Conference Agenda

Overview and details of the sessions of this conference. Please select a date or location to show only sessions at that day or location. Please select a single session for detailed view (with abstracts and downloads if available).

Session Overview
315R: The role of policy and planning in urban land change: conceptualizations and evidence
Friday, 26/Apr/2019:
10:30am - 12:00pm

Session Chair: Anna M Hersperger
Session Chair: Stefan Siedentop
Location: MB-206
Main Building, room 206, second floor, east wing, 56 seats
Session Topics:
How do we support transformation?

Session Abstract

Spatial planning is a holistic process with political, technical and ecological aspects to address the development and design of land use in terms of plan-making as well as plan-implementation in urban regions. It typically engages in a sequence of overlapping steps, i.e. in the analysis of regional context and local situation, evaluation of potential alternatives, deliberation and negotiation of plans and concepts, and ongoing monitoring and evaluation of plan implementation to foster adaptive solutions. Thus, policy and planning is in a prime position to support transformations that mutually reinforce global sustainability visions and goals, and people’s aspirations and needs. However, there is potential to better link the knowledge fields of urban and regional planning with land change science. The objective of this session is to assemble talks that present and discuss novel conceptual and empirical contributions that address the role of policy and planning in urban land change. We encourage papers that assess the transformative capacity of governance processes, examine the content of policy and plans as expressions of envisioned transformations; investigate methods to efficiently collect data to describe and quantify plan implementation processes and outcomes, and address land functions, multifunctionality, density of use and other aspects crucial for understanding urban land change. The session seeks to link researchers in this emerging theme from around the globe and encourage exchange and inspire future cooperation in order to stimulate scientific advancement in terms of understanding land system change related to urban regions. Session Organizers: Anna Hersperger and Stefan Siedentop

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Full talk
ID: 349 / 315R: 1
315R The role of policy and planning in urban land change: conceptualizations and evidence
Keywords: Land use change, Urban spatial development, European cities, European strategies

Is urban spatial development on the right track? Comparing strategies and trends in the European Union

Chiara Cortinovis1,2, Dagmar Haase2,3,4, Bruno Zanon1, Davide Geneletti1

1University of Trento, Italy; 2Humboldt University of Berlin, Germany; 3Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research, Germany; 4Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Sweden

Urban spatial development is a crucial issue for spatial planning and urban governance, ultimately determining cities’ sustainability. While a set of spatial strategies to address urban development are progressively gaining international consensus, their actual applicability is still contested. An interesting test-bed is represented by the European Union (EU), where common spatial strategies have been discussed since 1993. This paper aims to identify the main spatial strategies promoted at the EU-level and to investigate whether the recent spatial development trends of EU cities have been following the directions suggested by the strategies. By analysing 30 policy documents, we identified six main strategies: compact city, urban regeneration, functional mix, no land take, green city, and high density. For each strategy, we selected a set of indicators and applied them to the analysis of 175 cities representative of the variety of conditions across the EU.

Most cities progressed towards compact city and functional mix, but almost none halted land take. Urban regeneration was more intense in Northern and Western cities, while Southern cities show the most significant increase in green spaces. Growing cities achieved a higher density, but expanded inefficiently producing abandonment of urbanized areas and fragmentation of agricultural land. Shrinking cities continued in the paradox of contemporary population loss and expansion already observed by previous studies. The results highlight potential conflicts and trade-offs in the implementation of the strategies. Similar analyses can stimulate comparison, exchange, and cooperation among cities, thus supporting the mainstreaming of non-prescriptive strategies formulated at the international level.

Full talk
ID: 518 / 315R: 2
315R The role of policy and planning in urban land change: conceptualizations and evidence
Keywords: urban land change, governance effectiveness, plan implementation, planning intentionsstrategies

Quantifying the transformative capacity of strategic planning: novel method and evidence from two European urban regions

Anna M Hersperger1, Gaëtan Palka1, Sofia Pagliarin2

1Swiss Federal Research Institute WSL, Switzerland; 2University of Bamberg

Strategic spatial planning is a multifaceted activity and its cornerstone, the plans, are as much communicative tools than roadmaps. However, they rarely are blueprints. Indeed, plans are developed and implemented in a complex context of multiple drivers and actors and unforeseen events that can affect plan content, stall plan implementation or induce new plan-making and implementation trajectories. Consequently, the establishment of direct relationships between plans and urban transformations, i.e. land changes, is conceptually and empirically challenging. There is indeed a clear need for novel approaches to quantify the transformative capacity of strategic planning.

In order to address this need we develop a method based on the decomposition of the planning process with the Analytical Hierarchy Process. For data collection we employ expert-questionnaires. Specifically, we investigate to what degree governance processes of plan-making and -implementation as well as external events facilitate or hinder the implementation of development strategies in terms of 1) transportation infrastructure and built development as well as 2) nature conservation strategies. The method is tested for strategic spatial plans in Lyon, France and Copenhagen, Denmark. We found that strategic spatial planning in Lyon has overall a higher transformative potential than in Copenhagen. The difference is primarily due to the role and power of the regional planning authority. The method can complement traditional case study analysis on the efficiency and performance of planning and has the potential to deliver data on governance for land change modelling.

Full talk
ID: 381 / 315R: 3
315R The role of policy and planning in urban land change: conceptualizations and evidence
Keywords: Regional governance, governance capacity, spatial planning, land use change, policy arrangements

Conceptualizing the regional governance capacity of spatial planning

Nadine Kiessling, Marco Pütz

Eidg. Forschungsanstalt WSL, Switzerland

Spatial Planning is supposed to deal with a number of phenomena including urban sprawl, growth, shrinkage, and conflicting land use interests. Moderating different stakeholders and applying a variety of instruments requires capacities we refer to as governance capacities. Whereas researchers have studied socio-economic influence factors on urban land use change in many different ways, little is known about the features characterizing spatial planning’s governance capacity.

Our paper aims at developing an assessment framework on spatial planning’s regional governance capacity concerning land use change in growing Swiss and German urban-rural regions. The Policy Arrangement Approach (PAA) serves as basis for the framework. We focus on:

1. Current challenges for spatial planning;

2. Actors’ strategic behaviour and interactions;

3. The link between potential governance capacity and governance performance.

We extensively reviewed scholarly literature and interviewed Swiss and German spatial planning experts. We developed a first regional governance capacity framework that serves as a research plan for our case study analysis.

Our assessment framework will be applied and tested in a multiple case study. We selected five cases using the method of difference. We considered “Planungsregionen” in Germany and “Kantone” in Switzerland as adequate spatial units since they all use strategic spatial plans as an intervention instrument. We will apply qualitative and quantitative research and evaluation methods. Based on the empirical evidences drawn from the case study, we will be able to provide a comprehensive regional governance capacity assessment framework.

Our results will help us to understand the role of governance arrangements in spatial planning and their underlying mechanisms and drivers. Especially, it might improve the understanding of the role of actors in spatial planning. Comparing Swiss and German regions will enable planners to learn from other experiences and assess their own practice accordingly.

Full talk
ID: 567 / 315R: 4
315R The role of policy and planning in urban land change: conceptualizations and evidence
Keywords: urban land use change, regional planning, regulatory intensity, content analysis, regression analysis

The influence of regional planning on urban land use development in Germany and Switzerland

Sebastian Eichhorn1, David Pehlke2

1Institut für Landes- und Stadtentwicklungsforschung, Germany; 2Justus-Liebig-Universität Gießen, Institut für Geografie, Bereich für Raumplanung und Stadtgeografie, Germany

Land use management is traditionally seen as one of the core tasks of regional planning. In the debate on preventive climate protection and climate adaptation, questions concerning spatial land use management have recently attracted increased attention.

The possible impacts of regional planning are nonetheless not uncontroversial in Germany and Switzerland, as also in other Western industrial countries. On the one hand, the efficacy of regional planning is largely denied, or at least the weak implementation of regional planning goals criticized. On the other hand, regional planning is frequently censured for hindering growth and regional development by applying overly stringent regulations.

This controversy, which is also political in nature, represents the starting point of the research project “The influence of regional planning on urban land use development in Germany and Switzerland”. The goal is to undertake a bi-national comparison of two federal countries in order to investigate urban land use changes and the actual impact of regional planning on urban land use development.

Therefore, we develop a multidimensional score to capture the regulatory intensity of every planning region in Germany and every canton in Suisse. By using content analysis, we identify the main positive and negative planning instruments used and their strength to influence local growth management on residential, commercial and retail urban land use change. To validate the influence of these instruments, we overlay the score for regulatory intensity with the actual spatial development in the respective region and calculate multivariate regression models to prove the influence statistically.

At the session, we would like to present interim results of our research project to describe our methodological approach to operationalize regulatory intensity of regional planning and discuss its influence and effectiveness on urban land use change in Germany and Switzerland.

Full talk
ID: 851 / 315R: 5
315R The role of policy and planning in urban land change: conceptualizations and evidence
Keywords: policy instruments, urbanization, built-up development trends, policy coordination

Planning for urban built-up development at national level: linking policy and patterns in Romania

Simona R. Gradinaru1,2, Peilei Fan2, Cristian Ioja1, Mihai Nita1, Anna Hersperger3

1University of Bucharest, Romania; 2Michigan State University, CGCEO, USA; 3Swiss Federal Research Institute WSL, Switzerland

Globally, urban built-up development is taking place at unprecedented rates. Despite being a pressing issue, countries are not always successful in influencing the patterns and trends of urban built-up. Literature reveals several causes including economic events that made urban built-up expansion trends unexpected, influences by the local market forces, ineffective methods for forecasting population and land use and low efficiency of spatial planning and policies. Patterns of built-up development prove difficult to predict and guide especially if countries undergo major political and institutional changes.

To better understand its trends and propose realistic solutions to mitigate and limit its negative effects, recent research in the land science and spatial planning communities suggest for urban development assessments to move beyond the local level and address built-up development at broader scales, from regional to global. Moreover, more research is needed to understand how planning and policy play a role in guiding specific urban land changes.

By building on the experience of Romania, we aim to provide a better understanding of how policy and planning, particularly the one conducted at national level, plays a role in urban land change. Our analysis focuses on the past 26 years in order to provide a comprehensive view of urban development in the context of political, economic and institutional changes (e.g. EU membership, economic crisis). To fulfill the research aim, we first (1) identify built-up dynamics patterns and trends over time by conducting a spatio-temporal cluster analysis. This analysis reveals locations of continuous or sporadic built-up development. Secondly, we (2) select and conduct a content analysis of the most important policy instruments adopted at national, in order to evaluate the level of policy coordination on urban development. By paying attention to the political and institutional context in which the policy instruments were adopted, we assess their direct or potential impact on built-up development. Finally, we (3) analyze the connection between identified built-up development patterns and the objectives set in the policy instruments.

Findings reveal that the way urban development has been addressed at national changed over time, being influenced by the accession to the European Union, the increasing diversity of planning instruments to address urban development, and by the multiple actors entering the decision-making arena. The spatial analysis revealed shifts in built-up development patterns and locations, as well as in the dominant land functions. Results show that urban built-up development was influenced by the economic factors (e.g. remittances), policy instruments directly linked to funding (e.g. EU programmes), objectives on major transportation routes and the transfer of decision-making power from national to lower planning levels.

Our analysis contributes to a better understanding of drivers of urban land change and their dynamic influence over longer time periods.

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