Tracks & TG Activities

Tracks and Thematic Group Activities

Besides our annual conferences, there are several occasions to meet the PLPR association or members of the association. Traditionally, PLPR organizes a track during the annual conferences of the Association of European Schools of Planning (AESOP). 

The Planning, Law, and Property Rights TG evolved from a congress track on planning and law organised by Rachelle Alterman (Technion, Israel), together with Willem Salet (University of Amsterdam), and Ben Davy (TU Dortmund) at the 1999 AESOP congress in Bergen. The track soon grew and Planning and Law became AESOP’s first Thematic Group announced by Rachelle Alterman at the 2003 AESOP congress in Leuven. The International Academic Association on Planning, Law, and Property Rights subsequently emerged in 2007 with the aim of promoting scientific discussion on planning, law and property rights.

The TG remains active and is coordinated by Dr Linda McElduff (Ulster University) and Prof Rachelle Alterman (Technion). Details of the TG activities including the annual report can be found on the AESOP TG website: The TG meets at least once a year at the annual AESOP congress.

Find a list of the past meetings of PLPR members (outside of PLPR annual conferences) below:

2022: Planning and Law Track at the AESOP Congress in Tartu

This year the AESOP congress took place in Tartu, Estonia (25 – 29 July): and the TG met on Thursday 28th July.

The AESOP 2022 Congress ‘Space for Species: Redefining Spatial Justice’ took place in Tartu, Estonia on July 25-29, 2022. The Congress consisted of 15 tracks, including the LAW track ‘planning, law and property rights: a means to ensure diversity’, which was chaired by Rachelle Alterman (Technion – Israel Institute of Technology, Israel), Siim Maasikamäe (Estonian University of Life Sciences, Estonia) and Sina Shahab (Cardiff University, United Kingdom). The LAW track hosted a wide range of presentations on different issues related to planning, law, and property rights. The main themes of the presentations included planning systems, housing and mobility in law and regulation, sustainable development, planning policy instruments concerning land value capture and compensation rights.

Here is an overview of some of the presentations: Oliver Peck discussed mobility rights within the framework of the liberal conception of fundamental rights. He argued that mobility rights should be understood as social rights that ensure access to public transportation. This has a particular relevance for those who do not own a private car. Josje Bouwmeester presented the implications of flexible regulations on the Swiss planning system. She argued that while the introduced flexibility has allowed case-by-case decision-making through the negotiation with landowners, it has led to a higher legal complexity by including additional criteria in planning regulations. Peter Lacoere discussed the issues around compensating downzoning. He presented a comparison of European compensation schemes for implementing no net land take policies. In her presentation, Maria Partidario explored the idea of territorial value as the value created in the territory by the services, or the benefits, provided by the ecosystem to both communities and individuals.

Tartu. Photo Credit: Sina Shahab

2019: Planning and Law Track at the AESOP Congress Venice

Members of PLPR organized a track during 2019 AESOP Annual Congress in Venice, Italy. Information are available here.

2018: PLPR Track @ AESOP Gothenburg

Rachelle Alterman and Lina Olsson chaired the PLPR Track: “Law” (No.3) during the 2018 AESOP congress in Gothenburg, Sweden (10th– 14thJuly). There were eleven sessions with an average of four papers per session, making it one of the largest tracks at the conference. Academics discussed topics relating to:

  • informality and planning regulation practices;
  • contractual urban regeneration: risks and control instruments for public accountability;
  • adopting and implementing planning systems;
  • real estate markets, financial risk and legal mechanisms (I & II);
  • property rights, development control and land-use planning;
  • changing practices and ideologies of property rights;
  • legal mechanisms of compulsory purchase and land readjustment;
  • conversion of land uses: sustainability and adaption;
  • farmlands and countrysides: policies, planning and legal matters;
  • land rights and conflicts.

Session 4 was dedicated to the memory of Professor Leonie Janssen-Jansen. Many delegates from inside and outside the PLPR community gathered in remembrance, and touching sentiments were shared by Rachelle Alterman, Deborah Peel and one of Leonie’s PhD students, Lilian van Karnenbeek. Leonie was the coordinator of the PLPR Thematic Group (TG) within AESOP and moving video footage of her chairing the last TG meeting at the 2017 AESOP Congress in Lisbon was shown to the packed room. Rachelle Alterman and Linda McElduff are the new coordinators of the PLPR TG.

AESOP’s TGs are working groups established to create platforms and discussion amongst AESOP members around certain themes. The PLPR TG was AESOP’s pioneering TG. AESOP support the groups by, for example, institutional patronage; supporting logistical activities via the main AESOP website; providing potential financial support; AESOP quality assurance; usage of AESOP’s platform of communication; and TGs also have the potential to propose topics of events. You can find out more about the PLPR TG here: There will be a PLPR TG meeting held during the 2019 AESOP Congress at the Università luav di Venezia. More details to follow.

Following his election at the 2017 AESOP Council of Representatives in Lisbon, Benjamin Davy officially took up his role as AESOP President for the mandate running from July 2018 to July 2020.

2017: PLPR Track at the AESOP Congress Lisbon

Rachelle Alterman, Leonie Janssen-Jansen and Beatriz Condessa chaired the PLPR Track “Law and planning under societal challenges” (No. 15) during AESOP 2017 in Lisbon. 20 papers were presented.

2016: World Planning Schools Congress in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

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2015: PLPR Track at the AESOP Congress Prague

Rachelle Alterman and Leonie Janssen-Jansen chaired the PLPR track at the annual AESOP congress in Prague. They related to the congress theme “fuzzy responsibilities” and asked questions like “Can the laws and institutions that govern planning meet the challenges posed by climate change, sustainability, and increasing uncertainty?  Are planning laws geared to handle distributive justice issues within cities, countries, and across borders?”. In six session – each with about four presentation – academics from inside and outside the PLPR community discussed topics around

  • planning systems,
  • governance, laws and regulations,
  • Legal aspects of environmental challenges,
  • Plans and planning instruments,
  • Land policy and housing,
  • Implementation and enforcement

Benjamin Davy initiated a PLPR session around various additional issues of planning, law, property rights and its relation.

2014: PLPR Track at the AESOP Congress in Utrecht


During the annual congress of AESOP in Utrecht in 2014, the PLPR track was with 60 papers one of the largest tracks and it was particularly popular. Rachelle Alterman and Willem Korthals Altes chaired the track for which 16 full-paper sessions and a paper-pitch session were scheduled. Participants from outside the European planning community attended the track. Topics ranged, i.e., from indigenous property rights to urban regeneration, from land readjustment to national spatial planning, from regional problem solving to mortgaging customary land rights and from development viability appraisal to the incidence of ownership. Participants seized the opportunity to have discussions both in the formal programme as during coffee and lunch breaks to debate issues in planning, law and property rights including their research interests and outcomes. A thematic group meeting, chaired by Leonie Janssen-Jansen, was held where the strong relation between AESOP and PLPR was celebrated and new members joined the thematic group and the PLPR conference in Volos was advertised.

2013: Track at the Joint AESOP/ACSP Congress Dublin 2013

During the joint congress of ACSP and AESOP in Dublin 15-19 July 2013 Rachelle Alterman (Technion, Israel) and Richard (Dick) Norton (University of Michigan, USA) chaired a track on planning law, regulation and dispute regulation.

In addition, Leonie Janssen-Jansen organized a thematic group meeting of the PLPR theme-group within AESOP. See for further information:

2012: PLPR track at the 2012 AESOP congress

Rachelle Alterman, Technion – Israel Institute of Technology, Israel, and Konstantinos Lalenis, University of Thessaly, Greece chaired a track on “Planning Law, Instruments, Practice during the AESOP congress in Ankara, 11-15 July 2012. The track included not only regulars, but also many young academics from Southern European countries.

2011: PLPR track at the World Planning Schools Congress

At the World Planning Schools Congress: Planning’s Future “Futures Planning: Planning in an Era of Global (Un)Certainty and Transformation”, 4-8 July 2011, Perth Convention Centre, Western Australia (see: Track 15 on Planning Law, Administration and Property Rights was chaired by Rachelle Alterman, Technion – Israel Institute of Technology, Marcio Moraes Valena, Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Norte, Brazil, and Lik Meng LEE, Universiti Sains Malaysia,

2010: PLPR session during the AESOP conference in Helsinki, Finland

30 papers were presented between the 7th and 10th of July, during the 24th AESOP annual conference in Helsinki, Finland, alongside a special session on property rights and land use regulation around the globe. The track, chaired by Rachelle Alterman and Kauko Viitanen, was well visited.

2009: PLPR track during the AESOP conference in Liverpool, Great Britain

The PLPR community convened during the AESOP conference in Liverpool and held an extra track on planning and law (track 8), chaired by Rachelle Alterman (Israel).

2008: PLPR track during the Joint Congress of ACSP and AESOP in Chicago, USA

During the joint congress of ACSP and AESOP there was held a track on “Planning processes, law, administration, and dispute resolution” (Track 11.) and a special reception has been celebrated in the evening of 8 July 2008. Rachelle Alterman invited to this session.