Conference Agenda

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Session Overview
351N: Governance of natural heritage in peri-urban open spaces
Wednesday, 24/Apr/2019:
4:15pm - 5:45pm

Session Chair: Marcin Spyra
Session Chair: Christine Fürst
Session Chair: Wei Wei
Session Chair: Luis Inostroza
Session Chair: Janina Kleemann
Location: MB-201
Main Building, room 201, second floor, east wing, 154 (+22) seats
Session Topics:
How do we support transformation?

Session Abstract

Research on urban and rural systems and their interactions is well established. However, it is often ignored that both systems have no strict boundaries, but are connected through a transition peri-urban area (PUA), where settlement takes smoothly place and where still natural ecosystems are abundant. New developments in PUAs encourage the process of more in-depth analyses of parts of these areas to understand their dynamics and particular contribution to biodiversity and ecosystem services. Particularly, peri-urban open spaces (PUOS) are of high interest as they form places of highest land-use conflicts and pressures from urban sprawl. By “PUOS” we understand non-build-up areas, located within PUAs, whose land use does not belong to the following types: urban fabric, industrial, commercial, military, private and transport units and mine, dump and construction sites. Control mechanisms against pressures on PUOS are weak because of their transitional character. In many regions, the natural heritage of PUOS is neither conserved, protected, promoted, nor part of everyday planning practice. Therefore, investments in PUOS tend to be unsustainable over time, and do not address well the real capacities of these areas to contribute to biodiversity conservation and ecosystem services provision. Additionally, policy and planning instruments do not address properly the development of PUOS so that informal settlements and degrading of natural ecosystems take place. The overall objective of this session is the identification of good practices and policy experiences related to the conservation and sustainable development of PUOS. We wish to discuss challenges and opportunities to improve the consideration of PUOS in existing planning instruments. We intend to analyze how planned and unintended development of PUOS are taking place across different world regions and what the implications have been in the past. We intend to explore how future PUOS pattern should be conceived to contribute to a sustainable development. The proposed format of the session will contain two main parts: (1) a theory-based one, where different scholars will present their contributions; (2) a practice-oriented one, the immersive workshop, where World Café and rich picture formats will be used to identify good practices and policy experiences related to the protection of natural heritage in PUOS. The symposium intends to publish either a Special Issue or a synthesis paper to the new Springer Journal Social-Ecological Practice Research (SEPR) Session Organizers: Marcin Spyra, Christine Fürst, Wei-Ning Xiang, Wei Wei, Luis Inostroza, Daniele La Rosa, and Janina Kleemann

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ID: 556 / 351N: 1
351N Governance of natural heritage in peri-urban open spaces (PUOS)
Keywords: planning efficiency, peri-urban areas, governance, nature protection, policy and planning instruments

Effects of planning efficiency for nature protection in peri-urban open spaces

Gaëtan Palka, Anna M. Hersperger, Eduardo Oliveira

WSL, Switzerland

Strategic spatial planning is a prime factor in shaping land change in urban regions. However, most plans, and specifically strategic spatial plans, are never fully implemented, a fact that needs to be considered in land change studies. With “planning efficiency” we refer to the degree a plan is implemented and distinguish the efficiency of an urban region in pursuing nature protection goals and the efficiency in pursuing urban development.

The strategic visions developed in these themes (nature protection and urban development) are rarely sharply defined in terms of spatially explicit borders but often include fuzzy boundaries. Furthermore, the planning strategies in these themes often overlap in peri-urban areas, i.e. expressing conservation as well as urban development strategies at the same location. This situation increases the potential for land use conflicts and unexpected changes and amplifies uncertainty inherent in planning.

We developed four simulation scenarios with the CLUMondo land-change model to assess the effects of different levels of planning efficiency for protecting natural areas and managing urban sprawl (high efficiency built/high efficiency conservation; high efficiency built/low efficiency conservation; low efficiency built/high efficiency conservation; low efficiency built/low efficiency conservation). These scenarios were applied in Lyon(France) since Lyon’s strategic spatial planning is characterized by fuzzy boundaries and overlapping planning strategies. Preliminary results indicate that it is sufficient to be either efficient in managing urban development or efficient in protecting nature i.e. efficient in protecting nature against urban sprawl; efficiency in both themes is not required. Our findings provide a contribution to better understanding and modeling the effect of urban region’s varying capacities in pursuing planning goals.

ID: 312 / 351N: 2
351N Governance of natural heritage in peri-urban open spaces (PUOS)
Keywords: stakeholders' use and perceptions, landscape park, bottom-up approaches, policy guidelines

Integration of perception and usage of peri-urban open spaces in planning documents: (how) can appropriate format of information help?

Vita Žlender, Barbara Goličnik Marušić

Urban Planning Institute of Republic of Slovenia, Slovenia

Peri-urban open spaces (PUOS) of many European cities are experiencing an increasing competition for land, which has been appearing especially for recreational and touristic attractive areas, nature as well as commercial activities in the hinterlands of urban agglomerations. Therefore, planning policies are challenged to balance the needs and expectations of a range of stakeholders. However, in planning documents and development strategies the knowledge of actual usage of peri-urban areas by various user-groups, as well as insights of how they perceive them, is often overlooked. Moreover, two extremes can be observed, on one side, there is complete conservation of specific PUOS whilst, on the other, the planning regulations are lax and therefore the pressure of development results in a fragmented and sprawled landscape. Developing a well-balanced, inclusive and impartial planning process and policy appears to be difficult.

We assume that one of the reasons for low recognition and implementation of various insights addressing usage, perceptions and views on PUOS in planning documents, may be the format of research findings and gained knowledge presented to authorities and planners. Hence, our objective is to get a better understanding of appropriate formats of information obtained through research, as well as effective tools and guidelines to ease the communication between research and practice. The paper will debate these issues in the frame of bottom-up approaches, considering qualitative-, small- and slow-data-oriented methods and techniques (e.g. focus groups, interviews & questionnaires, and observation & behavior mapping). Ljubljansko barje, PUOS, landscape park stretching over seven municipalities in central Slovenia, was a pilot testing site. This area is popular for recreation and tourism of both locals and visitors. The paper will show an attempt how policy guidelines for the governance of these PUOS may be formulated, considering a balanced approach in integrating needs and opinions of different stakeholders.

ID: 714 / 351N: 3
351N Governance of natural heritage in peri-urban open spaces (PUOS)
Keywords: Demographic changes, overaging societies, urban planning, urban green areas

Managing green-urban spaces for the welfare of elderly people in societies opposed to strong demographic changes (Living 4.0)

Christine Fürst1, Jennifer hauck2, Robert Reese1, Marcin Spyra1

1MLU Halle Wittenberg, Germany; 2CoKnow

The overaging of societies poses the challenge how to best integrate elderly people in a living environment which ensures them a long-term self-determined way of life. Such demands can be best fulfilled in urban environments where the supporting infrastructural facilities and availability of health care-services are ensured. Elderly people often appreciate calm and at least semi-private green spaces as an asset ensuring high life quality. The design of such green spaces is often neglected in urban planning. The talk will present insights from a bottom-up processes in designing the green-urban space for providing an appropriate living environment to elderly people.

ID: 427 / 351N: 4
351N Governance of natural heritage in peri-urban open spaces (PUOS)
Keywords: peri-urban landscapes, open spaces, policy instruments, land cover changes, urbanization

Regional policies to better protect natural heritage of peri-urban open spaces: example from European Union

Marcin Spyra, Alina Schürmann

Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg, Germany

Each year in the European Union more than 1,000 km² of land is used for new housing, industry, roads or recreational purposes. About half of this surface is actually “sealed” (European Commission, 2011). Many of those land use changes are related to urbanization processes of the landscapes, but are taking place beyond the administrative boundaries of the cities in the cities fringes or in the extend of functional urban areas (Inostroza et al., 2019). Due to that, the new transitional peri-urban landscapes (PULs), which are joining urban, rural and natural characteristics, emerge (Pior et al., 2011). New developments taking place in the PULs encourages the process of adding new urban functions into different parts of PULs and foster significant investment pressure and diminishing of peri-urban open spaces (PUOS). This unfavorable situation affects the natural heritage of PUOS.

In our research we performed a comparative study of six case studies regions, located in four main parts of the European Union, namely North (Germany – Saxony Anhalt), South (Spain – Basque Country), West (Belgium - Flanders) and East (Hungary - Hajdú-Bihar, Poland – Mazovia and Slovenia – Kranj). In the first part of the study we analyzed land cover changes in those regions, aiming to assess the processes of PUOS diminishing and the expansion of urban fabric into PUOS. In the second part of the study we performed analyze of the policy instruments, which are the binding governance documents in the case study regions at the regional level. Structured interviews were conducted with local experts, working in the field of policy making in the case study regions. With the second step of our analysis we aim to assess the necessary improvements to the policy instruments, aiming to better protect natural heritage of PUOS. Finally the results coming from both steps were compared and critically discussed.

Our study delivers important lessons learned related to the governance of natural heritage in PUOS, which are transferable within and beyond European context.


European Commission (2011). Roadmap to a Resource Efficient Europe, Brussels

Inostroza, L., Hamstead, Z., Spyra, M., & Qhreshi, S. (2019). Beyond urban–rural dichotomies: Measuring urbanisation degrees in central European landscapes using the technomass as an explicit indicator. Ecological Indicators, 96(September 2018), 466–476.

Piorr, A., Ravetz, J., & Tosics, I. (2011). Peri-urbanisation in Europe. Towards European Policies to Sustain Urban-Rural Futures. Retrieved from

ID: 377 / 351N: 5
351N Governance of natural heritage in peri-urban open spaces (PUOS)
Keywords: Landuse degradation, conservation geopark Varkala

STUDY land use change, environmental implications and governance in proposed first national geopark in varkala, kerala

Subhash Anand

University of Delhi, India

Geoparks aims to protect geographical diversity and to promote geological heritage to the general public as well as to support sustainable development of the area, primarily through the development of geo- tourism. The geopark is formulated as a land use with specific objectives of landscape conservation, management, education, research and tourism. India has having huge rich geographical diversity which can provide many geoparks but so far we have not developed any geopark in the country. The Varkala beach has been identified as potential first geopark of the country. Varkala is a well-known tourist destination and is a coastal town situated in the state of Kerala. It is Varkala is located 50 km north-west of Trivandrum city. It covers a total area of 29.62 km².Varkala has a great potential for backwaters, beaches, medical, and pilgrim tourists. This paper aims to study land use change, its environmental implications and geopark development in Varkala. The land use/land cover maps were made to establish the spatial and temporal change in the land use pattern of the study area. The data for the spatial and temporal change was taken from Landsat Satellite Imagery of February 2000 and 2014. The maps were made using Erdas Imagine 10.0 and ArcGIs 9.3 software. The environmental implications were identified with the help of field survey.

Varkala has witnessed great infrastructure since the advent of tourism industry. The study area will cause more tourism that will lead to environmental pollution, land degradation, overcrowding etc. The key issues are rapidly changing land use pattern of the study area over the past 15 years. The maximum land use is under perennial crops with settlements (40 per cent) and built up area (15 per cent). Because of increased tourism activities, the land use pattern is changing very fast. Increased area under urban activities has lead to environmental degradation. The influx of national and international tourist in Varkala has increased which lead to reduced land area under cultivation. Some of the tourist strongly agreed that geopark development will lead to increase tourism that leads to rise in demand of accommodation, restaurant and many other facilities on the cliff which will hamper the natural beauty of the place. The augmented construction on the cliff is responsible for gradual slumping of the cliff. The attraction of important cliff, beaches and several religious spots makes necessary the planning of geographically significant area. Geopark development based on sustainable land use becomes relevant in this scenario for proper management of natural cliff. In order to overcome the problems,there is dire need to for strong policy and planning to conserve and manage the site for sustainble future.

ID: 479 / 351N: 6
351N Governance of natural heritage in peri-urban open spaces (PUOS)
Keywords: Climate adaptation; Ecosystem services; Informal settlements; Participatory action research; Social-ecological systems

Synergies and trade-offs of water-related ecological infrastructure in peri-urban Sub-Saharan Africa

Jessica P. R. Thorn1,2

1University of York, United Kingdom; 2African Climate and Development Initiative, University of Cape Town, South Africa

This paper considers the restoration and rehabilitation of water-related ecological infrastructure in peri-urban settlements in Windhoek, Namibia and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania – among the fastest growing cities in Sub-Saharan, with challenges related to low-lying geography, drought and flooding sewage. Ecological infrastructure, closely associated to the concept of ecosystem-based adaptation, refers to well-functioning ecosystems that provide ecosystem services vital to economies, buffer against extreme climatic events, and reduce the loss of lives, assets and critical infrastructure. Despite a growing interest in how ecological infrastructure can support adaptation, decision makers in humanitarian, conservation, and development sectors continue to act on an insufficient understanding of the socio-economic and environmental synergies and trade-offs of risk reduction pathways. Meanwhile, typically technocratic, large-scale built or “hard” infrastructure programmes continue to be favoured. Here, we employ multi-scalar institutional, regulatory, economic and cultural analysis to understand how ecological infrastructure is or is not considered part of current urban resilience building, and why technical solutions are not being mainstreamed. We further present preliminary results of the impact of ecological infrastructure on ecosystem service supply and well-being in two peri-urban settlements. Results may inform strategies for the everyday planning and management of sustainable, equitable urban transitions.

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