Landscape Governance in the Face of the Energy Transition


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.


The research project is aiming at a better understanding of local and regional governance processes with regard to landscape in the context of the energy transition. It particularly refers to the construction of wind power, solar and biogas facilities, high voltage power lines and the increasing cultivation of energy crops.

Special attention is paid to the local and regional impacts of the energy change. These have been less investigated, though they are gaining increasingly importance in public debates. For that reason empirical investigatons on the basis of case studies are a main approach of the project, including the legal and other institutional framework conditions as well as spatial planning. Finally it is expected to identify new routes of landscape governance in both research and practice.

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.