Ethics in planning

- with a particular focus on sustainability and energy planning

Description: Ethical questions are basic ingredients in planning: What are the ultimate goals of the planning process? Which short-term and long-term considerations ought to be included? How should alternative goods and consequences be weighted against each other? Should individuals' needs and aspirations be treated equally in spite of differences in culture or in their position in time and place? By whom and how should weightings be made? Who should be involved in the decision making process? Etc.

Despite such obvious thematic convergences, ethics and planning discourses are not very often combined explicitly. Typically, ethics work as an underlying thematic stream running through the planning process, and ethical issues are often dealt with under different headings, mainly because they have often already been partly encoded in rules and laws, methodologies and procedures, habits and practices.

In this course, however, a direct focus is put on the presence – and importance – of ethical considerations in planning. The general purpose is to make the participants aware of the ethical elements and considerations involved in planning processes, in order to be able to deal with them more explicitly. This need to be aware of, and to deal explicitly with, the ethical elements becomes particularly important in cases, where rules, procedures and practices are under transition.

The need for transition is substantial of the case, which the course puts a special emphasis on: the question of sustainability in energy planning. This is an area where ethical questions play extremely important roles in planning and decision-making processes on all levels, from individual actions to the global agreements.

The course is organised around four themes. The first theme is the general one of the role of ethics in planning. Second theme is the ethics of global warming, including the questions of equity across generations and across nations. A third theme consists in the relation between ethics, economics and planning. The fourth theme concerns the relation of energy planning to biodiversity and non-human organism, e.g. in relation to use of biomass.

The course is organised in collaboration with Aalborg University's Centre of Applied Ethics.

Organizer: Finn Arler


Time: 30 September to 1 October 2014

Place: Aalborg University, Badehusvej 13, Auditorium 1

Zip code: 9000

City: Aalborg

Number of seats: 120

Deadline: 15 September 2014


September 30

09.00 Finn Arler (Aalborg University): Intro about climate justice

10.15 Simon Caney (Oxford University): A human rights approach to climate justice

11.30 Kristian Høyer Toft (Aalborg University): Assessing the human rights approach to climate justice

12.30 Lunch

13.15 Discussions on selected themes related to climate justice

October 1

09.00 Lukas Meyer (University of Graz): Climate justice – a historical responsibility approach

10.15 John O’Neill (Manchester University): Markets and planning

11.30 Frede Hvelplund (Aalborg University): Markets and planning in the energy sector

12.30 Lunch

13.15 Discussions on selected themes related to climate justice, markets and planning

There will be a second section of the ph.d. course later in the fall. The topic will be ethics in Danish energy planning. The date of this section will be informed soon.