Reinventing landscape planning for targeting “undisciplined” environmental challenges

Last changed: 13 December 2022

This project explores the role of landscape planning in dealing with complex environmental and societal problems - both historically and in the present. The aim is to develop a theoretical framework for reviewing landscape planning.

Landscape planning has been (re)introduced and reinvented several times in Swedish planning history. This has been done to cope with new, complex and interdisciplinary environmental problems. Given the unprecedented socio-environmental challenges of today, and the dire need to rethink spatial and environmental planning beyond the troubled silos of modern categories and administration, we need to learn from this history. Also, this history is important as it has partly shaped the contemporary landscape and planning.

This project explores what landscape planning can, and has, contributed by:

  1. studying the history of Swedish landscape planning;
  2. offering an international outlook;
  3. developing a theoretical framework for examining landscape planning
    (supported by a unique combination of landscape- and planning theory and relational ontology);
  4. testing the research's relevance to today's planning together with a group of experts.

The history and theory of landscape planning are strikingly under-researched, both nationally and internationally. Here the project will make an important contribution. At the national level, the project aims to initiate a discussion about the possibilities for, and the value of, landscape planning, through:

  1. popular science publication;
  2. dialogues and collaborations with an expert group around the environmental challenges they work with and what a landscape perspective can contribute with;
  3. a critical review of an ongoing plan or investigation.



Project leader

Mattias Qviström, Professor, Division of Landscape Architecture SLU, +4618672583
Read more about Mattias Qviström on his CV page
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Project participants

Andrew Butler, Senior Lecturer, Division of Landscape Architecture SLU, +4618672662
Read more about Andrew Butler on his CV page
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Jonathan Metzger, Professor, Urban and Regional Studies at KTH Royal Institute of Technology
Read more about Jonathan Metzger on his presentation page

Project time


External funding

Swedish Research Council for Sustainable Development - Formas