Integrated and sustainable urban development planning - An empirical case study on the reflection of the Leipzig Charter’s principles in the context of German local urban planning

Detta är en Magister-uppsats från Blekinge Tekniska Högskola/DSN

Sammanfattning: This master’s thesis deals with the concept of integrated urban development planning as e.g. promoted in the Leipzig Charter on Sustainable European Cities. The legally non-binding character of the EU policy document raises the question of its implementation. On the local level, the drawing up of Integrated Urban Development Concepts (ISEKs) is recommended as strategic planning tool. However, the competence of the EU in urban affairs is limited and the preparation of such planning documents is subject to local self-governance. The purpose of this thesis is therefore to analyse, how the principles of integrated and sustainable urban development planning as laid out in the Leipzig Charter are reflected in local planning documents. Due to ambiguous definitions, the dimensions of the planning concept are presented in detail within the theoretical framework of this thesis. This is backed-up with policy statements and scientific evidence. Moreover, the concept is embedded in a broader planning theoretical framework since reference to planning theory is partly missing in the current discourse. In line with methodological requirements, the analysis provides a comprehensive description of the rhetorical context on integrated urban development planning on European and national level. It is outlined that this discourse is shaped by various actors in a multi-level setting with complex interrelationships. A qualitative content analysis has been chosen in order to assess the dimensions ‘integration’ and ‘sustainability’ in selected ISEKs. Since a comprehensive national framework and long experience in the application of integrated planning exists in Germany, a case study has been conducted for the cities of Greifswald, Kiel, Lübeck and Schwerin. The empirical analysis illustrates a great variety in the reflection of the dimensions of integrated planning as well as different approaches in the application of the sustainability paradigm. Besides the varying approaches, a high level of consistency with the principles laid out in the Leipzig Charter can be observed. However, these findings cannot be traced back to the awareness about the EU policy document. In contrast, other endogenous and exogenous motives for the ISEK preparation can be identified. They include the multi-faceted challenges for urban development as well as financial incentives or requirements within national programmatic frameworks. Nevertheless, the ISEKs include a European dimension as the reference to EU Structural Funds, EU initiatives in urban policy as well as cooperation within European city-networks shows. Further findings include that differences in the ISEK preparation in East and West Germany exists. They are explained by varying initial conditions and motives as well as different programmatic frameworks in the two Federal States Schleswig-Holstein and Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. Even though integrated urban development planning is promoted as a prerequisite for sustainable development, no clear evidence could be found in the analysis. Obstacles for the operationalization of the sustainability paradigm as well as the focus on the content and preparation process of the ISEKs are explanations here. The thesis concludes with some personal reflections under consideration of theoretical concerns and empirical findings. They bear the potential of recommendations for those involved in the ISEK preparation process.

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