IPHS Book Prizes

IPHS offers three book prizes at the Society’s biennial conference. Nominations for the IPHS book prizes are invited from scholars and from publishers for books (in English) published in the two calendar years before the conference.

IPHS First Book Prize: The First Book Prize is for the most innovative book in planning history, written in English and based on original new research. Books must have been published in the previous two calendar years to the conference (2020-2021). They may be written individually or joint-authored. The recipient receives a monetary award of $250US and a certificate.

 IPHS Second Book Prize: The Second Book Prize is for the best book written in English and related to the planning history of the country/region where the IPHS-2022 conference is hosted, in this case Russia, and published in the previous two calendar years (2020-2021). Books may be written individually or joint-authored. The recipient receives a monetary award of $250US and a certificate.

IPHS Third Book Prize: The Third Book Prize is for the best planning history edited work or anthology written in English. Books must have been published in the previous two calendar years to the conference (2020-2021). Reprints and ‘readers’ are ineligible. The recipient receives a monetary award of $250US and a certificate. The prize goes to the editor. Where there is more than one editor, the prize is shared.

Nomination requirements

The requirements are the same for each of the three book prizes:

  1. a 400-word statement

  2. short CV(s) of the author(s)/editor(s)

  3. five (5) copies of the nominated book (non-returnable)

Book Prize Committee

  • Chair: Professor Filippo De Pieri, Politecnico di Torino

  • Professor Cânâ Bilsel, METU Ankara

  • Professor Denis Bocquet, ENSA Strasbourg

  • Associate Professor Sonja Dümpelmann, University of Pennsylvania

  • Professor Duanfang Lu, University of Sydney

The nomination statement and CV(s) should be sent electronically to the book committee chair Professor Filippo De Pieri (e: filippo.depieri@polito.it)

One hard copy of the book should be posted to each of the committee members at the following addresses:

  • Filippo De Pieri, Politecnico di Torino, Department of Architecture and Design, Viale Mattioli 39, 10125, Torino, Italy;

  • Cânâ Bilsel, METU Department of Architecture, Orta Doğu Teknik Üniversitesi, Üniversiteler Mah., Dumlupınar Bulvarı, No:1, 06800, Ankara, Turkey;

  • Denis Bocquet, École nationale supérieure d’architecture de Strasbourg, 6-8 boulevard du Président Wilson, BP 10037, F-67068 Strasbourg Cedex, France;

  • Sonja Dümpelmann, University of Pennsylvania, Department of Landscape Architecture, 102 Meyerson Hall, 210 South 34th Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA;

  • Duanfang Lu, The University of Sydney, School of Architecture, Design and Planning, G04, Wilkinson Building, 148 City Road, NSW 2006, Sydney, Australia.

The deadline for receipt of nominations for each of the IPHS Book Prizes is 15 December 2021.

Awarded books


First prize:

Hou Li, Building for Oil. Daqing and the Formation of the Chinese Socialist State (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Asia Center, 2018).

Involving and innovative, Hou Li’s book Building for Oil deals with China’s industrialization under Maoism and the building of a socialist model city. It provides a unique grassroots perspective of the Great Leap Forward, Cultural Revolution, and the processes involved in the development of the Daqing Oil Field, and associated settlements. The author writes in a double register (personal and historical) of the city’s building, using a female planner’s oral account and official documentation, describes the complex planning processes of the sixties – seldom studied either at home or abroad – having a total command and often intimate perspective of the topic. “My purpose is”, she writes “to show how communist ideology, political conflicts, urban planning discipline, and popular attitudes were all articulated in the creation of the model city of Daqing, as lived and experienced on a daily basis and as a political entity – a space of control and coercion but also of dissidence and contestation.” Strong in its sources, rigorous and critical in its methodology, with a narrative gaining texture from the personal feelings of the female planner’s account “representing the true interests of the workers and peasants” the book offers a unique version of building a socialist city rooted as the author says on “vivid and contradictory memories.” “The tensions of life, the conflicts between collective and individual interests, the distance between the urban and the rural and between ideal and the reality (that) exhausted both the people and the land” are the real protagonists of Hou Li’s book aiming to “help readers understand China and […] contemporary Chinese value their own past and think more cautiously about their future.”

Second prize:

Not announced.

Third prize:

Mary Corbin Sies, Isabelle Gournay and Robert Freestone (eds), Iconic Planned Communities and the Challenge of Change (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2019).

Dealing with 23 iconic planned communities, built in six continents from the early nineteenth to the late twentieth centuries, the book addresses the issue of how visionary spirit comes to terms with reality and the challenges of change. Fascinating in its historic scope and drawing on the broad interdisciplinary perspective of the 25 prominent authors involved, the book not only encourages comparative analysis but also argues that in the future the cross-fertilization of the strategies deployed by single cases may contribute to achieve ongoing liveability and resilience, thus sustaining these planning legacies.

Although the third book prize is awarded to the editors, we would like to remember on this occasion the beautiful and inspiring contribution of Sandra Annunziata to this book on the history and gentrification of the Roman neighbourhood, Garbatella. An outstanding academic and dedicated researcher Sandra passed away suddenly last year. She was a young, uncompromising, and immensely talented scholar, who served as a reference for a whole generation of urban researchers in Italy.


First prize:

Sonne, Wolfgang (2017) Urbanity and Density in 20th-Century Urban Design. Berlin: DOM.

‘This book introduces’ as the author writes, ‘a new narrative to 20th-century urban design history: Instead of focusing again on the functionalist and avant-garde models of the dissolution of the city, it presents projects whose goal was the ideal of a dense and urbane city. This contradicts two historiographic commonplaces: firstly, that modern urban design generally intended to dissolve the city, and secondly, that the history of urban design in the 20th century is demarcated by two breaks – from the ‘traditional’ to the ‘modern’ and then to ‘postmodern’ city.’ Sonne’s book is extraordinary, beautifully produced and breathtaking in its scope. It outweighs all the other competitors. It is firmly situated in a recognizable European tradition of book writing, reminding of Werner Hegemann’s and Elbert Peets’ The American Vitruvius: An Architects’ Handbook of Civic Art, and is the outcome of a patient accumulation of examples of dense urban design in Europe and North America throughout the 20th century. Through its comparative and analytical approach Sonne’s book, as a mature piece of work having a deeply pondered familiarity with the conventional historiographies, introduces a new, innovative perspective in Western planning history, by bringing to the foreground a topic that is no doubt highly relevant for contemporary urban design practice, as well. In fact, as the author puts it ‘the book’s new evaluation of modern urban design history creates opportunities for current planning by offering best-practice examples which better reflect the striving for urbanity and density’. (Dr Heleni Porfyriou, Chair of the Book Prizes Committee)

Second prize:

Chang, Jiat-Hwee (2016) A Genealogy of Tropical Architecture: Colonial Networks, Nature and Technoscience, NY: Routledge.

This book is a solid piece of planning history focused on Singapore, challenging the normative definition of tropical architecture through a genealogical approach, heavily indebted to the writings of Michel Foucault. As the author argues, tropical architecture exists within a constantly changing field defined by colonial and postcolonial power relations. Drawing on the interdisciplinary scholarships on postcolonial studies, science studies, and environmental history, and situating its case studies, drawn out of Singapore, in the context of the largest British colonial networks, the author offers a new historical framework particularly important for contemporary planning concerned with climatic design and sustainability. (Dr Heleni Porfyriou, Chair of the Book Prizes Committee)

Third prize:

Haselsberger, Beatrix, ed. (2017) Encounters in Planning Thought. 16 Autobiographical Essays from Key Thinkers in Spatial Planning. New York and London: Routledge.

‘The book unpacks’, as the editor writes, ‘the secrets of how and why sixteen distinguished spatial planners with an average age of 75 built their ideas over the last five to six decades’. Considering that this was an extraordinary generation of thinkers, the book offers a major contribution to planning history and theory. Utterly fascinating, it makes for a compelling read, while it provides significant insights into each of these planners’ ideas, lives, and work. It will be a classic. It is already being used to teach graduate planning theory classes. The credit for this outcome goes in part also to the editor, who probably did an excellent subterranean work in ensuring the cohesion and the readability of the whole. (Dr Heleni Porfyriou, Chair of the Book Prizes Committee)


First prize:

Gandy, Mathhew (2014) The Fabric of Space: Water, Modernity, and the Urban Imagination. MIT Press.

Second prize:

Cupers, Kenny (2014) The Social Project: Housing Postwar France. University of Minnesota Press.

Third prize:

Bloom, Nicholas Dagen; Umbach, Fritz and Vale, Lawrence J (eds) (2015) Public Housing Myths: Perception, Reality, and Social Policy. Cornell University Press.


First prize:

Salewski, Christian (2013) Dutch New Worlds. Nai010, Rotterdam.

Second prize:

Basmajan, Carlton Wade (2013) Atlanta Unbound. Enabling Sprawl Through Policy and Planning. Temple University Press, Philadelphia.

Vale, Lawrence J. (2013) Purging the Poorest – Public Housing and the Design Politics of Twice-cleared Communities. The University of Chicago Press, Chicago and London.



Special prize for an outstanding publication on planning history written in 2010-2012:

Freestone, Robert (2010) Urban Nation: Australia’s Planning Heritage. CSIRO Publishing, Collingwood (in association with the Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts, and the Australian Heritage Council).


Best book on planning history written in 2009-2010:

Angotti, Tom (2008) New York for Sale: Community Planning Confronts Global Real Estate. The MIT Press, Cambridge.

Best book on Middle Eastern planning history written in 2009-2010:

Elsheshtawy, Yasser (2008) The Evolving Arab City: Tradition, Modernity and Urban Development. Routledge, London.


Best book on planning history written in 2007-2008:

Bogart, Michele H. (2006) The Politics of Urban Beauty: New York and its Art Commission. The University of Chicago Press, Chicago and London.

Best book on Mediterranean planning history:

Fuller, Mia (2007) Moderns Abroad. Architecture, Cities and Italian Imperialism. Routledge, London and New York.



Best book on planning history written in 2004-2005:

Broudehoux, Anne Marie (2004) The Making of Post-Mao Beijing. Routledge, London.

Best book on South Asian planning history written in 2004-2005:

Hosagar, Jyoti (2005) Indigenous Modernities: Negotiating Architecture and Urbanism. Routledge, London.



Best book on planning history written in 2001-2003:

Sorensen, André (2002) The Making of Urban Japan: Cities and Planning from Edo to the Twenty First Century. Routledge, London.

Best book on Spanish and/or Latin American planning history written in 2001-2003:

Almandoz, Arturo (2002) Planning Latin American Capital Cities 1850-1950. Routledge, London.