Energy Transition: Missed Opportunities and Emerging Challenges for Landscape Planning and Designing

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Abstract

Making the shift from fossil fuels to renewable energy seems inevitable. Because energy transition poses new challenges and opportunities to the discipline of landscape architecture, the questions addressed in this paper are: (1) what landscape architects can learn from successful energy transitions in Güssing, Jühnde and Samsø; and (2) to what extent landscape architecture (or other spatial disciplines) contributed to energy transition in the aforementioned cases. An exploratory, comparative case study was conducted to identify differences and similarities among the cases, to answer the research questions, and to formulate recommendations for further research and practice. The comparison indicated that the realized renewable energy systems are context-dependent and, therefore, specifically designed to meet the respective energy demand, making use of the available potentials for renewable energy generation and efficiency. Further success factors seemed to be the presence of (local) frontrunners and a certain degree of citizen participation. The relatively smooth implementation of renewable energy technologies in Jühnde and on Samsø may indicate the importance of careful and (partly) institutionalized consideration of landscape impact, siting and design. Comparing the cases against the literature demonstrated that landscape architects were not as involved as they, theoretically, could have been. However, particularly when the aim is sustainable development, rather than “merely” renewable energy provision, the integrative concept of “sustainable energy landscapes” can be the arena where landscape architecture and other disciplines meet to pursue global sustainability goals, while empowering local communities and safeguarding landscape quality.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4386-4415
JournalSustainability
Volume6
Issue number7
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2014

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Keywords

  • renewable energy
  • austria

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