Self-evaluation 2015-2020

Summary

The mission of the LSP cluster is to study how deliberate modifications to landscape features or processes can contribute to the quality of life. To respond to the great challenges of our times such as climate change, transitions in the countryside and urban developments, LSP focuses its research on physical transformations of landscapes through spatial planning and landscape architectural design interventions. We devise sound and creative solutions, based on empirical analyses, model-based simulations, and ethical and aesthetical considerations. Both chairs (Landscape Architecture and Land Use Planning) cultivate an open and transdisciplinary academic culture in order to integrate knowledge from multiple into projects that serve understanding or contribute to transformations in real-world situations.

The work of the cluster focuses on creation of evidence-based, technically and societally viable solutions. Spatial designs, design guidelines, policy recommendations or actual spatial plans are outcomes of such research, as well as analysis of and reflections on such designs, policies, and plans. The group’s research covers three main dimensions: i) the interdisciplinary analysis of the landscape and environmental an societal problems at stake, ii) the reflection and evaluation of value systems, to explore how desirable futures can or should be assessed, and iii) the transformative dimension, covering the concepts, methods, and instruments to arrive at desirable futures.

The work of the LSP cluster is prominent in different ways: in the field of landscape architecture, the chair group excels in scientific impact within the discipline as the group ranks at the world’s top of landscape architecture schools. In the field of spatial planning, the chair group sits in the heart of the societal debate about securing environmental quality of the countryside while all new land use claims are to be accommodated in it. The products of the LSP cluster have clear societal impact. Co-creation of knowledge and planning/ design solutions together with stakeholders from the quadruple helix characterize the cluster’s work. Methods such as Research Through Design and Agent-Based modelling in which various solutions are developed and then tested with scientifically sound methods play a crucial role.

In the future, the LSP cluster aims at developing more integrated solutions for the grand challenges that await us in landscapes and in cities. The quest is for integrated solutions that deal with closing the cycles of nutrients, more efficient water and energy streams, resilience to climate change, and improve environmental quality. Emerging topics or interest are the changes in traffic modes (e.g. electric/ autonomous, less cars) and public health issues. The Netherlands, with its scarcity of space, and its large number of landscape stakeholders, form an excellent study area. Challenges lie in capitalizing on the integrated nature of our activities: our bridging of mono- and interdisciplinary work, of teaching and research, of fundamental and applied sciences and of creative and analytical approaches.