Landscape governance: governing place

This research addresses the problem of globally increased pressure on natural resources to satisfy the global demand on food, fuel and fibre, leading to competing claims and conflict over land use.

Currently, there is a lack of appropriate governance mechanisms which allow for combining economic growth targets with ecological prudency. Governments are receding from spatial planning and decision making, leaving spatial planning to private partners and citizens who may feel a responsibility over their sourcing areas or living environment, yet lacking the institutional mechanisms and mandates to actually do so.

Landscapes are increasingly considered to be appropriate levels for multi-stakeholder spatial decision making. However, most landscapes do not tally with existing political-administrative structures of states, yet landscape level governance arrangements are emerging within an institutional void, having little chance to be formally recognised and operationalised at scale. The main question to be answered is thus how governance arrangements can be re-connected to the socio-ecological characteristics of place; how such landscape governance can trigger the leadership and public-private governance arrangements at landscape level; and how these novel arrangements can be institutionalised and made operational at scale. More specifically, the research aims to analyse how landscape governance arrangements are currently ‘crafted’ or co-created by public and private actors living or operating in a specific landscape?  How these novel landscape governance arrangements relate to the formal spatial decision making structures of states? And what is the ‘governance capacity’ of these novel landscape governance arrangements, in terms of transparency, accountability, and democratic control?