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About this book

Experiencing the world of daily life means to observe and perceive the natural, the man-made, the socio-spatial, and the politico-economic elements of the en­ vironment we live in. But, have you ever tried to explain the phenomena of daily life such as a traffic jam or mass transit to a child? It will take you quite a while to find suitable images to make invisible forces perceivable and con­ cepts like timetables, bus routes, or capacity constraints comprehensible. This exercise alone will convince you that we need imagery or virtual worlds to cope with the complexity of the real world. The task of spatial planning is to design, implement and manage alternative futures for a complex, dynamic socio-spatial environment that emerges from a wide range of intertwined social, political, economic and environmental processes. In order to learn about these processes and gain knowledge that en­ ables spatial planners to better understand and manage socio-spatial reality, they need to think in and work with virtual worlds.

Table of Contents


Editors’ Introduction

Chapter 1. Editors’ Introduction

In his famous philosophical doctrine, the so-called ‘Theory of Forms,’ Plato distinguished between an invisible Universe of Higher Reality that constituted the unchanging and determinate ‘forms’ of all things and a Visible World of change and flux that is only a copy or reflection of the Universe of Higher Reality. According to Plato’s Theory of Forms, true and certain knowledge can only be obtained from the Universe of Higher Reality, whereas the Visible World of experience, i.e., the real world we live in, cannot produce true or certain knowledge. Plato’s “idea of explaining the visible world by a postulated invisible world” invented “a new approach towards the world and towards knowledge of the world” (Popper 1963:89) by explaining visible matter with theories about invisible structures. However, theories can describe even ‘deeper layers of reality’ that are not ‘real matter’ but are of a hypothetical character, for example, forces, fields of forces, or, in a more general sense, interaction.
Martina Koll-Schretzenmayr, Marco Keiner, Gustav Nussbaumer

The Real World of Spatial Planning

Chapter 2. Spatial Planning in the Twenty-First Century: Continuing or Ceasing?

Why planning? Since the very first days of mankind, the unpredictable, the unforeseeable, and the unknown has been something bewildering, uncomfortable and even dangerous for human beings. However, the abilities of rational thinking and reasoning, of resolving conflicts and problems, and of perceiving space and time has enabled man to devise proposals for the future and design ‘plans.’ Planning, the “ideal of an alternative to the competitive management of uncertainty,” (Marris 1998:16) thus seems to be a basic need of mankind.
Willy A. Schmid, Martina Koll-Schretzenmayr, Marco Keiner

Chapter 3. Venice, Venice, and Venice: Three Realities of the European City

Venice is the perfect prototype of the threefold reality of the European city: the authentic European city, the fake European city, and the virtual European city. In fall 2002, the mayor of Venice went to Japan to promote his city. Venice, like most European cities, suffers from an eroding tax base, so obviously, he addressed Japanese tourist organizations to encourage them to bring more Japanese tourists to the city. In addition, however, he traveled to Tokyo to sell Venice as a brand name for Japanese products. More than 150 Japanese firms and enterprises use Venice in some form or other to brand their products, be it perfume, chocolate, fashion, or coffee chains. He promised to use the license fees to preserve the rich historical heritage of the proud city. The Japanese media reported extensively about the visit, but how successful the mayor was in the end has not been revealed.
Klaus R. Kunzmann

Chapter 4. Sustainable Development and Urban Management in Developing Countries: The Case of Africa

Today the most significant factor underlying the potential for sustainable development is urbanization. Urbanization is dominated by three factors: population growth, rural-urban migration, and subsequent urban expansion. Whereas today, nearly half of the world’s population is living in urban settlements, this ratio will increase to more than 70% by 2025. The number of so-called million cities and mega cities is growing unremittingly. By 2015, the number of cities with more than one million inhabitants is estimated to be about 300 worldwide.
Marco Keiner

Chapter 5. Indicator Sets on City and Cantonal Levels in Switzerland: Tools for Sustainable Development

With the integration of the principle of sustainable development into the new Federal Constitution in 1999, sustainability gained a strong foothold on the federal level in Switzerland. In 1996, the Interdepartmental Committee Rio (IDCRio) published an inventory entitled Sustainable Development for Switzerland (BUWAL 1996), which assessed the implementation of sustainable development in different policy branches of the Helvetian Confederation. Spatial planning was identified as an action field for the realization of sustainable development (see UVEK 1999; Keiner 2001). The Council for Sustainable Development worked out a plan of action for Switzerland (BUWAL 1997) with middle- to long-term objectives and recommendations for implementation in sectoral policies. From this, a sustainability strategy of the Federal Council was derived (Bundesrat 1999). With regard to the RIO+10 summit in Johannesburg in 2002, this strategy has been updated to an action plan as the Strategy for Sustainable Development 2002 (Bundesrat 2002).
Barbara Schultz, Marco Keiner

Chapter 6. Implementing Sustainable Urban Development: The Case of Kunming, China

Since 1978 the Chinese economy has undergone a fundamental transformation. The decision to ‘open the door,’ i.e., introduce foreign investment, privatize state-owned enterprises, and develop Town and Village Enterprises (TVEs), has profoundly transformed the state socialist system established during the Mao era. Currently, China’s economy is ‘in transition to capitalism.’ However, economic development and incoming foreign investment are concentrated in the eastern regions, so Chinese economic geography is characterized by regional fragmentation and regional inequality (see, e.g., Lee and Lee 2002).
Jacques P. Feiner

Chapter 7. Transforming Cityspace

Cities are extraordinary complex and dynamic socio-technical systems that are in a state of permanent flux. Physical urban space is formed and transformed by a ceaseless interplay of production, reproduction, modification, and renewal of buildings and technical infrastructures. The process of urban change is driven by volatile social, economic, and cultural forces on different scales — from local to global. In this perspective, the city never rests but is an unstable socio-economic and physical phenomena. How can we explain the physical transformation of the contemporary metropolis? How is the emergence of building renewal, demolition, and change interwoven with the socio-economic and cultural development of cities and urban regions? And finally, what do these trends mean for urban policy and planning? This chapter will address these questions through analyzing trends of cityspace transformation in the global city of Zurich. First, a general understanding of the processes of urban change will be outlined. Second, perspectives of urban dynamics in city-regions will be presented in more detail to help establish a theoretical framework, third, an analysis and explanation of urban change in the city-region of Zurich. Finally, the story of Zurich-West will be included to illustrate the processes in which cityscape and urban change are influenced by the complex spatiality of human life.
Martina Koll-Schretzenmayr

Chapter 8. City of Regions: Improving Territorial Governance in the Zurich’s “Glattal-Stadt”

Globalization “hits the ground” in Glattal-Stadt1 in the form of a growing population, new construction triggered by the demands of international corporations, activities of real estate developers, and the overwhelming influence of the international airport on the quality of future urban development and environmental conditions. The challenges that accompany economic growth and social change in metropolitan regions have mobilized politicians and actors towards activities and innovative approaches for improving existing institutions and problem-solving capacity in Glattal-Stadt. However, there is a lack of inventive political projects. The shaping of future development requires careful attention and action. New forms of metropolitan governance are necessary.
Alain Thierstein, Thomas Held, Simone Gabi

Chapter 9. Increasing Resistance to Political Consulting

Political consulting is of prime importance to planning activities, and particularly so to the field of spatial planning It complements the necessary knowledge needed for the fulfillment of tasks and provides a political perspective. Without it, the responsible planning authorities would be unable to acquire the full extent of the information needed to carry out their tasks. At the same time, planning authorities are themselves active in political consulting, as it belongs to their duties to provide future-oriented planning advice to other departments of government. In this capacity, they require a receptive and listening audience for their advice. Should the significance of political consulting decline and resistance to consulting emerge, the consequences for the planning field would be negative. The planning profession should therefore be interested in political consulting of an exceptional and enriching standard.
Martin Lendi

Chapter 10. Evaluation and Decision Support Systems in Multiple Land Use Planning: The Dutch Case

Land use planning nowadays is a commonly used instrument to address the needed optimization of our land resources for the future. In the past, the instrument was primarily used as a means of improving and/or enlarging farmland and farming conditions. More recently, it has become important for other land uses, such as recreation, nature, infrastructure, as well as urban planning. With the world facing many negative changes, such as the depletion of biotic and human resources because of technological developments, new policies are needed to address these problems, and land use planning is one of them. Older planning instruments, such as land consolidation programs, had to be changed from a purely agricultural instrument to a multifunctional (often referred to as an ‘integral’) instrument.
Hubert N. Van Lier

The Virtual World of Spatial Planning

Chapter 11. Dynamic Immersive Visualization: Negotiating Landscape Images

Dynamic and immersive forms of visual media remain largely underdeveloped both technically and in terms of intellectual discipline in landscape architecture and planning. This deficiency in the field serves as the starting point for this chapter. The chapter argues that the dominant static and didactic digital visual media in professional use today are simply not sufficient to address the thematic issues of complexity, dynamism, and diversity presented by the contributors of this book. This chapter presents an argument for planners and landscape architects to invent, develop and apply emergent visual media that will better deal with dynamics, convey context and serve to support visual-spatial processes of negotiation and creativity.
John W. Danahy

Chapter 12. Behavioral Monitoring in Virtual Environments: A Basis for Agent Modeling in Urban Parks

Many researchers are beginning to explore the potential of virtual environments as a surrogate for the real world. This may be in areas such as the treatment of phobias (Hodges et al. 1995), emergency management (Clover et al. 2000), or urban design (van Veen et al. 1998). Bishop et al. (2000) expanded upon the potential of virtual environments to support experiments in human-environment interaction based on the experiential paradigm (Zube et al. 1982, Daniel and Vining 1983). Preliminary studies (Bishop et al. 2001) have shown a consistency between stated objectives in outdoor environments and behavior within a virtual world.
Ian D. Bishop

Chapter 13. Assessment of Urban Green Space Qualities Using 3D Visualization Tools

Urban “green space” provides an essential contribution to the quality of life of urban citizens. In many European towns and cities, attractive urban parks and squares, woodlands, green corridors, nature reserves and recreational areas can be found. Often, urban green space is a legacy of earlier decades and in relatively few urban areas has the planning and development of an urban green infrastructure been approached in a comprehensive manner. The importance of urban green space was recognized by Camillo Sitte (1889) more than 100 years ago.
Eckart Lange, Sigrid Hehl-Lange, Isabella Mambretti

Chapter 14. Movism: Prologue to a New Visual Theory in Landscape Architecture

If we accept the precept that landscape architecture has always been bound to a strong pictorial and aesthetic tradition, then we are entitled to ask what referential image, if any, prevails in today’s landscape practice. Ever since the early Renaissance there has been a strong and determined picture frame in which our perception of landscape has expanded and matured, but with the advent of the moving image, particularly within new media, the notion of a precise reference image has become both relative and confused. New media simply brings us too many images, they are diffused via TV into countless superimpositions and impressions that, because of their sheer quantity and incessant flux, become a valueless juxtaposition of pictures. Walter Benjamin (1963) already understood this problem when he referred to the work of art in the age of reproduction, and although he essentially dealt with the question of the diluted meaning of art within mass culture, he touched upon something that has become quite overwhelming today: the overabundance of image in the age of mass media (see Benjamin 1963). Another major hurdle, which we have not yet integrated in our reflection on contemporary landscape aesthetics, is the ever growing presence and significance of the moving image in our daily lives and in our very own visual thinking. Outside the home window, today’s reference frame for landscapes is almost always in motion, be it the windshield of a car, the window of a train or an airplane, or simply the film screen showing a wonderful sample of springtime promenade in the meadows to sell us some piece of chocolate. Over the last century, the moving picture and its depiction of nature has broadly invaded and surpassed the traditional landscape iconic system that we had grown accustomed to. The truth of the matter is that we have lost the thread that once linked us to such a strong, simple and meditative acceptance of a single picture as landscape reference. This is the reason why we have sought, together with Marc Schwarz, Udo Weilacher, André Müller, and Fred Truniger of the Landscape Video Lab and the Landscape Post Graduate program at the ETH, and the help of students to pursue the question of framing and sampling new modes of representation and observation in landscape architecture.
Christophe Girot

Chapter 15. Hiking in Real and Virtual Worlds

There is an increasing amount of interest in the use of computer simulation for landscape planning. Simulation allows the planner to evaluate multiple planning scenarios and evaluate their impact over time. As many planning problems focus on processes that evolve over time in a complex environment, it is often difficult to understand long-term implications of a planning decision with traditional planning methods.
Duncan Cavens, Eckart Lange

Chapter 16. Complex Systems Applications for Transportation Planning

A possible goal for transportation and regional planning is to design the transportation or regional systems so that the people who use them will be happy. Yet, happiness is difficult to define in a way that is useful for engineering. For most people, a certain level of economic performance is probably a pre-requisite for happiness, and thus economic indicators are important factors in the design. Other important indicators might include noise, pollution, safety, access to a variety of destinations, or even something as intangible as beauty. These indicators may have different impacts on the happiness of different users of the above-mentioned systems, so the design of these systems should somehow account for the individuality of the users.
Kai Nagel, Bryan Raney

Chapter 17. On the Variability of Human Activity Spaces

The day-to-day perspective of individual travel behavior (i.e., intra-personal variability) has been the focus of a range of transport research studies over the last 40 years. The subjects of numerous studies were, for example, stability and flexibility in personal travel (Herz 1983), variability (Hanson and Huff 1982, 1988a, 1988b; Pas 1986, 1987), rhythms (Huff and Hanson 1990), or the dynamic adjustment of behavior towards a changing travel environment (Mahmassani et al. 1997; Mannering and Hamed 1990).
Stefan Schönfelder, Kay W. Axhausen

Chapter 18. Networked Systems: Challenges in Risk Analysis and Availability Assessment

The well-being of developed countries, i.e., their economy, efficiency, and functionality, rests upon highly networked infrastructural systems, for example, traffic systems and energy and water supply systems. Ubiquitous and familiar, the public is mainly alerted to their existence in the case of interruptions, malfunctions, accidents and disasters and the resulting press coverage, which is also a daily reminder of the simple fact that there is no such thing as perfect technical equipment. However, those undesired events may not be understood as pure fate which must be accepted by everybody. Safety engineers and risk analysts do their very best to understand the dark side of technology in order to identify and rate hazards. But, are they really prepared to face the emerging challenges of networked systems?
Wolfgang Kröger, Ralf Mock

Chapter 19. Material Flow Analysis as a Tool for Sustainable Management of the Built Environment

In Switzerland, infrastructure construction is frequently discussed in regional sustainable development because it causes extensive movement of materials. But construction itself is of decreasing importance in industrial countries, as we expect a slowdown in the growth of the built environment. Hence, the focus of research on sustainability is shifting to management of the existing building stock. As the following figures indicate, management of the built environment is a key process of sustainable regional development. First, maintenance, repair, overhaul (MRO) as well as refurbishment and structural modification require extraction of raw material, use of biomass and generate a large amount of waste (75% of the total mass of waste in Switzerland in 2000). Second, use of the built environment (transportation, dwelling, production) needs almost 60% of the total national energy consumption in Switzerland. Third, the built environment represents an important capital in the national economy that generates demand for the construction industry and capital income for all economic actors.
Susanne Kytzia


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