Call for papers: Planning Africa 2016

Johannesburg city centre at night

Deadline: 15 January 2016 - 12:00am

Dates: 3 - 6 July 2016


Where: Johannesburg, SOuth Africa

Venue: Sandton Convention Centre

Conveners: SAPI

Planning Africa focuses on the role of planning in shaping the future. It is a platform for (re)thinking, discussing and envisaging the outcomes planners’ desire for the future.

The last conference in 2014 was about celebrating “Great Places”. Every place, no matter how big or small, rich or poor, should be a Great Place. This was the challenge that Planning Africa 2014 put forward to the planning and built environment fraternity, economists, politicians and decision-makers, government officials, state enterprises, the private sector, tertiary institutions and the general public.

Making great places is crucial, however it will remain a pipe dream unless planning and places are reinvented and redefined. In essence, there may be a need to disrupt current planning practices and re-craft a ‘new’ inclusive future.

While leaders attempt to structure a global consensus on housing, urbanisation and urban development through UN Sustainable Development Goal 11 and Habitat III, refugees clash with the national security as they flood cities, water and energy insecurity stunts industrial development, young unemployable youth trained for the industrial age are pushed out onto unproductive streets as they become increasingly alienated from a technological driven economy. Governments and its agencies are unable to plan, programme, budget and execute fast enough to meet demand for low income or affordable housing, water, electricity, roads, public transport and relevant skills, while the market caters for a few at the exclusion and alienation of the majority.

In “Making Sense of the Future” debates and discussions on the challenges facing the planning fraternity is needed.

Broad Definition

People experience urban environments and cities in very different ways from the past. Rapid changes arising from technology, innovation, social and economic exclusion calls for all to “Make Sense of the Future”.

The planning profession in “Making Sense of the Future” must keep up with changes and be willing to accept disruptions. This in itself brings about a discontinuity in thought, practice and process, but will also reinvent steps in rebuilding the future. “Making Sense of the Future” is about shaping what can be done when current forms of responses fail to meet current demands. While technology and innovations are disruptive, improvements come about in the lives of people. In “Making Sense of the Future” innovation, value networks and a reshaping of economic and social relations will drive the shaping of spatial patterns and forms.

In Planning Africa 2016 “Making Sense of the Future” conference there will be opportunities to explore new ideas, ways of doing, processes and practices which have the potential to or are already materially shifting the way people (especially the poor and alienated) experience, live, make a living, contribute and play.


Africa is well on its way to occupying an important global stage; its people have waited long for Africa to rise, and this future is being created now. Our sense of agency is poised on the belief that planners are agents of change, activists, visionaries, educators, etc., and that technology and innovation are among others the means to engage the future.

Planning Africa 2016 “Making Sense of the Future” wishes to identify and question current planning thinking, practices and the regime of planning to ensure that the rise of Africa is enjoyed through [r]evolutionary, African planning solutions. This conference seeks to engage individuals and organisations that are active in the pioneering metamorphosis of the African developmental landscape. Comfort and complacency will not bring about the future we know we should create. The conference calls all planners to think about what reinvented African spaces will look like, and what disruption is required to achieve this, or how disrupted spaces can be used to create reinvented spaces.

The planning profession is a critical role player in the transformation of the spatial arena and the creation of sustainable human settlements. Planning as a profession also ought to respond dynamically to the needs and aspirations of communities. Cities and spaces should be places that people want to live in and/or visit. They should attract investment which in turn generates employment and addresses poverty and inequality.

Planning Africa 2016 is about “Making Sense of the Future”, debating and discussing the ingredients and features of Disruption and Reinvention, and about sharing ideas on how to “Make Sense of the Future”.

Themes: Making Sense of the Future – Disruption and Reinvention

1. Planning in an Age of Technology and Innovation
Technology and innovation are the drivers of change topics under this sub themes include: Smart, Digital and Connected Cities, Ubiquitous technology, New possibilities with open data, Sustainability, Greening (infrastructure, economy, the future), Urban and Rural innovation, Development Foresight / Futures

2. Disrupting and Reinventing Planning Thought
Topics under this sub-theme relate to continuity and discontinuity of the planning practice including ideas on: Different ways of thinking about planning thought and practice to disrupt and reinvent the normative, Current innovations redefining the practice of planning, New theories, legislation, policy and processes that disrupt and reinvent planning thought. Issues of urbanisation, housing, space, spatiality, etc.

3. Spatial Governance – The powers that form urban and rural spaces
The role of planners is critical to how spatial forms emerge, topics under this sub theme include: City Regions, SIPs, SEZs, Mega City, Devolution of powers and functions – housing and other functions, SPLUMA and its implications, Political landscape of planning, Relationship of plans at different levels – NDP, Provinces and local

4. Planning Responses to Demographic Challenges
Topics under this sub-theme could include ideas on: how planning practices and thoughts confront implications of current forms of migration, informality in settlement patterns and economic exclusion brought about by informal economic activity and unemployment, Challenges to current planning due culture, gender, migration and informality.

5. Planning and the Optimal Utilisation of Land
Topics under this sub-theme relate to land value creation including ideas on: the power play linked to underutilized and unused land, state and market responses to mining land, frameworks on the disposal of State Owned land assets, optimisation of landfill sites, urban development/real estate.

6. Planning and Communities : How is capital contributing to the spatial/social divide in cities
Topics under this sub-theme could include: Spatial justice, Inclusive/exclusive cities, Experience, anger, discontent and crime. The class divide – gated communities, secure villages & gentrification, Planning and formal/informal systems, Participation and democracy in planning, Violence and planning for safety


Call for abstracts

SAPI will be publishing a book on “Making Great Places” with selected conference papers from Planning Africa 2014 and intends to do this for all conferences in future.

Conference papers submitted would either be a peer reviewed academic paper or a non-peer reviewed industry paper. Papers will be published in the conference proceedings that will be distributed at the conference. A book of selected papers on “Making Sense of the Future” will be published by SAPI in 2018.

The Planning Africa 2016 Programme Committee would like to encourage submissions:

• That respond to the theme as outlined above,
• Which are relevant to the African context,
• That will create intellectual debate and promote academic rigour, and
• Are generally practice orientated, communicate clearly and utilise examples and visual instruments

Paper Review Process

Papers will undergo a rigorous double blind peer review process. The abstracts received will be screened and shortlisted by programme, organizing and scientific committee in terms of: relevance, purpose and significance to conference theme and objectives. Based on the rigorous peer review process the authors of the selected abstracts will be invited to submit full papers.

All full papers will undergo a double blind peer review process by a review panel comprising of national and international domain experts in the planning and built environment field.

Selected papers based on the double blind peer review process will be published in an ISBN proceeding. The conference proceeding would also be submitted for indexing with Google Scholar, and other reputed indexing databases.  The sequence of the key headings could be kept as follows:

  • Abstract Submission
  • Peer Review Process
  • Publication
  • Key Dates

To register as a Peer Reviewer please click here.

Key Dates
15 January 2016 Deadline for submission of abstracts
28 February 2016 Confirmation of selected abstracts
31March 2016 Submission of Completed and Finalized Abstracts (Industry papers)
31 March 2016 Submission of Full Papers for review
30 April 2016 Peer Review of Full Papers completed
15 May 2016 Deadline for submission of full papers (Academic papers)
1 June 2016 Presenters registered and paid

The abstract must be between 300 to 500 words and must be submitted on line. Please click here to submit an abstract.

Planning Africa Conference 2016 is unfortunately not in a position to offer complimentary registrations to authors but will offer a discounted rate for daily attendance and for students. Registration to attend the conference will be for the author’s account. Co-authors, if attending conference, must also be registered for conference.

If registration payment has not been received, the presentation will not be listed on the conference programme and the papers will not be included in the conference proceedings. This measure has been taken by the organising committee to address the problem of ‘no-shows’ disrupting the conference programme.

Source: Planning Africa 2016

Photo Credit: Andrew Moore via flickr

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