(February 2011) Landscape and Biodiversity as Emergent Challenges for Planning: Separating or Integrating?

Landscape and Biodiversity as Emergent Challenges for Planning: Separating or Integrating? image
Interest in landscape and biodiversity in territorial planning research is growing dramatically at a global scale. Even if "traditional" topics for planning, new interests and needs are investing them, due to contemporary social and economic changes. One of the main focuses for research is currently the so called "multifunctionality" of landscape, underlying the need to strenghthen the sinergies between landscape and biodiversity through a more comprehensive planning, for planning processes are seen to have treated landscape and biodiversity as separated issues, focusing alternately on the one, leaving the other undergoing not controlled impacts and externalities.
In this frame, my research investigates the opportunities and difficulties for an effective integration among landscape and biodiversity within territorial planning. The ultimate questions are: is there a mismatch attaining the conceptual and linguistic level in the talk of different specialist involved in the planning process about biodiversity and landscape? As policies have a relevant role in addressing laws and planning approaches, are the ones regarding biodiversity and landscape sufficiently coherent to enable territorial planning to pursue a strong "multifunctional vision"?Finally, which are the main obstacles to be solved within planning processes to get a real integration between biodiversity and landscape needs?
The survey has been articulated in three sections, corresponding to as many questions, each one developed through a specific methodology.
The "concepts level" comprises the examination of the specific terminology from biology and ecology borrowed by planners who often apply to it sensible shifts in meaning. An example of this mismatch is the term "diversity", counting at least six meanings; the value associated to landscape "diversity" is usually positive to ecologists, while sometimes it is less desiderable for landscape planners who on some occasions have to preserve the homogeneous character of specific landscapes. This means that putting in light linguistic and conceptual lacks of conformity has important repercussion on operative matters. Within the policy section, the integration among landscape policies and biodiversity strategies with territorial concern within European Union Countries is tested (offering for the very first time such a cross-cutting overview on this issue). The results of this section show that, dispite the harmonisation process carried out by the EU in the matter of environmental law and issues, European Countries don't share the same idea of "nature and landscape conservation and management". Indeed there are progresses to do in many directions: from European to single-Country level. Finally, assumptions for integrated territorialization among landscape and biodiversity through planning processes are sought in the final section of the thesis, analyzing Italian and international case studies facing with the development of approaches to cope with the emerging multifunctional landscape paradigm. The main focus will be on the potential sinergies and conflicts in planning and management of multifunctional green networks.
The methodological approach to investigate this topic is currently under development, and it could get useful feedback from the discussion within the Young Academic meeting.