Rebuilding a Place to Call Home: the Future of Spatial Planning in Ukraine



Spatial planning often claims to be able to solve the most complex challenges of growth, both enabling and directing it. However, such ambitions are overshadowed by failures in implementation, low political interest and institutional conflicts on the ground across the world. Situations of open conflict and war accentuate these challenges as in the case of the 2022 Russian war on Ukraine which has brought immense destruction, destroyed hundreds of thousands of homes, and seen dozens of cities razed to the ground.

As Ukraine and its partners aim to launch ambitious rebuilding programs, the input and the role of spatial planning and urban development professionals and scholars is not yet clear. Key questions include: are more evidence and knowledge production for policy or a better institutionalization of spatial planning within the recovery process necessary? What focus does planning education need to adopt, considering the great variation of challenges in regions and the diverse expectations of the planner’s role? Is there space for new discourses and the establishment of normative planning expectations of the built environment in the context of reconstruction?

These issues will be explored in a symposium to be held in Lviv, Ukraine, on 2-3 November 2024 (hybrid format).  This aims to bring together academic knowledge with local expertise and practitioners’ needs. The theme of this year’s seminar is the response to the mounting challenges of recovery in three key areas: policy design and governance for resilience, learning from policy transfer, education and knowledge in spatial planning.

The symposium is organized jointly by the Centre for Land and Housing Research (Kharkiv School of Architecture) and the Department of Built Environment (Aalto University)

Contributions to the symposium will considered for publication in a special issue of Transactions of AESOP.


Themes and Topics for the Symposium and Special Issue 

The following is a non-exhaustive list: contributions can also address related issues. The Guest Editors will select contributions based on the quality and relevance of the proposed abstract. All contributions should be focused on Ukraine. However, research on other contexts will also be considered if it has a comparative component related to Ukraine.

1) Planning for resilience and recovery

- Ukrainian spatial planning system and repercussions of the war. Policy development during wartime. Emerging paradigms in spatial regulation.

- Depopulation and smart shrinkage, new challenges of spatial (de)growth. Sustainable development with(out) economic growth?

- Administrative decentralisation and new territorial dimensions of spatial planning. Local capacity for planning and territorial control. Regional variation and disparities. Multi-level governance: collaboration, cooperation and cross-border planning.

2) Policy mobility and Ukraine in the policy ‘aid’ context

- Policy mobility in the governance context of Ukraine. Integrated, comprehensive, collaborative planning and their implementation. Localization of the UN Sustainable Development Goals and New Urban Agenda, European Green Deal, New European Bauhaus.

- The impact and role of international development and planning projects on Ukrainian built environment and institutions. Success and failure in policy transfer. Learnings in ‘aid’ programs in planning.

- Future directions of spatial and regional development. Challenges of EU accession: net zero land take, agriculture policy, institutional access to funding etc.

3) Knowledge in and for planning

- Status of the current education system. Current paradigms and programs in spatial planning education. Skills, capacities and abilities of graduate planners to deal with “real” planning.

- Types and modalities of knowledge required in the recovery. Identification of knowledge and policy lacunae. Rural, landscape and urban land policy planning. Bridging policy and practice divide.

- Institutionalization of spatial planners as a discipline and profession. Prospective collaboration and conflicts in the planning sphere. Interactions within the government-planners-businesses-communities interface.


Format of contributions:

An abstract should be 300-500 words long and include four key references and five keywords.

Full articles should be up to 8,000 words.

Policy reflections/essays referenced and edited article or essay of up to 5000 words.

Please see the guidelines for Transactions of AESOP for guidance on style and format.  Each submission will be subject to blind peer review.


Publication Schedule (Indicative)


April 2024 - Call for abstracts announced

1st of August  2024 

Abstract submission deadline.  Send abstracts to:  &

15 August 2024

Decision on selection of abstracts. Notification of decision to authors and invitation to prepare full article draft

15th of October 2024

Full draft article submission deadline. Assignment of a reviewer.

2-3 November 2024

Symposium, Lviv, Ukraine (Hybrid Format).

4 November 2024 - 15 January 2025

Preparation of final article after the symposium and the first review. 

15 January 2025  

Submission of revised articles.

15 January - 18 March 2025

Second review

1 May 2025

Submission of final revised articles.

May - June 2025

Proofing and editing of articles.

July 2025 


For further information

Contact: Oleksandr Anisimov, Doctoral researcher at the Department of Built Environment (Aalto University),