Early career planning scholars face a continual dilemma of trying to both fit into their ‘scientific community’ but also to find exciting new ideas and use their determination and optimism to produce a substantial work which can help that scientific community to evolve. In short, the future of our ‘scientific world’ lies in the hands of our young planning scholars of today – the professors and researchers of tomorrow! The difficulty facing the discipline of planning – or any other discipline – is the question of how to unite mature wisdom and youthful vigour or in other words how to unite the people representing these two perspectives. It is therefore that the Encounters in Planning Thought project seeks to create several inter-generational activities and platforms, which provide young planning scholars with the possibility to actively engage with highly respected planners of the first generation.
Different generations of planning scholars inevitably face different issues and urgencies, due to an ever changing world. For young planning scholars, who build their expertise also through the accurate exploration of past planning successes and failures, it is not always easy to understand if and how established planning ideas and approaches are relevant for the challenges they face in contemporary planning. The Encounters in Planning Thought project offers a unique possibility to explore this relevance. A select group of early career planning scholars was invited to engage in both formal and informal conversations with first-generation planners. The early career planners used this occasion to pose direct questions to the first-generation of planners on the contemporary relevance of past lessons starting from their own experience. These inter-generational dialogues succeeded to facilitate the exchange between consolidated planning knowledge and crucial contemporary issues.