The Transformative Capacity of Regional Design

  • Lukas GilliardEmail author
  • Fabian Wenner
  • Alain Thierstein
  • Nadia Alaily-Mattar


This chapter discusses how regional design introduces a transformative perspective on spatial development. It argues that regional design complements statutory regional planning within the setting of governance processes and that it represents a new methodology emerging as a reaction to the current political inability to re-scale unfit governance structures, with the objective of more effectively steering the development of metropolises. The proposition of a design exercise at regional scale shifts the discourse from issues of formal governmental reorganisation towards methodologies for imagining alternative spatial futures. It does so by proposing a complementary method for formulating regional plans that is interdisciplinary and design-based, similar to urban design but on a wider spatial scale. Design as a process of synthesising can identify and visualise future regional development challenges and convey the need for spatial interventions. The chapter argues that regional design is, therefore, a problem-solving as well as a problem-finding methodology, which should be impact-oriented and strategic. It should operationalise the inter-scalar, relational notion of space. The product of the regional design exercise should encourage debate rather than present an end solution or a master plan. It is, however, complicated by the multiple knowledge domains involved in this process, as well as by extensive, multi-scalar actor networks, fuzzy responsibilities and complex interrelations.


Planning education Regional planning Regional governance Regional design 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lukas Gilliard
    • 1
    Email author
  • Fabian Wenner
    • 1
  • Alain Thierstein
    • 1
  • Nadia Alaily-Mattar
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Architecture, Chair of Urban DevelopmentTechnical University of MunichMunichGermany

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