Recommendations research assessment 2021 Landscape Architecture and Spatial Planning (LSP)

Executive summary

The committee finds that the cluster Landscape Architecture and Spatial Planning (LSP) has a well-articulated and unique mission. The cluster’s transdisciplinary approach is well-timed and essential in order to deal with the urgent challenges to land use and landscape architecture. Development of innovative concepts and methods concerning landscapes is currently in high demand, both from the scientific and the policy communities. It is often advocated but hardly ever accomplished. The research quality of the LSP cluster has improved significantly in the past couple of years, and it has grown significantly both in number of staff and in number of publications. The LSP cluster puts a strong emphasis on transdisciplinary projects, with broad participation of citizens, local authorities, politicians, NGOs, farmers and other local commercial parties; it embraces the cooperation of academia, government, companies and civil society. The committee finds these practices exemplary. The remarkable success in recent years suggests an open and collaborative environment. The LSP cluster is a diverse community in terms of gender as well as age, nationality and scientific background. This diversity is essential for fulfilling its complex tasks. The cluster is therefore in an excellent position to do innovative and internationally highly visible research. The committee fully agrees with the cluster that after this recent renaissance it is now time to consolidate, identify its unique selling points and develop new strategies to reach its goals.

Main Recommendations

  • Take a step back; analyze ongoing processes and networks carefully, as a base for identifying your unique selling points, setting priorities and selecting a few key opportunities to maximize societal impact.
  • Put special funding mechanisms in place to stimulate collaboration across clusters, share best practices on how to do interdisciplinary research, organise seminars and institute advisory roles to stimulate interdisciplinarity in research projects.
  • Consider collaborating with other research clusters within WIMEK, such as CWS and Soil, that both adopt a landscape approach in some research lines.
  • Take up leadership in defining new collaborative research lines, as knowledge integrators and process designers, promoting the landscape approach as key to sustainability and resilience.
  • Strengthen the methodological side of your research.
  • Document your work in at least two key publications: one on conceptual foundations and another on the methodological mixed methods approach.
  • Put further emphasis on the use of the agent-based models.
  • Train supervisors to see it as their task to guard that PhD students do not do too much work, so that they stay on track.