Addressing fuzzy responsibilities with informal, flexible instruments: landscape parks and regional planning (DRAFT – not to be cited)

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Green belts, smart growth or minimum residential densities have been some of the planning policies and instruments employed to reduce low-density, fragmented urbanisation that is generally deemed unsustainable. However, success of such tools in metropolitan, geopolitically fragmented areas involving many different municipalities is often hampered by a combination of lack of political will and diffuse (or fuzzy ) responsibilities in multi-actor settings. Indeed many traditional planning instruments are inadequate at regional scales. This paper reviews the emerging concept of regional landscape parks in various European countries as a mostly informal instrument that nevertheless can shape settlement patterns at regional scale in multi-actor governance settings. While drawing on several examples throughout Europe the Stuttgart Region s Landscape Park is used as m study. The development of the landscape park is not a legally required activity within the planning system, yet there is evidence that the voluntary leadership of the regional planning association in developing the Regional Landscape Park complements traditional landscape management and nature preservation instruments. The policy language actively broadens the discourse around landscape conservation and urban development to supersede the traditional distinctions of urban and natural areas. This allows for the inclusion of economic, social, environmental and cultural arguments in decision making regarding landscape, land use and nature protection. The analysis suggests that by drawing flexibly on ideas and concepts from different disciplines a wide range of actors and agencies can proclaim benefit and in turn assume responsibility to help build a productive, healthy, and ecologically valuable urban regional landscape.
Book of proceedings: Annual AESOP Congress, Definite Space – Fuzzy Responsibility, Prague, 13-16th July, 2015
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