Advancing Education for Planning Professionals in Estonia—Between New Qualities and Path-Dependency

Authors: Antti Roose, Garri Raagmaa and Pille Metspalu

Type of publication: Book chapter

The chapter examines the factors and drivers influencing planning-related university programs in Estonia. In recent years, both the planning system and academia have been coping with high levels of societal dynamism and transition associated with the assertion of national independence in 1991, while seeking to overcome path-dependencies and to capture and implement innovative planning approaches. A shift from land use to strategic spatial planning requires the introduction of a new knowledge set in respect to balanced interdisciplinary and specialized directions. Results from a survey of planning practitioners illustrate the need for qualified planners, and upskilling of current practitioners who lack of competencies for contemporary planning approaches. Although in the 2000s, the number of quasi-planning degree programs reached a peak at 20 planning-related programs in six universities, the educational provision in the country lacks diversity and remains mostly limited to programs rooted in environmental and engineering disciplines. An alternative model for a cross-university joint planning program advancing the diversity of current programs, widening the array of subjects and depth of scholarship to enhance future qualities of the planning profession for a small European country could not be implemented thus far. However, as a major positive shift in professional advancement, setting professional codes and certification for spatial planners serves as post-curriculum standardization and harmonization of knowledge and skills, as well strengthening planners’ position in the Estonian planning scene.

Roose A., Raagmaa G., Metspalu P. (2018) Advancing Education for Planning Professionals in Estonia—Between New Qualities and Path-Dependency. In: Frank A., Silver C. (eds) Urban Planning Education. The Urban Book Series. Springer, Cham
DOI 10.1007/978-3-319-55967-4_13