging research agendas in planning

Hilda Blanco, Marina Alberti, Robert Olshansky, Stephanie Chang, Stephen M. Wheeler, John Randolph, James B. London, Justin B. Hollander, Karina M. Pallagst, Terry Schwarz, Frank J. Popper, Susan Parnell, Edgar Pieterse, Vanessa Watson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This is the second of two special issues in Progress in Planning exploring emerging research agendas in planning. It brings together scholars from diverse schools working on new areas of research and application in urban design and planning. Emergent research agendas include both novel areas of research and important shifts in the direction of a research area. The challenge for planning schools is to reflect critically on these changes and develop long-term research agendas that can better position our field in society and academia, and provide a basis from which to assess our academic programmes. The chapters in this issue display the different scales and fields of planning, including planning for: disaster recovery; climate change, especially opportunities for mitigation; shrinking cities in the First World; and rapidly urbanising informal and impoverished cities in the global South. At the same time, the chapters identify research areas that respond to major social and environmental changes. Olshansky and Chang highlight the increasing losses from catastrophic disasters, and address the need for disaster recovery planning. Wheeler, Randolph and London focus on climate change, and, noting the urgency of action now, their research agenda emphasises opportunities for planners to develop research and policies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Hollander, Pallagst, Schwarz and Popper look at increasing economic and population trends in many First World cities that result in city 'shrinkage'. They present new opportunities for improving cities' green space networks and natural features, and for research. The trebling of urban population in African cities by 2050, in conditions of poverty and informality, is the major trend driving Parnell, Pietriese and Watson's chapter. They present an agenda for new planning theories and for supporting empirical research to address the actual conditions of African cities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)195-250
Number of pages56
JournalProgress in Planning
Issue number4
StatePublished - Nov 1 2009


  • Adaptation
  • Climate change
  • Demographics
  • Disasters
  • Global South
  • Global trends
  • Global warming
  • Greenhouse gases
  • Informality
  • Land use
  • Mitigation
  • Natural hazards
  • Reconstruction
  • Recovery
  • Research needs
  • Right to the city
  • Shrinking cities
  • Urban Africa
  • Urban decline
  • Urban planning
  • Urban systems

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development

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