logo copyPlanning for the Possible

Visionary Planning in Québec and New England

March 28th 2014

Visionary thinking was, in many ways, the foundation of the modern city planning profession. Early planners like Burnham, Olmsted, Tugwell, MacKaye, and others used an emerging suite of analytical tools, reasoning, and design to paint exquisite pictures of what the future could hold: plans that the American Planning Association today celebrates as “landmark”. As the profession has evolved and grown, however, planning has become increasingly ensconced within the routine administrative functions of local government. Somewhere in the middle of the 20th century a concern for predictability, risk avoidance, and conservatism impacted the very heart and soul of planning; we went from planning for the possible to planning for the probable. This conference seeks to redirect the momentum of contemporary city planning back toward a creative exploration of what places could be instead of what they are likely to become.

Hosted by the Department of Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning at Tufts University with funding provided by the Government of Québec and the Government of Canada, the Planning for the Possible Conference will be held at Asean Auditorium at Tufts University on Friday, March 28th, 2014. Free tickets are available here, and are on a RSVP basis.


Conference Schedule

1 – 1:20

Vice Provost for Research, Diane Souvaine (Tufts University)

1:20 – 2:00

   Justin Hollander (Tufts University)

Canadian Counsel General, Patrick Binns

  Acting Head of Post for the Québec Government in Boston, Marianne Bonnard

2:00 – 2:45

            Keynote address by Julian Agyeman

2:45 – 3:50

Moderated by Michael P. Johnson, PhD. (UMass Boston),

A Discussion of Growth and Contraction in Québec and New England, Featuring

Jon Witten (Tufts University) – Planning Law in the Northeastern United States and the Province of Québec: Est-ce que les plans complets ont un sens juridique?

Johanne Brochu (Université Laval, Québec) – How to grow and still remain small? A workshop experience in urbanism for rural villages

Justin Hollander (Tufts University) – A Cross-National Comparison of Urban Decline in Québec, Canada and New England, USA.

Penn Loh (Tufts University) – Is a New Economy Possible? Planning for Community Economy in Three Massachusetts Cities

3:50 – 4:20


4:20 – 5:40

Moderated by Heather Boyer, (Island Press),

Visionary Planning and Design in Québec and New England, Featuring

Peter Lowitt (Devens Enterprise Comission) – Devens: Innovation as an Eco Industrial Park

Christine Cousineau and Alan Knight (Tufts University and Université de Montréal) – Urban Highways and Civic Space: Visionary Planning in Boston and Montreal

Ignacio Francisco Campillo (Beaupré et Associés Experts Conseils) – Doing it with less

Nik Luka (McGill University) – In the gutter but looking at the stars: The visionary imperative in contemporary urban design and planning for the Montréal city-region

5:40 – 6:00

  Closing Statements by Rosalind Greenstein


Light Dinner provided in Cabot Mezzanine for all attendees


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