Aims, Objectives and Activities

The ESDP network advocates the following approach:

View of Society

Planning has an explicit role to play as a transformative and integrative process both in and for society; its objective is to develop auspicious societal scenarios that can     serve as global host to a diversity of communities, existential fields, regions and cities, ethnic groups and views of the world that support a transition towards a sustainable human eco-system.

Governance & Public Sector

To foster this process, planning must contribute to communication between communities and their constituents, between citizens in different power positions and between social as well as political groups. It mustpromote participatory and collaborative planning procedures in order to achieve a better representation of all sections of society in governance, thereby improving both democratic content and political efficacy. This implies coordination among the various levels of government, the division of responsibilities among public, private and civil society actors, as well as the unconditional protection of all human rights.

An Integrated Planning Approach

In order to live up to this multi-dimensional mission, planning processes, agendas and activities increasingly build connections and coherence through the development of strategies and plans among the various planning and policy fields, and through relationships with policy-makers, strategic agents and stakeholders representing diverse interests. This integrated approach can only work properly if it is embedded in a multi-governance system as envisioned above.

Planning ethics

Planners adopt a democratic, bottom-up system of ethics, and through their actions seek to promote greater equity vis-à-vis all citizens. Planners work in teams that combine a variety of disciplinary skills, but also use interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary tools to create governance institutions and to shape change.

Education, research and training

The education, research and training ambitions of the ESDP network reflect these planning missions. They are pursued through a project-oriented, interdisciplinary, transdisciplinary and process-embedded approach to education.


The ESDP was founded as – and still is to a large extent – an Erasmus exchange network, which has then developed other activities:

  • The IMSDP – International Module in Spatial Development Planning
  • The IP-Intensive Programme
  • The collaborative research projects

Network History

If you wish to get an overview of the history of the network, please read ‘Papa Erasmus’ by F. Martinelli.