Paper published by Sven and Renée in the journal Sustainability

Published on
July 23, 2014

Last week, Sven Stremke and Renée de Waal published the paper “Energy transition: missed opportunities and emerging challenges for landscape planning and designing” in the open source journal Sustainability. In this study, they focused on energy transitions on Samsø (DK), in Jühnde (DE) and in Güssing (AT) from a landscape architecture perspective.


Making the shift from fossil fuels to renewable energy seems inevitable. Because energy transition poses new challenges and opportunities to the discipline of landscape architecture, the questions addressed in this paper are: (1) what landscape architects can learn from successful energy transitions in Güssing, Jühnde and Samsø; and (2) to what extent landscape architecture (or other spatial disciplines) contributed to energy transition in the aforementioned cases. An exploratory, comparative case study was conducted to identify differences and similarities among the cases, to answer the research questions, and to formulate recommendations for further research and practice. The comparison indicated that the realized renewable energy systems are context-dependent and, therefore, specifically designed to meet the respective energy demand, making use of the available potentials for renewable energy generation and efficiency. Further success factors seemed to be the presence of (local) frontrunners and a certain degree of citizen participation. The relatively smooth implementation of renewable energy technologies in Jühnde and on Samsø may indicate the importance of careful and (partly) institutionalized consideration of landscape impact, siting and design. Comparing the cases against the literature demonstrated that landscape architects were not as involved as they, theoretically, could have been. However, particularly when the aim is sustainable development, rather than “merely” renewable energy provision, the integrative concept of “sustainable energy landscapes” can be the arena where landscape architecture and other disciplines meet to pursue global sustainability goals, while empowering local communities and safeguarding landscape quality.

Keywords: renewable energy; sustainable energy landscapes; landscape architecture; operational design; strategic design; climate change mitigation; transition management; Güssing; Jühnde; Samsø

The full text is available online:

Research Gate

Directly from Sustainability (open source)