userARL Congress 2024: Major Infrastructure Projects

Call for Papers: ARL Congress 2024: Major infrastructure projects

ARL International ARL International
published on 04/12/2023

ARL Congress 2024: Major infrastructure projects

18-19 April 2024 at the media docks in Lübeck

Planning: between protests and calls to pick up the pace

Major infrastructure projects of (supra-)regional significance are complex and expensive, and expectations for their realization and effectiveness are accordingly high. Such projects include transport routes like railways and motorways, their bridges and tunnels (e.g. the Fehmarn Belt tunnel), and airports. They also include energy production sites, transmission lines like Südlink, or supra-regional projects for water management, waste management, communications, and other sectors.

All of these long-range investments in the future are not only very challenging in terms of their planning, engineering, and construction, but their environmental and social impact also harbours considerable potential for conflict, as projects like Stuttgart 21 have shown. Planning processes aiming for sustainable, integrated spatial development always take place among conflicting interests, cost-benefit considerations, and numerous risk assessments. They are expected to enable participation, to account for environmental and nature protection aspects, to integrate various sectors, and to be legally irreproachable in their processes and outcome. At the same time, there is growing pressure for planning processes to be faster.


Key aspects

  • Sustainability and integrative planning
    • How can major infrastructure projects be designed for sustainability, to minimise negative impacts on people and the environment?
    • How can the consideration of different social, economic, and ecological interests be integrated in spatial planning for major infrastructure?
    • How can gender mainstreaming perspectives be taken into account in major infrastructure projects, and what contribution do they make?
  • Planning law and accelerated planning
    • How can planning processes be sped up while also ensuring integrated planning with a secure legal basis?
    • Is planning by legislation a model for the future of major infrastructure projects in Germany?
    • How can cross-border infrastructure projects be coordinated and planned across different legal and planning systems?
    • How are large infrastructure projects planned and implemented in other countries and planning cultures?
  • Costs, benefits, and risks
    • How should the costs and benefits of infrastructure projects be assessed – beyond mere economic and commercial calculations?
    • How adequately are risk assessments and concerns around protecting the environment and nature taken into account in planning for major infrastructure?
  • Participation and conflicts
    • How can participatory and cooperative planning ensure that the interests and needs of all relevant stakeholders are taken into consideration?
    • Which planning strategies and procedures can help to minimise or resolve conflicts over the aims, interests, and uses associated with large infrastructure projects?


Call for papers

Do you work on the issues surrounding major infrastructure projects, perhaps even with cross-border or international aspects, either as a researcher or as a planning professional? Do you deal with environmental and nature protection issues or the conflicts surrounding accelerated planning and participation?

We invite you to submit an abstract for a paper to be presented at the conference. The ARL Congress facilitates interdisciplinary dialogue between researchers and planning professionals, and welcomes the participation of local and (supra-)regional policymakers and civil society initiatives. We also particularly invite papers from younger researchers. The call for papers is open to all who work in the range of fields addressed by the conference or who deal with key aspects of the questions raised here.

Please submit abstracts to

 kongress@arl-net.de by 15 December 2023.

Abstracts can be in German or English (2,500 characters max excluding spaces) and should include the title of your proposed contribution. Abstracts should clearly relate to at least one of the aforementioned aspects relating to major infrastructure projects.  Your abstract should include your central focus, propositions, and conclusions, and it should have a clear and concise title. In addition to your name, please also indicate your position and institutional affiliation.

The abstracts we receive will undergo a review and selection process. Those invited to present a paper will have their conference registration fee waived and their travel and accommodation expenses reimbursed in accordance with German travel expense regulations (one person per selected paper).

Please address any questions about the call for papers to

Dr. Sebastian Krätzig

the Head of the Spatial Planning and Policy Academic Section at the ARL

Tel. +49 511 34842-52


Dr.-Ing. Martin Sondermann

the Head of the Society and Culture Academic Section at the ARL

Tel. +49 511 34842-23 



Title image: A photo of the Øresund Bridge between Denmark and Sweden, taken from the water at sunrise. The photo has been composed to direct the viewer’s gaze to the architecture of the bridge. © iStock.com/vitomirov