Social learning can benefit decision-making in landscape planning: Gartow case study on climate change adaptation, Elbe valley biosphere reserve

Albert, C. and Zimmermann, T. and Knieling, J. and Haaren, C. v (2012) Social learning can benefit decision-making in landscape planning: Gartow case study on climate change adaptation, Elbe valley biosphere reserve. Landscape and Urban Planning, 105 (4). pp. 347-367.

[img] PDF - Published Version
Restricted to ICRISAT researchers only


This paper uses a planning experiment to empirically investigate possible social learning outcomes of landscape and urban planning with benefits for decision-making. Building on C. Steinitz’ Framework for Alternative Futures Studies, a framework for participatory scenario-based landscape planning (SLP) is developed and used in a three-month climate adaptation planning process involving up to 37 local actors in Gartow, Germany. The evaluation of social learning outcomes follows the premise of action research and employs a mixed-method approach. The research shows that SLP can successfully generate social learning outcomes among participants. Observed social learning outcomes include gains in substantive knowledge (e.g. on climate change impacts), procedural knowledge (e.g. on alternative adaptation strategies), understanding of different perspectives, as well as social and technical skills. Participants named several potential impacts of social learning outcomes on their future decision-making, including enhanced awareness, altered agendas, and better social relations. The SLP process and its results formed the basis and inducement for further collaboration of local actors and external consultants in the development of a coordinated mission statement (Leitbild) for climate change adaptation.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: We are grateful for the support of the major of the Greater Community of Gartow, Friedrich-Wilhelm Schroeder, and the head of the municipal office, Lutz Haas, for their openness to support the case study. We also thank the many workshop participants without whom the planning process would not have been possible. Carl Steinitz provided very useful comments on the design of the planning process and its evaluation. Juliane Hildebrand was helpful in organizing the workshops. Filip Ahrend assumed tasks in developing the Leitbild and, together with Adam Gancarczyk, contributed to the preparation of illustrations. Daniel Bick helped in the statistical analysis. Sylvia Herrmann and two anonymous reviewers provided very useful comments on the manuscript. The research was funded through a grant for the KLIMZUG-Nord project from the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) as well as the Metropolitan Region and the City of Hamburg. CA held a PhD-scholarship of the German National Academic Foundation (Studienstiftung des Deutschen Volkes); it is gratefully acknowledged.
Uncontrolled Keywords: Participatory planning, Climate change, Adaptation, Scenarios, Social learning
Author Affiliation: Leibniz Universität Hanover, Institute of Environmental Planning, Herrenhaeuser Str. 2, 30419 Hanover, Germany
Subjects: Atmosperic Science > Climatology
Divisions: General
Depositing User: Mr Siva Shankar
Date Deposited: 25 Apr 2012 06:00
Last Modified: 25 Apr 2012 06:00
Official URL:

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item