Track Descriptions
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The annual conference is organized around 15 tracks. When submitting an abstract, you must indicate to which track you are submitting. Many – perhaps most – topics cut across two or more tracks. If you are uncertain about the appropriate placement for your work, we encourage you to correspond with relevant track chairs before submitting the abstract. During the abstract submission process, you will be asked to indicate a second track to which the abstract relates closely.


Track 1: Analytical Methods & Computer Applications

Presents innovative analysis methods or novel applications of technology to cities, urban studies and planning. Areas of continuing interest include but are not limited to: GIS mapping, spatial analysis, and planning support systems; statistical and computational modeling of urban and regional environment; and sensing techniques. Areas of growing interest include smart systems and infrastructure, mobile communications and sensing, open data, big data, data analysis, visualization, and representation of the built environment. We welcome any papers that demonstrate new applications, analyses, methods, or technology that assist all areas of planning practice, theory or concerns.

Track 2: Economic Development

Solicits papers that help tell the economic development story as it evolves in the 21st century. We focus on issues of land, labor, capital, people, amenities, and entrepreneurship. This track invites scholars, theoretic and pragmatic, to present their work in a manner that will help us to more deeply understand the forces that drive economic development and practically offer policy and takeaways to improve the quality of life of our citizens.

Track 3: Environmental Planning & Resource Management

Presentations encompass a broad range of topics centered on or closely related to the natural environment. It includes research on the planning and management of fundamental resources (i.e., air, land, water, energy) across a variety of scales and from a variety of perspectives. Emerging research topic areas, both in practice and principle, include climate change mitigation and adaptation measures, sustainability, coastal and social-ecological resilience, green infrastructure, biodiversity conservation in the Anthropocene, alternative energy sources, and novel resource policy and governance structures from the rural to the increasingly dense urban landscapes. 

Track 4: Gender & Diversity in Planning

Explores the variety of methods, issues, and topics addressed when groups of difference analyze, develop and implement plans and planning activities. All aspects of diversity are encouraged in this track from race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation to geography, physical or cognitive disability, and class. We encourage papers and discussions on planning research and pedagogy that speak to issues of justice, equity, and inclusion related to gender and diversity. 


Track 5: Housing & Community Development

Accepts papers broadly addressing any aspect of housing and community development. In the housing area, papers routinely address issues of housing policy and programs designed to correct market failures in the provision of affordable housing. In the community development area, papers examine issue of neighborhood change whether it is revitalization, stabilization, gentrification, growth or decline. 

Track 6: The International & Comparative Development Planning

Focuses on planning issues directly relevant to developing and transitional countries as they navigate an increasingly interconnected world. International development emerged as a specific planning concern in the post-war period following decolonization across Africa and Asia and in the wake of reconstruction and nation building efforts in Asia, Africa, the Middle East and Latin America. Many late developing countries continue to share demographic, social, economic and structural attributes that create challenges for planning: demographic shifts; uneven development; struggles over land and infrastructure; tensions between economic growth, equity and environmental degradation; and the difficulty of providing decent employment opportunities amidst rapid urbanization, technical change, new kinds of informality, migration and the risks of a changing climate. Significant differences also exist among developing countries (e.g., diverse planning cultures), which creates rich debates over governance and institution building as countries negotiate their positions in a volatile global economy. The track supports comparative scholarship as well as in-depth analysis of specific countries, regions, rural contexts, cities and networks. By encouraging such work the track aims to foster bi-directional flows of knowledge, science and culture between the global north and south. 

Track 7: Land Use Policy & Governance Papers

Generally focuses on issues relating to and where land is developed, the impacts of state and local regulations on the use of land, and the role of different actors in the land development process. Additionally, papers in this track examine the impact of state and regional policies and plans on land use including growth management and smart growth programs. Land Use Policy and Governance papers usually employ a variety of methods such as statistical analyses, detailed case studies, and policy evaluations. The scale of analysis also varies widely, from jurisdiction-level studies, to regional or state analyses, and sometimes includes comparisons between cities or regions in different parts of the globe. 

Track 8: Food Systems, Community Health, Safety

Focuses on the burgeoning research and community-based practice of planning scholars and practitioners on community food systems, community health, community well-being, or community safety in both urban and rural settings. The track welcomes submissions focused on: assessments of the health impacts of environmental change or land use plans; disparities in food access and health outcomes; the impacts of the built or food environments on community health, community well-being and/or food security; community safety; refining concepts and/or measures for use in these fields; linkages between community food systems, health, and well-being and economic development; and the effects of disasters or assessing the impact of disasters on community food systems, community health, or community well-being. 

Track 9: Planning Education & Pedagogy

Accepts papers that illuminate and help improve understanding of the purposes of planning education and the uses of curriculum and pedagogy as strategies for serving these purposes. Papers should refer to and build on literature on education, teaching, learning, and planning. Reflective accounts or evaluations of educational practice, critiques of contemporary educational practices, and proposals for more focused and influential educational practices are welcome. 

Track 10: Planning History

Presentations aim to shed light on the emergence and evolution of modern planning at various geographic scales (from the local to the global), in a variety of sub-fields (land-use planning and regulation, housing, transportation, etc.) and in various modes (community action, professional practice, theoretical debates, etc.). Case studies of very recent planning events should be submitted to tracks according to the issue at hand. Papers dealing with the themes of this year's conference will be given priority. 

Track 11: The Planning Process, Administration, Law & Dispute Resolution

Focuses on the nature, design and management of decision making processes; plan administration; the development, content, implementation, and effects of laws and regulations; and, approaches to conflict management and dispute resolution. 

Track 12: Planning Theory

Focuses on the role of planning theory in understanding and informing planning scholarship and practice. We encourage papers that make connections between theoretical and substantive knowledge in planning. Of particular interest are theoretical papers that shed light on current social movements or contemporary planning phenomena related to environment or economy that links theory with planning practice. 

Track 13: Regional Planning

Encompasses a range of topics central to regional planning scholars and practitioners, including governance, inter- and intra-metropolitan relations, regional economic development, international comparisons of regional policy, and applications relevant to land use, growth, transportation, environmental and social systems at the regional scale. All methodologies, including quantitative analyses, theoretical work, detailed case studies and comparative analyses, are welcome. 

Track 14: Transportation & Infrastructure

Encompasses research on the processes by which transportation and other infrastructure is planned, designed, and developed; the performance of transportation and infrastructure systems and the policies that guide them; the nature of the demand for transportation and other services provided via public infrastructure. Of interest are passenger and freight transport by all possible modes, as well as other public infrastructure such as water systems, power utilities, and community facilities. 

Track 15: Urban Design

Solicits papers that examine the planning, design and development of the urban environment. The track addresses diverse urban design practices (including design, strategy, governance, visioning, regulation, and development) and concerns (including livability, walkability, health, resilience, heritage, regeneration, informality and place making). The track encompasses a variety of forms of research that contribute to our understanding of the design of the urban environment. Innovative papers that make connections across disciplines, scales, and substantive concerns are particularly encouraged. 




The Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning promotes education, research, service and outreach in the United States and throughout the world by seeking to:

  • recognize diverse needs and interests in planning;
  • improve and enhance the accreditation process, and;
  • strengthen the role of planning education in colleges and universities through publications, conferences, and community engagement;
  • extend planning beyond the classroom into the world of practice.