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Dear PLPR Members,

This is our official spring newsletter for the International Academic Association on Planning, Law, and Property Rights. The purpose of the newsletter is to provide a quick summary of events and other news items for the PLPR membership.

PLPR 2016 Bern – A Great Success!

Prof. Jean-David Gerber, Andreas Hengstermann, and their team from the Institute of Geography, University of Bern, hosted the tenth annual PLPR conference on 17-19 February 2016. Some 160 attendees participated, including 38 Ph.D. students. Participants came from 39 different countries, representing all continents, with the largest contingents coming from Switzerland (23), the Netherlands (17), the United States (17), and Israel (11). Participants gave 114 separate presentations across 28 thematic sessions in four tracks, including special sessions on:
  • Impacts of EU legislation on planning;
  • Land and property markets under stress;
  • Negotiated developer obligations;
  • Instruments of land policy to address land scarcity; and
  • Property rights under changing environmental conditions.
In addition to these sessions, we enjoyed four keynote speeches, two roundtables, and a full-day Ph.D. workshop prior to the conference proper (including 19 participants in three groups mentored by experienced PLPR members), as well as two excursions in Bern on land policy and housing policy.

In keeping with the robust tradition PLPR has established, the conference was a great success, and we wish to extend hearty thanks once again to our hosts from the University of Bern for their exceptional efforts.

Click here for photos from the conference.

New Executive Committee

At the end of the PLPR 2016 Bern conference, in keeping with the PLPR governing statutes (available here), the PLPR membership elected a new Executive Committee. Newly elected officeholders, each serving for two years, include:  In addition, appointed members of the executive committee include:
  • North American representative: Eran Kaplinski, University of Edmonton, Canada
  • Pacific Rim representative: John Sheehan, UTS, Sydney, Australia
  • AESOP PLPR theme group leader: Leonie Janssen-Jansen, Wageningen University, The Netherlands
  • Past PLPR conference host: Jean-David Gerber, University of Bern
  • Upcoming PLPR conference host: Chris Webster, University of Hong Kong
Links to home web pages for these officeholders, as well as the names and affiliations of past officeholders, can be found here.

PLPR track at World Planning School Congress in Brazil, 2016

Every year, the Association of European Schools of Planning (AESOP) integrates a PLPR-related track in their annual congresses. This year, AESOP is joining in the World Planning Schools Conference. The PLPR track is titled this year  "Planning Law, Administration and Processes" and is chaired by Benny Schvarsberg, University of Brasília (Brazil), Rachelle Alterman (Technion,Israel) and Dawn Jourdan, University of Oklahoma (USA). Rachelle Alterman is the founding president or PLPR and the track should be of interest to all PLPR academics who attend this congress.  This year the track had about 60 submissions and very interesting abstracts.

PLPR 2017 Hong Kong - Plans are Under Way

The PLPR conference for 2017 will be held in Hong Kong at the University of Hong Kong, hosted by Dean of the Faculty of Architecture, Chris Webster, with the assistance of Dr. Lennon Choy. The conference dates will be from 19-24 February 2017. The call for papers will be announced later this coming summer, following the same timeline as for conferences past.
Updates can be found at:

A number of our colleagues from the Pacific Rim are currently organizing events that will be of interest to PLPR members, including events timed to meet just before and/or after the Hong Kong conference. Announcements will be forthcoming through the PLPR listserv.

PLPR 2018 Announced: Novi Sad

The Executive Committee is delighted to announce that we have accepted the proposal put forward by the University of Novi Sad, Serbia, to host the annual PLPR conference for 2018.
The theme of the conference will be “Migrations—Impacts, Law and Spatial Planning,” and it will be hosted in cooperation with the University of Trieste, Italy. All conference events will be held on the central campus of the University of Novi Sad, with anticipated conference dates in February 2018. The lead conference host will be Prof. Dušan Nikolić, Rector of the University of Novi Sad.

Our many thanks to Prof. Dušan Nikolić and his colleagues for putting together a wonderful conference proposal for 2018.

The Executive Committee would like to secure commitments for conference hosts for the 2019 conference and, if possible, 2020. In keeping with our practice, a conference location in North America for 2019, followed by a location in Europe for 2020, would be ideal. Please contact any of the ExCo members if you would like to explore the possibility of hosting a future conference.

Some Housekeeping Announcements

The newly elected Executive Committee represents the fifth ExCo for PLPR since its inception. While some overlap in membership of the committee exists, we are now experiencing the challenges of managing transitions for new members and rapidly changing communications technologies. We are currently working on a revision of our website to update the platform and the content. If you have suggestions for the content, please contact us. Most of these transitions will be seamless and will not affect PLPR member’s interaction with the association.

One transition recently made, about which you should have already been notified, involved shifting the email platform we are using from a host managed by the TU Dortmund to a Google Groups platform. This transition was made because of the ease of using Google Groups, especially for the purpose of transitioning management of the listserv, and because of the widespread use of the platform. We have consulted experts and have been assured the the Google platform is secure and suitable for our purposes.  To send an email to all members, simply email
That’s all the news we have to share for now. Please do not hesitate to contact any member of the ExCo if you have requests or questions, and please don’t hesitate to share news and announcements of potential interest to PLPR members through the association’s listserv.
Best wishes to you for a relaxing (but productive) summer. Please be on the lookout for follow-on messages regarding the Hong Kong conference.
We hope to see you in Hong Kong in 2017!

Best wishes,
The Executive Committee
Dick Norton,
Thomas Hartmann,
Cygal Pellach, and
Andreas Hengstermann

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International Academic Association on Planning, Law, and Property Rights · Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning, University of Michigan · 2000 Bonisteel Blvd. · Ann Arbor, MI 48109-2069 · USA

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