Call for Abstracts: (Im)Possibility of Participation

ARL International ARL International
published on 23/02/2023

Diverse actors have always shaped the city through their cooperation, their possibilities for action, needs and interests. Under which circumstances a city is developed – spatially and socially, with and without requests or invitations – is regularly the subject of debate. This is accompanied by new understandings of roles and responsibilities, which can be classified as long-term changes: a shift in the state’s power towards private and civil society actors and an increasing fragmentation of society, which is also manifested in socio-spatial terms. Enabling participation [Teilhabe] 1 in society to all people is a central political concern. This includes access to services of general interest, accessibility and appropriation of public spaces as well as their design through individual contribution. The precondition for participation is equal opportunity for everyone in the just city (New Leipzig Charter 2020). Apart from interest, getting involved requires resources, which are unevenly distributed.

In this issue, pNd – rethinking planning will look at the limits of participation. In particular, we want to focus on urban development processes that are not exemplary – success stories have already been sufficiently told. We therefore extend an invitation to exchange ideas in an international and interdisciplinary context about the (im)possibilities and limits of participation [Teilhabe] in urban development and its associated processes. Pointing out and naming these can help to stimulate learning processes and to understand failure as a gain. The New Leipzig Charter places the concept of co-creation alongside that of participation. The question rises, how far a future-oriented paradigm shift is taking place or whether tension fields and dilemmas familiar from participation processes will continue. The assessment and highlighting of challenges and barriers can contribute to sharpening awareness of the limits of involvement and participation [Teilhabe] and directing attention to new possibilities and open processes.

In order to expand the understanding of potential impact and learning, we are particularly pleased about:

  • Theoretical classifications from different inter-/national perspectives by inter- or transdisciplinary teams of authors, who discuss limits of involvement and participation against the background of research status of various scientific disciplines;  
  • Criticism around practice, which outlines the limits of participation promises and/ or the (im)possibility of participation as well as suggestions for handling them.

The call is kept open and addressed to a broad scientific and non-scientific field. In addition to planning disciplines, these include: political and social sciences, audience research, social work, administration and law, policy research, transformative and transformation research. Articles should generally combine several of these perspectives. Comparisons that include different institutional and political contexts are also welcome.

Submission Guidelines 1/2024

Interested authors are invited to submit an abstract with 1500 characters (including spaces) by 15th March 2023 to

It is possible to conduct a double-blind peer review. If you are interested, please let us know when submitting the abstract. If questions occur, please contact the editors directly.


  • Abstract submission until 15th March 2023.
  • Accepted submissions will be notified by 15th April 2023.
  • Finished articles are to be submitted by 15th July 2023.
  • Initial reviews will be provided to authors in autumn 2023.
  • The editorial revisions, layout, and proofreading will take place during winter 2023.
  • Publication is planned for spring 2024. We would like to share some notes on requirements for the manuscript in advance.


Contributions for pNd 1/2024 should:


  • not exceed 35,000 characters nor go below a minimum of 12,000 characters (including spaces);
  • be written in English or German;
  • include references such as scientific sources, or supplementary information in the case of field reports;
  • include visual material such as images or graphs;
  • include an abstract of 1000 characters;
  • a short biography of the author(s) (300 characters, including spaces).

Detailed authors guidelines will be sent to the authors with notification of accepted submissions.

Publisher and Editor

The Chair of Planning Theory and Urban Development RWTH Aachen University publishes the journal pNd – rethinking planning. The issue 1/2024 is published and edited by Nina Berding, Katharina Frieling and Moritz Maikämper.



1The English term participation is often equated with Beteiligung in German, which can have two meanings: to involve someone (e.g. in decision making) or to participate actively in something (invited or not). The term Teilhabe emphasizes the possibility of gaining access to something – which does not require activity. English terms such as social, cultural, political and public participation overlap these two terms. Submissions should acknowledge this variety, but are welcome to focus on specific perspectives.