Governance for sustainable spatial development – a comparative study of Luxembourg and Switzerland


CALL: 2012

DOMAIN: SR - Spatial and Urban Development





HOST INSTITUTION: University of Luxembourg

KEYWORDS: Sustainable Spatial Development, Governance, Rescaling, Comparative Study, Luxembourg, Switzerland

START: 2013-04-01

END: 2015-03-31


Submitted Abstract

The project, SUSTAIN_GOV, aims at investigating sustainable spatial development policies in the context of governance, both with respect to Luxembourg and, as a comparative ap-proach, to the Swiss planning system and urban transformation processes in the ‘Glattal-Stadt’. The primary objective is to examine ways obstacles in governance can be overcome to realize programmes of integrated sustainable development.SUSTAIN_GOV builds directly from the strong conceptual and empirical foundations es-tablished by the “SUSTAINLUX Project” (CO9/SR/01) that has thus far shown that the Grand Duchy’s policy, planning practices, and institutions of governance remain underdeveloped. Despite the intense urbanization pressure, the strong strains on land resources and infra-structure, and the political dilemmas these issues raise, policy, planning and governance practices in the Grand Duchy fail to meet best-practice standards and requirements, particu-larly in the domain citizen involvement in public decision-making. As pressure on already scarce resources will only increase, there is vital need to find new constellations of stake-holder co-operation and participation. SUSTAIN_GOV will bring into sharper focus a more nuanced scientific understanding of participation, governance, and integrated sustainable spatial development, and an in-depth evaluation of existing spatial planning, policy, and gov-ernance patterns in the Grand Duchy. SUSTAIN_GOV thus refers to the objectives 4.2.5 of the 2012 CORE Programme Description within the thematic research domain ‘Sustainable Resource Management in Luxembourg’The proposed research is informed by a robust and contemporary set of conceptual ap-proaches, that shape current urban and regional literatures: 1) the organizing processes of social, institutional, and political arrangements as seen in the works of Krueger and Gibbs 2012); 2) Brenner’s (2004) work on state restructuring, scale and re-scaling; and, 3) the ‘comparative turn’ in urban studies as seen in the works of Ward (2010) and Robinson (2011). The research design follows a vigorous qualitative methodological approach that en-sures for the highest levels of scientific rigor, while being nimble enough to account for im-portant place-based differences. The reflective comparative approach is informed by ‘inter-pretive institutionalism’ (Krueger and Gibbs 2012), and includes an analysis of Swiss plan-ning documents, extensive expert interviews with key actors in the Swiss planning system, to formulate a discourse analysis. SUSTAIN_GOV will provide much needed data and analysis to enhance theories and concepts in how policies travel and can be compared across space, and, in policy-related terms, how Luxembourg’s spatial planning policy could be improved.

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