Territorial Planning Systems

TCi believes countries and cities all over the world urgently need to review, reform or even entirely replace their territorial planning systems (TPS). Contemporary TPS should enable sustainable territorial development – with a clear and transparent ambition to achieve more territorial justice for people and the entire planetary ecosystem, along the SDG/NUA recommendations and the 5 qualifiers of the IG-UTP.  Currently, most if not all TPS are unfit to that purpose and need to be fundamentally redressed. In many developing countries this is further compounded by the inheritance of colonial or post-colonial planning systems, typically in favor of vested interests and profits – bearing a high toll on people and ecosystems. More wealthy countries typically have planning systems designed around land-value and cars, not people or a healthy environment.


Therefore TCi wants to engage in research and practical advise on transforming TPS around the world, re-aligning them with the international golden standards in a contextual way – every territory and community needs its own specific approach.


TCi Director Frank D’hondt already contributed on both theoretical and practical level to planning system review as part of his personal UN-Habitat assignment to draft the handbook to apply the IG-UTP. Some of this work and related field experience transpired in the official IG-UTP Hand-booklet,  recently published online by UN-Habitat. Click here to download the booklet.

This initial research was compiled in a series of papers and a Think Piece.

  • A first paper was prepared for the ESPON-COMPASS workshop in March 2018 in Brussels – click to view a) the paper b) the TCi report on that workshop and c) the ESPON-COMPASS conclusions of that workshop. ESPON-COMPASS is by far the largest comparative research on planning systems worldwide – including 37 countries on the European continent. Click here to view the posting on that event.
  • A second paper (abstract) was submitted and accepted to present at ISOCARP’s World Congress 2018 in Bodø, Norway.  The paper will be shared upon final approval by ISOCARP Scientific Committee.
  • A third paper – under the form of a Think Piece – was submitted to the organisers of the upcoming Global Symposium on Urban and Territorial Planning, 31 July/1 August in Fukuoka, Japan – to which TCi Director Frank D’hondt is invited as planning expert, together with other IG-UTP experts, with pre- and post-conference workshops around China (Chengdu, Beijing and Wuhan). This Think Piece proposal includes a rather provocative proposition to develop a dual TPS for a) the urbanized world and b) the human-free other half of the world – following Wilson’s brilliantly simple Half-Earth concept to save the planet from further bio-degeneration. Click here to view the draft Think Piece – comments most welcome!


A centerpiece in the first two papers is the Self-Assessment Questionnaire (SAQ) to get started with the review of any planning systems in any given country or city, using a multi-stakeholder approach to review and come up with reform proposals. TCi would like to further improve that SAQ by testing it on the field and setting up regional and global databases to monitor and evaluate. To that purpose TCi drafted a proposal for an international project on Sustainable Territorial Planning Systems – click here to view and comment. The proposal has been submitted to UN-Habitat that takes it in consideration pending interested funding and research partners to be mobilized. The project leader of ESPON-COMPASS, Prof. Vincent Nadin from T.U. Delft, The Netherlands showed great interest – after the ESPON-COMPASS report was finalized.


In case interested to partner and/or fund the TPS proposal please contact TCi or UN-Habitat.


For more on the theory and praxis of territorial planning systems, go here.