This group now functions as EU COST C11 research team - Greenstructure and Urban Planning

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List of recent messages

click the underlined words to go directly to message


20 Nove

Message from a student about the US concept New Urbanism

8 May - More info. now on the Helsinki Greenscom Conference site

29 March - More links to webpages added and a query in the general section about definitions
27 March - Message from Anne Beer - note the changes to the
ADD A MESSAGE to this website system
14 March - Message from Anne Beer - see our
New Search Facilities
9 March
- COST "Greenstructures and Urban Planning" - contact your national co-ordinator
7 March - Message from Signe Nyhuus about the "Green Recreational Posters" in Norway
6 March - Message from Marleen van den Top - we have been successful with the
COST proposal - action needed by us all - see below
6 March - Message from
Sjef Langeveld about his new job
3 March- Message about the GREENSCOM -conference, Finland, 4th - 6th, June, 2000 - CALL FOR ABSTRACTS - ANYBODY INTERESTED WELCOME TO JOIN US
3 March- Message from Kimmo Lapintie. - Planning Theory
29 Feb - Sybrant's reply to Kimmo's comment - Planning Theory
27 Feb - Kimmo -
Planning Theory
25 Feb - Björn -
General info Patsy in Gothenburg


General information for group

Add your latest information here and then click the Submit Button below it. Normally your information will be added to the site within 24 hours.


8 May - More info. now on the Helsinki Greenscom Conference site - click this http://www.hut.fi/Yksikot/YKS/Greenscom/Greens1.htm

28 March - Message from Anne
Talking to non group members I have realised it would be useful to add definitions of the words we use. For a start can I have you definitions of:

Greenstructure and Greenways

The meanings may be obvious to each of us as an individual but do we all understand the same thing?

I am asking this mainly because I have recently found that the Greenscom title has been translated different ways by different countries - the UK officials tell me the title is "Greenstructures and Urban Civil Engineering" - others have told me it is "Greenstructures and Urban Planning" - curious!

27/28 March - Message from Anne

To try to encourage use of this message system I have changed the way you can send messages - just click on the boxes in the left hand column and add your comments.

14 March - Message from Anne

I have added several new features this week in the form of Search Facilities - one to allow you to search our own site, one to let you search Internet called Google ( it is really quite good - for instance try entering the words - "ecological sustainability"). Finally I have added links to the Amazon Bookstore - not necessariliy to get you to buy books but to use to find the names and full references for new and recent books - I find it quite useful for that.
Please test these links and facilities out -
you can connect to them from the top of this page for me and let me know what works and what does not - the fact that they are "free" has been a major factor in my choice of them!

I will not be on-line from 20 to 24 March as I'm off for a few days in the south of Spain - but I expect a lot of stuff for me to add on the 25 - please send any stuff for this week before 20.00 Friday 17. Please keep your reactions coming - just look at the Counter at the bottom of this page to see how many visits we have already had. Anne Beer

6 March - Message from S Langeveld

Starting from the 15th of April, I will be working with Both ENDS in Amsterdam. Both ENDS is a NGO. Both ENDS' aim is to contribute to responsible management of nature and the natural environment, by strengthening fellow NGOs and community groups that are working on these issues, especially in developing countries.Those who know my interests will see that this aim fits well with my ambition. After 9 years with the (Dorschkamp=oud) IBN (Alterra=nieuw) I wish now to be active in linking the people that live in developing countries to people living in countries like ours who have the skills and expertise to help them achieve their environmental objectives. Starting from environmental questions in the social context of the people in the developing countries, I will be working in the international sphere using my expertise, experience and contacts to identify new funding sources and to open doors to new opportunities.

I did not come to Gothenburg as I was working with the help of a special agency to find this job. I have had to spend much of last two years increasing the turnover and developing a new system of account-management for the Institute so I have had less time to spend on the Group's activities. However, it doesn't mean the end of the European Network Urban Density and Green Structure for me as in my discussion with the Board of Both ENDS I stressed the importance of the environmental questions concerning metropolisation in the developing countries and the support needed to solve them. Also I stressed the insights that are achieved in our region and with our Urban Density and Green Structure network.

While working for BothENDS I intend to mediate between the NGOs and small groups of these countries and you who are involved in the European Network. So I will continue my contacts with you all in this perspective. I am very happy with this new position as director of this organisation and I am very happy that I can end the recent marketing activities which were very demanding.

When there are concrete questions I will get in contact again via the Network Message Board or direct to individuals.

If you have got any suggestion for my organisation please let me know. Click here to email me.

3 March - Olli
See Message in the Greenscom section below about the first GREENSCOM -conference, in Finland, 4th - 6th, June, 2000 . Please book your place NOW by emailing Olli Maijala direct from this page

29 Feb - Message Board - Anne - I have now made the Text blocks on the Add a Message page larger as Kimmo and Sybrand have a lot to say. Remember if you have any photos or other illustrations you want to send use Jpeg or Gif format and make small and email directly as attachments to me - Anne

25 Feb - Patsy Healey and the Message Board - Björn

Dear colleagues,

Our honored guest at the conference in Gothenburg, October 1999, Prof. Patsy Healey has just arrived to Chalmers for here first period as Jubileum Professor at Chalmers. We welcome her and appreciate very much her assistance in ongoing work to make conclusions and further reflections from the conference. We would also very much appreciate input from other participants. Use this Message Board and perhaps a interesting discussion will emerge. Thank you in advance from Bjorn.



Links to Websites
Please add any connects you have found useful


http://www.carfree.com/  Info on cars in cities

http://www.americanforests.org/ Lots of useful info. about trees in cities. (23 Feb Anne Beer)

http://www.gardenvisit.com/index.htm Lots on Parks and Gardens in UK and USA

http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/static/events/reith_2000/programme.stm (15 March Anne Beer) The BBC Reith Lectures this year deal with Sustainable Development isses

http://iisd1.iisd.ca/policy.htm -Biodiversity links, Sustainability and Public Policy links, Compendium of Sustainable Development Indicator Initiatives etc - up to the minute international site by International Institute for Sustainable Development based in Canada

http://www.tracker.elibrary.com - uk pubs -sust devel

http://www.has.vcu.edu/usp/links.htm - Planning resources on internet

http://www.sustainable.doe.gov/ - US dept of env info on sustainability - see also
http://www.sustainable.doe.gov/management/geninfo.htm


Related Publications

Environmental Planning

Please click the Add a Message link at the top of the righthand colum and add your own publications to this list as well as any other useful related publications (reports, papers, as well as books). This will be a great use to students visiting our site.

Conservation Design for Subdivisions : A Practical Guide to Creating Open Space Networks
Randall G. Arendt, et al / Paperback / Published 1996
Price: $34.95
Landscape Planning : Environmental Applications
William M. Marsh / Paperback / Published 1991
Price: $50.95
The Living Landscape : An Ecological Approach to Landscape Planning
Frederick R. Steiner, George A. Steiner / Hardcover / Published 1991
Price: $60.65
Urban Design : Green Dimensions
Cliff Moughtin, J. C. Moughtin / Hardcover / Published 1996
Price: $56.95
Environmental Planning for Site Development
Anne R. Beer and Catherine Higgins / Second Edition Published 2000
Price: $43.95
City Form and Natural Process
Michael Hough, first published 1984 but reissued more recently

Habitat Conservation and Urban Growth

Habitat Conservation Planning : Endangered Species and Urban Growth
Timothy Beatley / Paperback / Published 1994
Price: $14.36

Ecologically Sound Development

Ecopolis
Sybrand P. Tjallingii, published1995, Backhuys,, Leiden.,NL
Ecological Conditions
Sybrand P. Tjallingii, published1996, ibn-dlo, Wageningen,NL

The books underlined are available directly from Amazon - online. If you want to search for other books use the Amazon search facility below. Provided "In Association with Amazon.co.uk"


Latest info. about meetings


8 May - Details now on the Helsinki Greenscom Conference site

 

HELSINKI CONFERENCE The date is fixed: from the 5th to the 6th of June, plus pre-conference excursion on Sunday, and perhaps meeting on Saturday Evening (since most of you are probably flying with Apex). So I hope that you will not miss it, and that we´ll seeyou in Helsinki. Kimmo Lapintie


Greenscom


8 May - Details now on the Helsinki Greenscom Conference site http://www.hut.fi/Yksikot/YKS/Greenscom/Greens1.htm

Message from Olli Maijala

The first GREENSCOM -conference - Espoo, Finland, 4th - 6th, June, 2000

COMMUNICATING URBAN GROWTH AND GREEN

Planning and Governance of the Urban Landscape

Click here to register and or send an abstract to Olli Maijala
before the 18th of April 2000

FIRST ANNOUNCEMENT and a CALL FOR ABSTRACTS

Researchers and practioners (and everybody interested in the subject) are hereby invited to participate in the first GREENSCOM-conference, titled Communicating Urban Growth and Green - Planning and Governance of the Urban Landscape. The conference is organised jointly by the Institute of Urban Planning and Design and the Centre for Urban and Regional Studies, Helsinki University of Technology. The conference is held at the Department of Architecture (HUT) in Espoo, Finland, June 4th - 6th, 2000.

The conference is related to the EU 5th Framework project GREENSCOM -Communicating Urban Growth and Green, started in March 2000. The project is coordinated by ALTERRA Green World Research (the Netherlands), and the other partners are Helsinki University of Technology (Finland), School of Architecture, Chalmers University of Technology (Sweden), Danish Building Research Institute (SBI) (Denmark) and FORS Recherche Sociale (France). The purpose of the conference is to gather information, scientific knowledge and practical experience related to the Urban green and open areas. The focus of the conference is on how the issue of urban open space and green structure is understood in various planning practices, legislation, and policy frameworks, and how urban growth is handled - or should be handled - in different urban and cultural contexts.

The conference program will include pre-conference tour in Helsinki (on Sunday 4th of June), keynote lectures, case presentation, and workshop sessions. The preliminary list of workshop themes is the following:

- Urban compaction and sustainable development
- Sustainable urban infrastructure and green areas
- Participation, conflict and conflict management in urban planning
- Argumentation and rhetoric in planning
- Government and governance in contemporary urban politics
- Quality and assessment of the urban green areas
- The role of different professions in planning and urban development
- Perception and social construction of the urban green

The participants are invited to join the GREENSCOM project team and share their views, knowledge and practical experience with us.


Those who wish to register and to present a paper should send an abstract to Olli Maijala (olli.maijala@hut.fi) before the 18th of April 2000.

Those who wish to participate but not present a paper, should also click here to email him for registration.

Registration data should include:
· your name

· position/title and institution

· postal, telephone, fax and/or e-mail addresses

The proposals for papers should include
· your name

· position/title and institution

· postal, telephone, fax and/or e-mail addresses

· title of paper

· possible thematic track or desired grouping (you can also suggest

alternative themes)

· an abstract of no more than 250 words

The costs of the conference
300 FIM (approx. 50 Euro) including conference fee, lunches, refreshments and a half-day study tour, but excluding lodgings. The language of the conference is English.

For further information and a list of hotels and travel arrangements, please contact Olli Maijala, Centre for Urban and Regional Studies, P.O Box 9300, FIN-02015 HUT, Finland.

Phone: +358-9-451 4428; fax: +358-9-451 2140,

E-mail: olli.maijala@hut.fi

Please register NOW by emailing Olli Maijala direct from this page


Cost 11 - C11 Greenstructure and urban planning


Message from Olli Maijala Good News! The Cost Action "Greenstructures and Urban Planning" that was created among our network, is now officially approved by the CSO (Committee of Senior Officials; the highest decision-making body of COST).

To have the action started, we need at least 5 countries (national governments!) to sign the action (or to be precise, the MoU, Memorandum of Understanding, of this Cost action.

You can join the action by having a research project (somehow linked to the theme of the action) that has national financing. COST does not finance research. COST only enhances cooperation in the field of scientific and technical research, and finances the costs of this cooperation, mainly travelling costs.

What is needed now is that when you have this kind of research project, you should now contact your national COST-coordinator, and ask her for further details of how to join the action and get your country to sign it. The procedures may differ a bit between countries, so I won´t mix you up.

I contacted the Finnish coordinator, TEKES and Ms. Eija Auranen, to ask what is the current situation. She said that they do not yet have the official announcement to declare the action open for signing, but it is very usual that it takes weeks from the approval meeting of CSO till the papers come officially to the national coordinators (they also go throughsome kind of language check in the meantime). Still, the signing procedures can be prepared far already beforehand. So, please contact your national coordinators already now to get things moving!

COST has also its own www-pages. If you are interested, visit:

http://www.netmaniacs.com/cost

If you do not know your national coordinator, you may also find her/him in

these pages.

With warm regards, Olli Maijala

Message from - Marleen van den Top, ALTERRA Green World Research, Urban Rural Interactions tel. +31-317-478701

Our COST action is 'created'. This means that it is officially approved.All Urban Density and Greenstructure Network members, and other interested persons, need to contact their national COST-co-ordinators to have their country sign our COST action. At least 5 signatures will be needed, but the more, the better of course - Olli will contact national representatives - please react..

 

The COST ACTION C11 "Greenstructures and Urban Planning" - the initiative of which was born among the network - has now been preliminarily approved, but it still might need some support to get the final acceptance.(Feb 10 Olli Maijala )

"Last friday I had a telephone call with Franck Charmaison in Brussels. He confirmed that our COST proposal will be discussed at the next meeting of the Technical Committee on february 16th at Coimbra, Portugal. He now told me that the Committee of Senior Officials, at its december meeting, had officially agreed with our proposal. They sent it to the TC to be looked at on 16 February. Sybrand Tjallingii


Strand One - Ecological Sustainability and Green Structure


Message from: jurgen.dewaegemaeker@yucom.be

general info. Hello everyone,

 

Just posting this message to get some feedback from other Europeans involved with sustainable urban development. I have the following question: New Urbanism seems to be rather popular in the US right now. I was wondering if you consider New Urbanism a valuable contribution to our strive for sustainable urban planning. And if so, is it also useful in our European context? I'm not sure what to think about it. I think that the general ideas behind their approach have a lot in common with our own ideas of sustainability (they make me think of the ideas of Chistoffer Alexander), but I have the feeling that their actual realizations are rather conservative and not that sustainable after all. Just something I was wondering about...

 

Message from: Nyhuus Signe RÅD-MOS <signe.nyhuus@radhuset.oslo.kommune.no>

Short Note in relation to use of greenspace- in Norway at the moment there is an interesting thing happening:

each Township is in the process of making a "Green Recreational Poster", that is they are investigating what open/ green areas are in use and for what purpose.

This work will show the specific "regulation status" on the town map for each area of open green land - then it will show how and for what purpose the areas are actually used as well as which groups of people are using them.

In fact this way of looking at things can be connected to the hypothesis by Patrick Grahn - in his dr.theses he has suggested the diversity of green areas that various categories of people need in urban areas. If for instance, the Green Recreational Poster shows that no kids are using any green areas in a Township, it will probably mean that they are unsuitable for them and that in turn will have implications locally for how those areas of land should be planned, designed and managed in the future.


Strand Two - Communication in Urban Planning


3 March - Message from Kimmo Lapintie

Thanks to Sybrand for a quick reply. I will continue by trying to clarify and higlight the issues that seem to me essential in our attempt to understand what really happens in planning communication.

 

First of all, I think that we should try to avoid making artificial distinctions between theory and practice. If some strategies to reach consensus succeed in practice, or fail to do so, then we have to try (in theory) to explain what happened, i.e. what kind of consensus was reached, and what aspects of the situation were responsible for it. It is not possible that some things that are not possible in theory could work in practice; practice (or empiria) is always the test of theory. Alternatively, we may use theory to help to understand the complexities of practice, or to give normative guidelines for practice.

 

One of the important contributions of theory is, naturally, conceptual analysis. In our situation, the most important conceptual issue, in my opinion, is this: what kind of shared understanding are we talking about? Or are there perhaps several senses of the term and, respectively, several relevant strategies? Or perhaps the concept of strategy is not suitable in all situations (I will return to this later).

 

In another article (Ecological Planning as a Professional Challenge, in Paivanen & Lapintie (ed.): After All These Years, Helsinki University of Technology, Centre for Urban and Regional Studies C 48), I tried to use argumentation theory to distinguish these senses. According to van Eemeren and Grootendorst, for instance, there is the distinction between settlement and solution; whereas in the former, negotiations, referees, or judges may be used to reach a kind of acceptance, in the latter all parties must agree that the arguments at hand really lead to the solution (e.g. a plan) adopted. However, the concept of solution is still ambiguous, and I would distinguish at least three possible interpretations. The parties can end up in a common belief or understanding for various reasons: as a result of the exculsion of certain stakeholders (i.e. by including only those who seem to agree in the first place), or as a result of successful persuasion using rhetorical means. This is what I have called solution 1. Alternatively, we may require that certain elementary rules of critical discussion are obeyed in the discussion (e.g. by avoiding fallacies), and if we still end up in shared understanding, this may be called solution 2. But still, there may be structural reasons why we tend to avoid critical and controversial issues in communicative situations (i.e. we try not to be argumentative), and that is why our solution 2 may still be a "wrong" solution in the sense that a better solution would have been abvailable. For instance, we may accept environmental risks only because we do not understand the actual long-term impacts or our decisions. Now all these different types of shared understanding clearly require different strategies.

Kimmo

29 Feb- Reply from Sybrant to Kimmo's comment
Let me first thank Ann for her efforts to offer us this exciting opportunity to discuss our issues at this new forum. I cannot resist reacting on Kimmos message in which he comments on the paper Paul, Marleen and myself presented at the Gothenburg Conference.

 

1. From a thereoretical point of view consensus might be only partial and related to a particular context, in practice consensus exsists. We need it to take democratic operational decisions that may have long lasting effects. Our experience with workshops as a part of the local and regional planning process, shows that it usually is more easy to approach consensus if the actors participating in these workshops focus on long term issues. Steps towards 'shared understanding' also will be more likely if the workshop participants start with carrying conditions like water and traffic infrastructure Clearly the struggle for power is more evident in short term issues about the performance of direct land-use functions like housing, commercial development, agriculture or 'nature'.

 

2. The strategy of the two networks(S2N), as a planning tool, starts with a selection of actors that are stakeholders in structure planning, including public and private actors, NGOs and politicians. S2N frames the discussion and frames the selection of actors. One of the responsibilities of the politicians, at this stage, is to create space for residents and businesses to have something to choose at a later stage.

3. There is some confusion about the term strategy. Habermas himself may have contributed to this confusion (if I understand it correctly) by placing strategic and communicative rationality in opposite positions. Yet we need strategies to make procedures more democratic, to make dialogues more Habermasian and to make an understanding of common basic conditions shared by more. In Kimmos paper on rationality and in the view of many planning theorists, 'strategy' is linked to the linear relationship between cause and effect and, hence, between goal and means. However, there seems to be no need to be reluctant to acknowledge the role of strategies for interactive communication leading to robust, 'no regret', decisions on creating conditions in a situation of uncertainty. Sybrant

28 Feb - Message from Kimmo Lapintie
I am very grateful for Anne for making it possible to continue our discussion through the internet. I am using the opportunity right away to comment on an issue that we have earlier discussed in private with Sybrand, but which is also addressed in Sybrand´s, Paul´s and Marleen´s paper (and my own paper as well) in Gothenburg. My interest is related to the contribution of planning theory to the practical issues of planning and urban governance. I am well aware that many practitioners are uneasy about "grand theories" (Excuse me for adopting your term, Bjorn) like those of Habermas and Foucault in connection with practical tools, like the workshops described by Sybrand et. al.

However, I feel that there are some issues in recent planning theory literature that we have to address before engaging ourselves fully in the development of planning tools. We have to decide, for instance, whether we still consider the original Habermasian conception of communicative action as valid, or whether we have to move beyond it. This is related to the concept of "shared understanding" that is essential in the "strategy of the two networks" (S2N). In the post-modern perspective, such a consensus can only be conceived in a limited, particular context, and it can never have any absolute validity. Even scientific knowledge should be seen as historically and locally (within a profession, or within a network) produced, and the same is naturally true for expert knowledge and know-how. This is not, however, the same as seeing it as simply relative to the social context, that is, determined by the local power relations (as Flyvbjerg would seem to suggest). It may have different qualifications, and be more or less relevant to the life-world of the citizens.

 

But it does entail that within a complex context like planning no shared understanding (of the plan) is to be expected, only an awareness that we are using the same space and resources. Planning and urban governance would thus be understood as a continuous struggle between different stakeholders, with only limited and localised common objectives and interpretations.

 

What does this mean to the S2N? First of all, we are perhaps not entitled to start with the two networks (traffic and water) and their respective flows and areas, but we shoud start with the actors or agents. It is the fact of contemporary planning that both traffic and water planning and management represent very powerful professions and social practices, which very often manage to prevent any substantial communicative options. Moreover, their historical legacy has not been connected to sustainability (or biodiversity etc.) but to local, regional and national economic development, and today more and more to EU growth policies (consider TENs for instance). If two such powerful agencies are combined into one integrated planning BEFORE the residents or NGOs are brought to the scene,are we to expect a more democratic communicative or collaborative process? I should hardly think so.

 

Should we not, in contrast, start with the actors (i.e. stakeholder analysis), with an analysis of their existing power relations (in the way Flyvbjerg did)? In this way we would avoid imagining that traffic or water management planning would consist of "benevolent" agents promarily directed at sustainability.

 

Kimmo Lapintie
Professor of Urban and Regional Planning
Department of Architecture
Helsinki University of Technology

European Research Network - Urban density and Green Structure

Proceedings of the Gothenburg Conference:
Communication in Urban Planning - Oct 1999

Webpages by
update 27 Mar2000