We are happy to share the keynote speakers of the AESOP 2022 here! 

Wei Yang
Wei Yang & Partners​, the UK 

Dr Wei Yang is an internationally renowned town planner and urban designer. She is Chair of Wei Yang & Partners - an award-winning master planning firm in London. Wei was President for 2021 of the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI). She champions a digitally enabled place-based whole systems approach to tackle the grand challenges of our times, and thus to achieve collective wellbeing and fulfilment for all.

Wei is a lead figure in researching, promoting, and implementing 21st Century Garden City and green & low-carbon development approach worldwide. She is co-author of a bestselling book, Humanistic Pure Land and Garden Cities (Shi & Yang, 2021).

Passionate about modernising the planning profession in the digital age, Wei is co-founder and co-chair of the Digital Task Force for Planning and co-author of A Digital Future for Planning – Spatial Planning Reimagined (Batty & Yang, 2022) which outlines blueprint for digital transformation of spatial planning and the sector’s future.

Wei builds a bridge between research, development and policy. She is a Fellow of Academy of Social Sciences, a Fellow of the RTPI, a Member of Chartered Institute of Highway and Transportation (CHIT), a Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) Client Advisor, and an Honorary Professor at UCL.

Wei also holds a number of board-level and advisory roles across different sectors. She is a board member of the British Library, an Independent Trustee of the Landscape Institute, and Global Planners Network’s representative at the UN Habitat Professional Forum.



Living in Harmony with Nature: Creating Harmonious Communities for People and for Nature

Together with the pandemic, the climate and biodiversity crises are the most direct threats to the survival of humanity. Our future prosperity, our health and well-being aspirations are dependent on whether those urgent crises can be tackled. Spatial planning synthesises a variety of perspectives and approaches and is the glue that binds built and natural environment expertise together to make the world a better place in public interest. It is vital that we recognise spatial planning as an important applied science discipline, which interconnects social, environmental, and behavioural science. 
The talk will introduce the 21st Century Garden City approach and present the work of Digital Task Force for Planning. It argues that we need a modernised planning profession and a new way of education to facilitate mindset change, promote jointed up thinking, and lead multidisciplinary collaborations to tackle the grand challenges of our times, and at the same time creating harmonious communities for people and for nature. 


Marketta Kyttä
Aalto University, Finland

Marketta Kyttä, professor in Land use planning in Aalto University (Finland), has her background in environmental psychology and participatory planning. Her work concentrates on place-based research with PPGIS (public participation GIS) methodology studying themes like environmental health promotion, social sustainability, age- and child-friendly environments and participatory planning.



Place-based approach in participatory planning and in transactional study of person-environment relationship

Participatory mapping can be used both in transactional person-environment research and as a tool for participatory planning. In the presentation, I will give examples of both usage cases of online public participation GIS (PPGIS) methodology. PPGIS methodology is among the most widely spread, digital, place-based approaches used in real life public participation processes and in the study of transactional person-environment relationship. Maptionnaire is an advanced example of PPGIS methodology that was originally developed in Aalto University and today used in more than 40 countries.

To learn in what kind of real life public participation projects the tool was used and to identify the pros and cons of using this methodology, we studied over 200 Maptionnaire cases. The analysis revealed that the studied planning projects varied in geographical scale stretching from nationwide surveys to those concerning single buildings. In terms of the project topics green and blue area planning and management projects together with transportation planning projects comprised over half of the cases. When studying at which phases of the planning project the tool was used, both extremes of the planning process stood out, early initiation and the evaluation phases. To identify the pros and cons of PPGIS approach, we asked whether PPGIS tools can (1) enhance effective arrangements of public participation, (2) reach a broad spectrum of people and 3) produce high quality and versatile knowledge. The results indicated a variety of advantages and disadvantages in using PPGIS methodology in participatory planning practice. By categorizing the pros and cons of using PPGIS in practice, we can enable planners to implement more inclusive and influential participatory planning.

Place-based approach is not only fruitful in promoting smart participation but also in transactional person-environment research, where the active role of both persons and the contexts is considered. A wide variety of research themes have been studied, e.g. social sustainability, active living, ecosystem service accessibility, perceived safety and the everyday service networks & mobility patterns related to various lifestyles. Many different user groups have participated the online PPGIS studies including children and young people and the elderly. These studies produce contextually and individually sensitive evidence about the ways urban structural characteristics are associated with human experiences and behavioral patterns. By anchoring research findings to specific contexts and specific planning solutions, these research findings can become an essential part of knowledge informed planning. Planners, however, typically rely mostly on the explorative analysis of the PPGIS data. Deeper, diagnostic forms of analysis can potentially be very useful, to explain how urban structural characteristics are linked with human behavior and to predict usage patterns. The search for urban and transportation planning solutions that promote both human wellbeing and planetary health is among the key challenges of today. Place-based research strategy helps achieving a more realistic and context sensitive understanding of the human aspects in planning and helps solving some of the most wicked problems of our era. 


Tiit Tammaru
University of Tartu, Estonia

Tiit Tammaru is Professor of Urban and Population Geography and Head of the Chair of Human Geography at the Department of Geography, University of Tartu. In 2018 he was a Visiting Professor at Delft University of Technology. Currently, he is holding a three-year research professorship at the Estonian Academy of Sciences. His research is focussed on comparative studies of socio-economic segregation in Europe and beyond and he is interested in the paradigmatic shift in segregation studies from residential neighborhood approach to activity space-based approach. His recent open access works include an edited book „Urban Socio-Economic Segregation and Income Inequality: A Global Perspective“ and journal special issue „Vicious Circle of Segregation: Understanding the Connectedness of Spatial Inequality across Generations and Life Domains“. Book: https://link.springer.com/book/10.1007/978-3-030-64569-4. Special issue: https://www.cogitatiopress.com/socialinclusion/issue/view/229.

Income Inequality and Segregation between Occupational Groups
This talk is inspired by the social polarization thesis proposed by Saskia Sassen in her seminal book „The Global City“ (1991). The central question to be addressed during the presentation is as follows: What are the changes of residential segregation between occupational groups and how is it related to levels of income inequality? The talk is based on a comparative study of selected 13 major cities of Europe. The findings show that residential segregation between occupational groups increased through Europe between the two last census rounds. Changs in the levels of segregation tend to follow changes in income inequality with about 10-year time lag. Levels of inequality and segregation tend to be higher in liberal welfare societies and lower in social democratic societies. However, other factors play a role in high levels of residential segregation, too, including the intensity of new housing construction, planning of residential neighbourhoods and levels of immigration. These findings will be discussed from three perspectives. First, I will consider the role of residential segregation in producing and reproducing urban spatial inequalities within a vicious circles of segregation framework. Second, I will touch upon the emerging conflict between sustainable mobility and urban equity aims in cities from the perspective of high levels of residential segregation. Third, I will ask what could be the effects of the spread of telecommuting on the residential sorting of occupational groups.

Andres Sevtsuk

Andres Sevtsuk is a Charles and Ann Spaulding Career Development Associate Professor of Urban Science and Planning at the Department of Urban Studies and Planning at MIT, where he also leads the City Form Lab. His work bridges city design, active mobility and spatial analytics. Andres is the author of the Urban Network Analysis toolbox, used by researchers and practitioners around the world to model pedestrian flows along city streets and to study coordinated land use and transportation development along networks. He has recently published a book entitled “Street Commerce: Creating Vibrant Urban Sidewalks” with Penn Press and "Urban Network Analysis: Tools for Modeling Walking and Biking in Cities" with Tianjin University Press. Andres has collaborated with a number of city governments, international organizations, planning practices and developers on urban designs, plans and policies in both developed and rapidly developing urban environments, most recently including those in US, Indonesia, Estonia and Singapore. He has led various international research projects, published in planning, transportation and urban design journals, and received numerous awards for his work. Before joining MIT, Andres was an Associate Professor of Urban Planning and Design at the Harvard Graduate School of Design. He holds a PhD from the Department of Urban Studies and
Planning and an SMArchs in Architecture and Urbanism from MIT.