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Real Estate & Planning Research Seminar - Prof Louis Albrechts, Urbanism & Planning, Catholic University of Leuven, Belgium - Title: “The challenge to make a difference”.

IMG Louis Albreits
Event information
Date 17 February 2021
Time 13:00-14:00 (Timezone: Europe/London)
Venue Online
Event types:

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Prof Louis Albrechts, Urbanism & Planning, Catholic University of Leuven, Belgium

Title: “The challenge to make a difference”.


Efficiency, action, provoking a difference have been a major concern for planning and planners. Some in planning (theory and practice) became aware that the production of plans may not be considered as the main purpose of planning and hence recognized that planning without implementation is futile As a result different types/models/approaches of planning emerged -from rational comprehensive planning over advocacy planning to collaborative planning and beyond- to strife for more impact. It is striking how different these traditions are in terms of content, process, skills… Leading practitioners and theorist became aware of an uneasy relationship between planning and politics and realized that planning without a political face behind it becomes a paper exercise. It is not possible to move systems by planning alone. The plan has to have political muscle behind it.

Some planners who became deeply aware of the limits of planning, shifted to political engagement and turned into executive politicians. That is exactly the focus of my latest book “Planners in politics: do they make a difference”. I use stories of planners in politics to illustrate their impact on defining problems, setting agendas using different catalyst for change. The stories illustrate the, often structural, impact of their work, the use of their theoretical and conceptual knowledge their specific skills, and how the political experience had an impact on their academic life (teaching and research) or professional practice.


Louis Albrechts graduated and received his PhD from the University of Leuven, Belgium. He has been full professor at the University of Leuven since 1987 till 2007, was visiting professor at a number of European Universities and visiting research fellow at the University of West Australia, Perth.

Louis Albrechts is corresponding member of the German Academy for Research and Planning, founder and editor of European Planning Studies, member of the editorial board of several international journals, chair of the first (Shanghai) and second (Mexico-City) World Planning Schools Congress, chair of the third joint AESOP/ACSP congress in Leuven, second president of the Association of European School of Planning, chair of UN-Habitat HS Advisory Board and chair of the planning commission in his hometown.

He was also in charge of the strategic plan for Flanders (1992 - 1996) and did the scientific coordination for the transport plan for Flanders (1999 - 2000). He is author of 20 books with the last two books "Situated Practices of Strategic Planning. Routledge 2017; Planners in Politics: Do they make a difference ?" Edward Elgar Publishing (2020); some 105 chapters in international books and over 60 articles in leading international journals with blind peer review. His work has been published in 10 languages.

His current research and writings focus on the practice and nature of strategic spatial planning, diversity and creativity in planning, public involvement in planning and bridging the gap between planning and implementation. He lives at Beringen in Belgium.