The Landscape Architecture and Spatial Planning group at WUR studies how deliberate modifications to landscape features or processes contribute to the quality of life.
The societal challenges addressed by the group include climate adaptation (with focus on water, energy transition and urban climate), transitions in the countryside, and urban developments. Many of these challenges are manifested within landscapes, which are broadly understood as complex socio-ecological systems that require comprehensive planning and design solutions. We devise such solutions through evidence-based design and responsive planning approaches, validated in practice. This entails that designing, as a research method, is applied and evaluated based on scientific criteria. Similarly, responsive planning approaches are used to understand and stimulate the socio‐economic performance of landscapes, and to mitigate negative environmental consequences of land use.
The cluster operates at the interface of research, design, policy, and societal action. This integration enables us to explore how deliberate modifications to landscape features and processes can foster Sustainable Cities and Communities (SDG 11), Responsible Consumption and Production (SDG 12), Climate Action (SDG 13), and Life on Land (SDG 15). LSP is active within the following four ESG strategic themes: Sustainable Land Use, Metropolitan Solutions, Climate Adaptable Society, and Sustainable Water Management.
LSP has a longstanding legacy of working on major societal challenges, such as climate action, nature-agriculture interactions, wellbeing, and social inclusion. Landscape Architecture and Spatial Planning are by definition strongly oriented towards societal impact, chiefly through their established evidence-based design and responsive planning approaches. This is due to LSP’s unique niche and ability to operate at the interface of research, design, policy, and societal action. LSP is strong in co-creation of knowledge with stakeholders through transdisciplinary research methods, and shares strong ties with different tiers of government, design offices and stakeholder communities. A substantial share of our PhD students are co-funded by societal partners, and several of our staff members are regularly commissioned by societal partners on specific tasks. Also, virtually all studios in the teaching programme of the cluster are related to real-world commissioners like municipalities who are keen to collaborate with us.