Models, Mobilities and Mutation: Reconceptualising the Form of Travelling Urban Policy and Planning Ideas

Short paper session at the Royal Geographical Society-Institute of British Geographers’ annual conference (Wednesday 28th to Friday 30th August 2013 in London).


Elizabeth Rapoport (, University College London and Astrid Wood (, University College London


The recent policy mobilities approach has substantially enhanced our understanding of the way in which urban policies, models and strategies circulate. However, to date, there has been a lack of focus on the features of what circulates. This session aims to address this gap in the literature by creating a forum for a critical discussion on two interrelated themes: the characteristics of circulating policies, models and strategies, and the impact of these characteristics on their mutability and mobility. The session will address the lack of consistency in describing what exactly is moving, where terms such as “policy” and “model” are used, sometimes interchangeably, without being clearly defined. The potential differences between an urban policy such as workfare and a normative, prescriptive model of urban planning such as new urbanism need to be explored. In addition, the session will explore reasons for the lack of agreement in the literature about the way in which traveling policies and models are shaped and influenced by their travels. Contributions should focus on these two themes, and explore one or more of the following questions. What types of policies, models and strategies circulate? Are there important differences between the types of ideas circulating? What are the implications of these variations? How and to what extent do circulating ideas mutate through the circulation process?

Details of the venue, speakers and their abstracts are available here.