Plan by evidence: targeting territory's talents

Giorgio Amadei, Davide Nicolini

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution book

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underfunded planning budgets, a condition very common in cities of developing countries, suffer disproportionately from the negative social, economic and environmental externalities of uncontrolled/unregulated development and, at the same time, are unable to benefit from their latent potentials. In these contexts, the implementation of planning philosophies and methods from the Western tradition is neither desirable nor suitable as these cannot match needs, priorities, organisational structures, or financial resources. Alternative models are crucially needed to tackle cogent urban issues, including growing population, territorial extension, informal urbanisation, environmental exploitation, among others. This ambitious goal requires a massive effort, whose results on the ground will likely come to fruition in a long-term horizon. At the same time, even in the absence of more structured planning practices, practical tools capable to adapt to the specific context in which they are implemented and streamline decision-making are urgently needed for the sustainable management of urbanisation. To this end, this article presents an approach for the implementation of streamlined, and practical planning tool, based on immediate evidence, specifically tailored for those countries that are lacking in more established strategies for the management of urban development or that are characterized by high-level needs and limited resources. This is based on reading of the territory as an operative instrument for urban planning at meso - and local - scales. It entails the identification, for each element constituting a given territory, of three fundamental aspects: needs, talents and vocation. These, once identified and defined within their social, economic, environmental contexts, provide the concrete evidence onto which to ground small and medium-scale urban interventions. The described method is part of a wider research aiming the urban Integration of IDP camps in Iraq commissioned by UN-Habitat.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAnnual Conference Proceedings of the XXVIII International Seminar on Urban Form
Subtitle of host publication"Urban Form and the Sustainable and Prosperous City"
Place of PublicationGlasgow
Number of pages15
Publication statusPublished - 8 Apr 2022


  • territorial governance
  • IDP camps
  • vocation


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