PhD Workshops

PLPR PhD Workshops

Since 2016, the PLPR PhD student network organises full-day PhD workshops. The workshops are connected to the annual conference (usually on the day before start of the conference). The workshops are organised by the PLPR PhD coordinator in collaboration with the local organising committee. The students are mentored by experienced researchers out of the PLPR community.

The next PhD workshop will take place in Cardiff on March 2025. More information here. Previous workshops took place in:

  • 2024: Munich, Germany
  • 2022: Ghent, Belgium
  • 2021: Ann Arbor, MI, USA Online Workshop
  • 2020: Ústí nad Labem, Czechia
  • 2019: College Station, USA
  • 2018: Novi Sad, Serbia
  • 2017: Hongkong, China
  • 2016: Bern, Switzerland

Before the establishment of full day workshops in 2016, the PhD student network organised different events in a variety of formats.

2024 Munich, Germany

As part of PLPR’s annual 2024 conference in the Technical University of Munich, PLPR invited a group of enthusiastic PhD students to present their research in our pre-conference PhD workshop. 21 PhD students got to know each other and discussed their projects in smaller groups mentored by senior scholars from the PLPR community. The most important lesson of the day: students should own their research!

PLPR 2024 PhD Workshop Group Photo
PLPR 2024 PHD Workshop. Credit: PLPR Community

2022 Ghent, Belgium

The 2022 PhD workshop took place on June 4, 2022 in Ghent, Belgium. Sixteen PhD students – all at different stages of their research project- participated in the workshop. Participants came from a wide range of backgrounds, including planning, law, geography, economics, and political science.

The workshop kicked off with a plenary session on “Research audience, goals, question, and design” led by Prof. Richard Norton and “The do’s and don’ts of PhD research” by Prof. Tejo Spit. This was followed by sessions in smaller groups, in which students were challenged to present their research topic in three minutes, followed by a Q&A of up to 45 minutes per student. There was also plenty of time for participants to network with peers and mentors.

The workshop was coordinated by Sofija Nikolic-Popovic. Participants were mentored by:

  • Prof. Richard Norton, University of Michigan (USA)
  • Prof. Tejo Spit, University of Utrecht (NL)
  • Prof. Janet Askew, President of the European Council of Spatial Planners
  • Prof. Willem Korthals Altes, TU Delft (NL)
  • Dr. Heather Richie, Ulster University (UK)

The next PhD workshop will take place on May 1st 2023 at the 17th Annual PLPR Conference in Ann Arbor, Michigan. PhD students with a focus on the intersection between planning, law, and property rights are encouraged to keep an eye on for updates on the registration process.

PhD Workshop group photo. Source: PLPR2022 Organizers

2020 Ústí nad Labem, Czechia

COORDINATOR: LU ZHOU and Andreas Hengstermann

The fifth full day workshop took place on Monday 17th February 2020. The workshop aimed at encompassing Ph.D.  students  at  any  stage,  whose  research  is  relevant  to  the intersection  of  planning,  law,  and  property  rights. The  conference  encourages  applications  from students  in  planning,  law,  economics,  real  estate, geography,  political  science,  public  policy  or related  fields.


  • Mentoring from experienced faculties.
  • Clarify 8 key questions about your PhD project.
  • Produce a poster.
  • Social  and  networking  with  peers  and  faculties  in the  workshop  and  main  conference

Our participants were mentored by:

2019 College Station, USA

Coordinator: Lu Zhou

The fourth full day workshop took place on Monday Feb. 18th 2019 at Texas A&M University, USA. Our ten participants were mentored by

  • Prof. Chris Webster (University of Hong Kong), and
  • Prof. John Sheehan (UTS, Sydney, Australia)

2018 Conference, Novi Sad, Serbia

Coordinator: Andreas Hengstermann

The third full day workshop was conducted in 2018 in Novi Sad. Our eight PhD students were support by:

  • Rebecca Leshinsky (RMIT University, Melbourne, Australia)
  • Tejo Spit (Utrecht University, The Netherlands)

2017 Conference, University of Hong Kong

Coordinator: Andreas Hengstermann
local student hosts: Jingjing Ruan and Nikolaos Soultanidis

In 2017, we continued the tradition started in the previous year, with a full day PLPR PhD Workshop. Sixteen PhD students were coached by experienced mentors:

  • Mark Oranje (University of Pretoria, South Africa)
  • Tejo Spit (Utrecht University, The Netherlands)
  • Tzu-Yuan Chao (Stessa) (The National Cheng Kung University, Taiwan)
  • Christian Strauß (Leibniz Centre for Agricultural Landscape Research, Germany)

2016 Conference, University of Bern, Switzerland

Coordinator: Cygal Pellach

local student host: Andreas Hengstermann

In 2016, the tenth annual PLPR Conference, we held our first ever full day PLPR PhD Workshop. Nineteen PhD students from around the world participated in group sessions, each led by an experienced mentor. Our three mentors were:

  • Ben Davy, outgoing PLPR President, Dortmund University, Germany
  • Chris Webster, University of Hong Kong
  • Marta Lora-Tamayo, National University of Distance Education, Spain

The workshop was opened the night before with group activities and dinner.

2015 Conference in Volos, Greece, University of Thessaly

Coordinator: Cygal Pellach

At the 2015 PLPR Conference, PhD students met for a half-day seminar, prior to the official start of the conference.  Fifteen PhD students whose abstracts were accepted for presentation during the conference had the opportunity to meet each other and discuss their research in an open environment. Short presentations by each student allowed them to practice before presenting in their parallel sessions and exposed the group to a range of topics that are relevant to the PLPR association. Two senior academics and long-time PLPR members attended the session as mentors – Founding President Rachelle Alterman (Technion, Haifa) and Vice-President Richard Norton (University of Michigan). The mentors gave the students some valuable tips on publishing their research and life after the PhD.

2014 Conference in Haifa, Israel, Technion – Israel Institute of Technology

Coordinator: Fennie van Straalen

local host student: Cygal Pellach

At the 2014 PLPR Conference, PhD students met for an informal dinner and “getting to know you session”.

2013 Portland Conference. Portland State University

Coordinator: Fennie van Straalen

This year the format for our PhD-gathering changed in comparison to previous conferences. Because many of the approximately 20 PhD-students attending the conference met each during previous conferences, the need for a formal network event during the conference was minor. Instead we organized a more informal pre-conference PhD-tour. This allowed new PhD-students to enter the group in a casual setting and presented the opportunity to experience planning in Portland.

overview-phdtourWith a group of 15 people, and guided by Nancy Hales from First Stop Portland, we visited the Waterfront project (a new 140-acre high-density, mixed use urban community under construction) and the Pearl district ( a port-industrial neighbourhood, currently redeveloped). We met Bruce Brown, Principal of GBD Architects and senior project manager for the development of the Brewery Blocks, a redevelopment project including historic preservation, urban retail and sustainable development in the Pearl district. During the tour we got (re)acquainted, learned about planning in Portland, (re)constructing buildings for earthquake damage prevention, used the street car system, and got a great impression of planning for an American city. We would like to thank Al Burns, from the local organizing committee, for his organizational skills and flexibility in organizing the tour and Nancy Hales, First Stop Portland, for her inspirational speech about planning for Portland and answering our questions.

2012 Belfast Conference. University of Ulster

Coordinator: Fennie van Straalen

Approximately 30 PhD and Masters students met together over lunch during the first day of the conference. The group discussed its varied research topics and each student named his/ her most influential academic scholar. The students urged each other to stay in touch and to continue to exchange ideas and cross-national knowledge in order to enrich their research. One way to facilitate this is by joining the PLPR Facebook group. Following a short introduction of each student, Fennie Van Straalen introduced her plans for the upcoming year, as a candidate for PLPR PhD Coordinator (following up Michelle Oren). After the conference, the PHDs continued bonding by visiting together a local Rugby match. The PhDs would like to thank the local PhD host committee, of Ulster University, for its contribution and hospitality.

2011 Edmonton Conference

Coordinator: Michelle Oren

A small group of PLPR students assembled for a 45 minute PhD session during the 2011 conference in Alberta university, Edmonton. The group consisted of both PhD and M.A students. During the activity students reflected on their own subjects of interest and research trying to find a common ground. Through schemes, students tried to map the various planning related topics, and locate themselves in this large map. The head of the needle that their research deals with. Without doubt the keyword that gathered all the students present was LAND. From there on an interesting puzzle was composed by the contributions of each of the students to land related subjects. Land as a physical agricultural resource, land as property, land as an economic asset, land as a disputed social issue – matter of distributive justice, land as boundaries and delimited spaces, and other.

2010 Dortmund Conference. TU Dortmund University

Coordinator: Thomas Hartmann

The young academics from PLPR assembled for the PhD roundtable during the 2010 conference. The aim of the session was to get in touch, learn from each other and help each other. In this manner, the 20 PhD students virtually conducted a PhD speed dating session.

dortmundphdEach participant explained to every one of the other PhD students the three conclusions of their own thesis. Afterwards, all participants of that particular session split up in four groups, each creating a word cloud of keywords – one around social justice, one around real estate, another around legislation and stakeholders. These posters reflect the wide scope of PhD topics within PLPR on one hand, on the other hand the roundtable showed that all PhD students within the association find common issues. This result encourages future PhD activities of PLPR.

Any questions or suggestions can be addressed to our PhD coordinator –