Form Follows Policy

Tracing and understanding the effects of sustainable land policies on the urban form.

Problem Statement
The built urban form is key for the sustainable development of cities and regions. It not only influences emission-intensive functioning, such as dependence on motorized private transport, and leads to a decline in biodiversity through increased land consumption, but also determines the efficiency and effectiveness of climate change adaptation measures. The focus on the built form is therefore an important component of international and national sustainability strategies. These strategies result in concrete policy measures in municipalities, such as funding programs, planning regulations or taxes, which influence the urban form.

However, while such policies are used for sustainable urban development, their actual impact on spatial development remains vague and often understudied. Therefore, there is a need to consider the causal relationships between built urban form and sustainability-oriented land policies.

The broad availability of geodata in harmonized form and the development of data-driven approaches, such as machine learning, make it possible to analyse large-scale urban-regional structures. At the same time, the political discourse on urban sustainability has already been active long enough for the effects of policy measures to be measurable in the built form. The project therefore follows a mixed-methods approach in which geo-data analysis is combined with the analysis of policy measures.

For this purpose, a comparison of the urban structures in the Franco-German border area and the different policy measures in the two countries is drawn. The functional regions of Strasbourg and Karlsruhe serve as a study area. Due to their culturally and economically similar development in recent decades, the focus can be placed on the two different political systems. The aim is to understand and describe the causal relationships between policy measures and the urban form that have emerged. This gives rise to follow-up questions, which are included in the individual phases of the project.

Project Contents
The project is divided into three phases. In the first phase, the urban form in the two countries is analysed and emerging patterns of urban form are compared. For this purpose, a geo-data model is set up to identify urban development projects in three time steps between 1990, 2000, 2010, and 2020. These urban development projects are then analysed and compared with each other in terms of characteristics of their urban form. In this project phase, patterns of urban form will be identified and compared between the two countries.

Subsequently, sustainable land policies of the study period are identified and their different mechanisms of action are traced. A neo-institutional perspective on the different practices of sustainable land policy allows us to understand the underlying modes of operation and mechanisms of action on decision-making processes. The causal relationships between such policy measures and the results of the first project phase will be traced through a temporal analysis.

The Leibniz Institute of Ecological Urban and Regional Development is jointly funded by the federal government and the federal states.

FS Sachsen

This measure is co-financed by tax funds on the basis of the budget approved by the Saxon State Parliament.