Hanna M Mattila

I am a 2018–2020 Government of Finland/David and Nancy Speer Visiting Professor (Associate Professor) in Finnish Studies at the Department of Geography, Environment and Society and at the Institute for Global Studies. My research interests include planning theory, critical theory, planning law, and comparative perspectives on planning systems & practices. I am visiting the U of M from Aalto University, Finland, where I work in the research group of Spatial planning and transportation engineering. Here in Minnesota, my main goal is to deepen my knowledge on US planning systems and carry out comparative studies on North-American and European planning practices.

Educational Background & Specialties

Educational Background

  • D.Sc. (Tech.): Spatial planning and transportation engineering, Aalto University, Helsinki, Finland.
  • Lic.Sc. (Tech.): Urban and regional planning, Helsinki University of Technology, Helsinki, Finland.
  • M.A.: Humanities, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland.


  • urban planning, policy, and governance
  • urban and regional development
  • planning theory
  • critical theory
  • planning systems
Courses Taught
  • GEOG 3605 Geographic Perspectives on Planning (Fall 2018 and 2019)
  • GEOG 3373 The Changing Form of the City (Spring 2019 and 2020)
  • GEOG 8980 Geographies of Urban Governance (Spring 2020)
  • Habermas revisited: Resurrecting the contested roots of communicative planning theory: Mattila, Hanna, Elsevier, Progress in Planning, 2019. Link
  • Public participation and legitimacy management in planning : A Habermasian perspective to Finnish welfarist planning tradition: Mattila, Hanna, Routledge, Geografiska Annaler, Series B: Human Geography, 100(4) 309-328, 2018.
  • The “Aesthetic Turn” as a Bridge between Communicative and Agonist Planning Theories : Exploring the interplay of “consensus” and “dissensus” with a view on its implications for Finnish planning: Mattila, Hanna, Architectural Research in Finland, 2 94-113, 2018.
  • Integrating Regional Development and Planning into “Spatial Planning” in Finland: The Untapped Potential of the Kainuu Experiment: Mattila, Hanna, Purkarthofer, Eva, HALDUSKULTUUR - ADMINISTRATIVE CULTURE, 18 149-174, 2018.
  • Facing up to Finnish Planning Pathologies: A Contextual Interpretation of Planner Capabilities and a Call for Change. Mattila, Hanna, Kangasoja, Jonna, Routledge, Co-Author, 2018.
  • Balancing between efficiency and sustainability: Discourses on the Finnish land-use planning system. Mattila, Hanna, Kristjansdottir, Sigridur, Routledge, Author, 2017.
  • Can collaborative planning go beyond locally focused notions of the “public interest”?: The potential of Habermas’ concept of “generalizable interest” in pluralist and trans-scalar planning discourses: Mattila, Hanna, Planning Theory, 15 344-365, 2016.
  • The Strategic and Communicative Uses of Architectural Designs in Planning: A Habermasian Perspective on the Case of Guggenheim Helsinki: Mattila, Hanna, DATUTOP, 34 242-270, 2016.