Research Area
Landscape Change and Management

Landscape Governance

Conceptualizing landscape governance with regard to the landscape change induced by the "turn-around" in German energy policies


Photo: BMU

Landscapes are directly or indirectly subjected to political decisions and collective agency which can be referred to as landscape governance. However, so far there are hardly any studies on how to grasp landscape governance in theoretical or empirical terms.

By landscape we mean a part of the earth's surface that is inhabited, perceived, experienced and shaped by humans. Hence landscape is about human environment:

  • not in an abstract sense, but with reference to particular places
  • not globally, but locally,
  • not only with a focus on certain elements or aspects, but potentially in an integrative and holistic fashion.

Landscapes are not static. They are undergoing constant change. One important facet of contemporary landscape change in Germany is caused by political decisions in favour of renewable energies. In particular the increasing use of wind, solar and bio-energy is altering landscapes considerably. These developments have spurred a public debate on the pros and cons of renewable energies. Rather traditional notions of landscape often are articulated in contrast to concepts in which renewable schemes are linked to sustainability and ecological modernisation.


Photo: BMU

The project has the objective to conceptualize landscape governance from different theoretic angles. Against the background of recent debates in political sciences, three different approaches shall be elaborated and compared with each other.

First landscape governance shall be viewed as a problem of policy integration, i.e. as a problem of integrating different sector policies in and across different levels of policy-making. In a second perspective, landscape governance shall be approached as an example of network governance (landscape management). A third conceptualization is targeted on understanding landscape governance as a discursive phenomenon.

The capacities and potentials of the three approaches can be illustrated with regard to the landscape change induced by German energy policies.

Run Time



Dr. Peter Wirth
Tel. +49 (0)351 4679-232

Dr. Gerd Lintz
Tel.: +49 (0)351 4679-227