Practical plans

Refugees, spatial design, and a workshop of planning





practice, refugees, teaching, spatial strategies, planning


Migration generates both challenges and opportunities. The magnitude of flows and effects on local resources are rarely equally distributed, indeed, the demographic size and economic strength of arrival cities or regions consistently affect outcomes. The nature of these challenges and opportunities is, therefore, extremely varied. These elements have already structured a network of places, refugee-cities, integration hubs, and transit points that play different roles in the increasing process of human mobility. The paper discusses the role of planners in dealing with refugee crises starting from the experience of a university workshop. This allows for a plea in favour of a different approach to planning, one that insists on practice, spatial strategies, and implementation. The paper also illustrates a different teaching approach that takes into account the need to integrate different forms of knowledge and disciplinary perspectives.

How to Cite

Cremaschi, M. (2019). Practical plans: Refugees, spatial design, and a workshop of planning. Transactions of the Association of European Schools of Planning, 3(1), 55–71.








Agier, Michel (2002) Between war and city: Towards an urban anthropology of refugee camps. Ethnography, 3 (3), pp.317-341.

Agier, Michel (2010) Corridors of exile: A worldwide web of camps. Metropolitiques, 25.

Agier, Michel (2011) Managing the undesirables: Refugee camps and the humanitarian government. Cambridge: Polity Press.

Aiyar, Shekhar, Bergljot Barkbu, Nicoletta Batini, Helge Berger, Enrica Detragiache, Allan Dizioli, Christian Ebeke, Huidan Lin, Linda Kaltani, Sebastian Sosa, Antonio Spilimbergo and Petia Topalova (2016) The refugee surge in Europe, IMF.

Altman, Anna (2016) The refugee crisis is remaking European cities. The New Republic, 13 Oct., p.12-13.

Babels (2017) De Lesbos à Calais: Comment l’Europe fabrique des camps, Paris : Bibliothèque des frontières.

Balbo, Marcello (ed) (2015) Migrazioni e piccoli comuni. Milano: FrancoAngeli.

Bassi, Marie (2016a) Le passage par Lampedusa : photographie d’un long chemin de croix, Mediapart, 18 juin.

Bassi, Marie (2016b) Les acteurs non-étatiques face à l’immigration en Sicile et à Lampedusa. Après-demain, 3, pp.36-38.

Baum, Howell S. (1997) Teaching practice. Journal of Planning Education and Research, 17, pp.21-29.

Beauregard, Robert A. (2012) Planning with things. Journal of Planning Education and Research, 32 (2), pp.182-190. Bianchetti, Maria Cristina (2016) Spazi che contano: il progetto urbanistico in epoca neo-liberale. Donzelli, Roma

Cherblanc, Claude (2016) Réfugiés de Grande-Synthe, interview du Maire, Damien Carême. Mediapart, 1 juin. Collectif (2016) Décamper. De Lampedusa à Calais. Paris, La Découverte.

Cremaschi, Marco (2006) The dark side of social capital: Crime, development, and social regulations in Southern Italy. Paper presented in the annual congress of Association of European Schools of Planning (AESOP), Napoli.

Cremaschi, Marco (2010) Strumenti fragili, strategie incapaci: per un ripensamento. In I. Vinci, a cura di, Pianificazione strategica in contesti fragili, Angeli, Milano.

Cremaschi, Marco (2011) Piano e sviluppo locale: un intreccio da dipanare. In D. De Leo e V. Fini (eds) Ripensare lo sviluppo locale, Liguori, Napoli.

Cycle d’Urbanisme (2016) Fédérer l’espace, connecter les échelles, activer les ressources. Lampedusa-Paris.

Debord, Guy (1956) Introduction à une critique de la géographie urbaine, Les Lèvres Nues, n° 9, nov. In Blanc N., Christoffel D. (2008) Le monde est rond bis, Presse de Sciences Po, n° 2008/2, n° 36, pp.115-125.

D’Haenens, Delphine (2017) On ne me laisse pas le choix, regrette Damien Carême, maire de Grande-Synthe, La Voix du Nord, 26/09/2017.

Donolo, Carlo (2001) Disordine. L’economia criminale e le strategie della sfiducia. Donzelli, Roma.

EJN (Ethical Journalism Network) (2015) Moving Stories, International Review of How Media Cover Migration. London.

European Commission Migration and Home Affairs (2017) Common European Asylum System. Available from: [Accessed 8 Sept. 2017].

Friedmann, John (1995) Teaching planning theory. Journal of Planning Education and Research, 14, pp.156-162.

Gabaccia, Donna (2004) A long Atlantic in a wider world. Atlantic Studies, 1 (1), pp.1-27.

Georgiou, Myria and Rafal Zaborowski (2017) Media coverage of the “refugee crisis”: A cross-European perspective. Council of Europe.

Giardini, Federica (2015) Strategie/Agenda, ovvero dei mezzi o dei fini, Ibidem, 4, pp.9-11.

Guiraudon, Virginie (2008) Les politiques de gestion des frontières et de l’immigration. Chapitre 6: Dans Politiques publiques 1: La France dans la gouvernance européenne. Paris: Presses de Sciences Po, pp.173-194.

Guiraudon, Virginie (2018) The 2015 refugee crisis was not a turning point: Explaining policy inertia in EU border control. European Political Science, 17 (1), pp.151-160.

Hamdi, Nabeel (2013) Small change: About the art of practice and the limits of planning in cities. Routledge.

Hajer, Maarten A. and Hendrik Wagenaar (eds) (2003) Deliberative policy analysis: understanding governance in the network society. Cambridge UP.

Hirschman, Albert O. (1967) Development projects observed, Washington, D.C.: Brookings Institution.

Laws, David and John Forester (2015) Conflict, improvisation, governance: Street level practices for urban democracy. Routledge.

Lascoumes, Pierre and Patrick Le Galès (2007) Introduction: Understanding public policy through its instruments. From the nature of instruments to the sociology of public policy instrumentation. Governance, 20 (1), pp.1-21.

Le Galès, Patrick and Tommaso Vitale (2013) Governing the Large Metropolis. A Research agenda. Working papers of Programme Cities are back in town, Paris, Sciences Po.

Lefebvre, Henri (1974) La production de l’espace. L’homme et la société, 31 (1), pp.15-32.

Lerner, Jaime (2014) Urban acupuncture. Island Press.

Lendaro, Annalisa (2015) No finger print! Les mobilisations des migrants à Lampedusa, ou quand l’espace compte. L’Espace Politique. Revue en ligne de géographie politique et de géopolitique, 25-1.

Lindblom, Charles Edward and David K. Cohen (1979) Usable knowledge: Social science and social problem solving. Yale University Press.

Long, Judith Grant (2012) State of the studio: Revisiting the potential of studio pedagogy in U.S. based planning programs. Journal of Planning Education and Research, 32 (4), pp.431-448.

Lynch, Kevin (1960) The image of the city. MIT press.

Markhal, James A. (1987) Arab novelist falls in love with French. New York Times, Nov. 25.

Marrus, Michael Robert (2002) The unwanted: European refugees from the First World War through the Cold War. Temple University Press.

Melot, Élise (2009) Lampedusa, terre de confins, Mouvements 4 (60), pp.124-129.

Micheau, Michel (2009) Quarante ans d’urbanisme. Clés pour le présent. Paris: La Tour d’Aigues, Les Editions de l’Aube.

Muis, Anne-Solange (2016) Psychogéographie et carte des émotions, un apport à l’analyse du territoire?, Carnets de géographes, 9.

Neuman, Michael (2016) Teaching collaborative and interdisciplinary service-based urban design and planning studios. Journal of Urban Design, 21 (5), pp.596-615.

Panayi, Panikos (2009) Postwar Europe: A continent built on migration. In Larres, Klaus (ed) A companion to Europe since 1945. John Wiley & Sons, pp.432-449.

RFT (2016) Making Heimat: Germany, arrival country. Biennale Venezia.

Rosés, Joan and Nikolaus Wolf (2018) Regional economic development in Europe, 1900-2010: a description of the patterns. CEPR Discussion Paper No. 12749.

Sandercock, Leonie (1997) Towards cosmopolis: Planning for multicultural cities. Academy Press.

Sanyal, Romola (2012) Refugees and the city: An urban discussion. Geography Compass, 6 (11), pp.633-644. Saunders, Doug (2012) Arrival city: How the largest migration in history is reshaping our world. Vintage.

Schon, Donald A. and Martin Rein (1995) Frame reflection: Toward the resolution of intractable policy controversies. Basic Books.

Scott, James C. (1998) Seeing like a state: How certain schemes to improve the human condition have failed. Yale University Press.

Servillo, Loris and Jan Schreurs (2013) Pragmatism and research by design: Epistemological virtues and methodological challenges. International Planning Studies, 18 (3-4), pp.358-371.

Sotomayor, Luisa and Amrita Daniere (2017) The dilemmas of equity planning in the Global South: A comparative view from Bangkok and Medellín. Journal of Planning Education and Research, 38 (3), pp.273-288.

Tironi, Manuel (2015) Modes of technification: Expertise, urban controversies and the radicalness of radical planning. Planning Theory, 14 (1), pp.70-89.

Vasileva, Katya (2012) Nearly two-thirds of the foreigners living in EU Member States are citizens of countries outside the EU-27, Eurostat Statistics in focus, 31.

Verma, Niraj (2011) Urban design: An incompletely theorized project. In Banerjee, Tridib and Anastasia Loukaitou-Sideris (eds) Companion to Urban Design. Routledge, pp.57-69.

Watson, Vanessa (2002) The usefulness of normative planning theories in the context of Sub-Saharan Africa. Planning Theory 1 (1), pp.27-52.

Watson, Vanessa (2003) Conflicting rationalities: Implications for planning theory and ethics. Planning Theory & Practice, 4 (4), pp.395-407.

Wildavsky, Aaron (1973) If planning is everything, maybe it’s nothing. Policy sciences, 4 (2), pp.127-153.

Yiftachel, Oren (1998) Planning and social control: Exploring the dark side. CPL bibliography, 12 (4), pp.395-406.