Jun 2019, Volume 7 Issue 3

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    Kongjian YU

    This article firstly examines the relationship between social form and landscape resilience and argues that a polycentric governance model is conducive to enhancing landscape resilience. By analyzing the social governance model and the landscape pattern of the Peach Blossom Land, it reveals how this fictional world was ideally shaped by an autonomous grassroots society and sustainable productive landscape. The ancient Huizhou Region perfectly illustrates how a local social governance based on family disciplines, clan rules, folk beliefs, and ethics, supplemented by the imperial power, has maintained the resilience and sustainability of its beautiful and productive ecological landscape in a long term, making itself a Peach Blossom Land in the hilly area of Southeast China and free from natural disasters and wars. Finally, the author proposes that although the Industrial Civilization has undermined the resilience of China’s landscape, Peach Blossom Lands are now reemerging under the Beautiful China Construction and Ecological Civilization programs.

    Wei LIU

    Landscapes are complex adaptive socialecological systems that encompass human and natural and built environments, and provide essential public and common goods to societies. Facing fast socio-economic, environmental, and policy changes and increasing uncertainties, building resilience has emerged as a main objective for landscape planning, design, and management. A key strategy to make landscape social-ecological systems resilient is to form appropriate governance forms that can be responsive and adaptive to external shocks and other stressors. Polycentricity is such a form that has been proven to enhance resilience. By analyzing a variety of cases, it demonstrates polycentricity — both its breadth of inclusion and collaborative degree — can affect governance outcomes. This is the best of times to become more plural in theory and methodology in order to have a stronger capacity of navigating the complexities of landscape social-ecological systems.


    The both polycentric governance and Living Labs concepts are based on decentralized participatory planning, co-design, and decisionmaking. While the concept of Living Lab is still emerging, the Isar-Plan (2000 ~ 2011) pioneered the approach for selecting, co-designing, and implementing nature-based solutions along the Isar River in Munich, Germany. Despite multiple governing authorities involved in the decisionmaking process of the Isar-Plan, the polycentric governance that led to the success of the project has to date not been analyzed. This paper presents the results of an ex-post-analysis of the Isar-Plan restoration planning process based on stakeholder interviews and a literature review. The contribution describes the evolution of Isar-Plan governance arrangements and discusses the Living Lab approaches to cooperative governance. The analysis demonstrates how polycentricity facilitated trust, learning, and the co-design of a resilient waterscape. The paper concludes that Living Labs can be a way of applying polycentric governance when autonomous and multi-scale decision-makers are collaboratively involved in the design of policy solutions, and vice-versa.


    Flood retention, in particular controlled flood retention, plays an increasingly prominent role in the portfolio of flood risk management strategies. Though a highly effective measure to reduce the risk of flooding for vulnerable areas, flood retention is land-intensive and infringes on landowners’ property rights. Implementation efforts are thus often hampered by the lack of availability of land as well as by the growing demands of (agricultural) landowners for compensation of flood retention services. The proliferation of flood retention not only changes riparian land uses but also results in a shift of authority, power, and agency to lower levels of government as well as to non-governmental actors, including the private landowners who provide the land for flooding but also those who benefit from flood retention. By the example of a compensation scheme for the controlled flood retention in Altenmarkt, an alpine municipality in Austria, this paper explores these nascent forms of governance through the lens of polycentricity. Along five core propositions in polycentric theory, the paper evaluates the governance implications of flood retention compensation in Austria and discusses the possibilities and limitations of flood retention for enhancing landscape resilience in riparian areas.

    ORDÓÑEZ Camilo

    Nature-based solutions can help build resilience in urban landscapes. New governance arrangements have been suggested for assisting local governments in implementing nature-based solutions. A dominant nature-based solution initiative is the activities and policies directed at the increase of the number of trees and treecanopy coverage in a city. This study explores how polycentric governance of urban forests may operate by focusing on how key decision-makers coordinate their priorities and actions in urban forestry decisions. A stakeholder-centered view on polycentric governance is taken, specifically focused on the view of municipal managers, to develop a better understanding of the social systems behind the implementation of naturebased solutions. This was done by using social data elicited from 19 in-depth interviews with urban forest managers working in nine local councils in Greater Melbourne, Australia. The data analyses show that the most important decisions that municipal managers make, and where other stakeholders have the most influence, relate to tree removal for developments, significant tree retention, tree planting for site renewal, and ageing trees removal. The most important stakeholders influencing these decisions include other municipal departmental units, developers, state actors, and residents. Non-governmental greening groups do not play a very important role. Various types of coordination, such as the ones between municipal departments, between nongovernmental stakeholders (especially developers and residents), between state government policies, as well as public consultation, are needed to better mobilize stakeholders’ influence and input. Capitalizing on greening groups that aim to retain trees in urban areas, not just planting more trees, can potentially support the current decisions made by municipal managers, which respond to urbanization pressures.

    Zheng LI, Xin PEI

    Globally, accelerated urbanization has wrapped more and more mountain landscapes into metropolitan areas as water sources or residential and recreational spaces. Such mountain landscapes are usually governed by multiple agencies, which means that its sustainable development largely depends on the effectiveness of the collective actions among these agencies. This paper examines the case of the Santa Monica Mountains in California, the United States by analyzing relevant oral histories, acts and ordinances, study reports, planning documents, and GIS data to depict the whole picture of the evolution of its cooperative planning and management. It is found that the polycentric governance in the Santa Monica Mountains emerged as a response to the deterioration of natural resource and the increasing outdoor recreation needs against the backdrop of urbanization. The California State government developed coastal zone protection guidelines and established conservancies, while the federal government cooperated with local governments and communities by forming a national recreation area. These methods helped the governing agencies tactically cope with the real estate development, changing political climate, shrinking financial allocation, rising land prices, and conceptual shifts in environmental protection. This polycentric governance mode was also applied to other mountain areas in the vicinity to form a regionalscale resilient landscape. The authors argue that the case of the Santa Monica Mountains reveals how the polycentric governance works on strengthening landscape resilience, which shows an important reference for contemporary China.

    Setiadi SUGENG Edwin, VARMA Navarun, Aaron SMITH Zachary

    Governance deficit in Jakarta, Indonesia is often associated to its pressing issues of too much, too little, and too dirty water. Although flood has become an important political issue and the government is pushing a landscape change in the riverbank areas, the public policy in Jakarta has yet to comprehend the complex linkages between the gap in water provisioning and flooding.

    Flood is one major issue that has affected Jakarta since as early as 1872. Subsequently, major flood events occurred with the most recent being in 2015. To solve this problem, the government has implemented several policies, with the most recent one named as “Normalisasi.” This policy focuses on increasing the flow capacity of the river to prevent it from overflowing during heavy rain events. Under this policy, the government claims eviction of informal settlements from the riverbank areas; widening rivers and canals; and dredging the river beds. Many scholars have criticized the overly technocratic framing of this policy, its covert agenda for attracting investments in infrastructure development in catchment areas, lack of empathy towards informal settlers, along with lack of vision for an inclusive and resilient socio-hydrological system.

    This study uses system dynamics modeling to illustrate the interplay of social and hydrogeomorphological factors leading to Jakarta’s vulnerability to flooding and to evaluate the policy response of Normalisasi against this vulnerability and future risk scenarios. The model is further used to test and compare two categories of policy strategies of increasing dredging efficacy and an integrated waterscape policy. Though the former seemed cost-efficient in short term and less complex in terms of governance, the latter will help in long-term resilience as it considers the Jakarta flooding issue more holistically with future climate risks. However, implementation of such an integrated waterscape policy requires the institutionalization of polycentric governance and also needs a boundary organization to increase participation of diverse actors across governance levels.

    Gina ZIERVOGEL, Mark NEW, Wei LIU

    Half of humanity now lives in cities and the net inflow of population into cities will continue. Among all challenges faced by cities, the provisioning for water and sanitation is probably the most pressing one. From 2017 to 2018, the city of Cape Town in South Africa frequently made itself media headlines around the world, in many languages, for its severe water shortage due to consecutive years of drought that later resulted in a water crisis. Fortunately, the potential “Day Zero” when the city would run out of water, did not arrive. However, the crisis exposed a lack of resilience in the city’s water supply system in the face of ongoing climate change and a governance gap for climate adaptation. Many cities, especially those in the Global South, can learn from Cape Town’s experience and lessons on how to enhance governance to become more climate-resilient. Mark New and Gina Ziervogel, the interviewees, have been devoting themselves to studying about the Cape Town drought, and working on establishing the Cape Town Drought Response Learning Initiative. In this article, they analyzed the influence of climate change on Cape Town drought and the water supply system, and suggested effective methods to address and prevent the drought and water shortage. Ziervogel briefly described her adaptive and water-sensitive city framework while both of them revealed the role of Cape Town Drought Response Learning Initiative in making Cape Town more resilient.

    Zhenwei ZHANG

    With the development of landscape discipline and governance theories, “landscape governance” has become a new frontier of inter-disciplinary research, and is considered a sub-topic and extension of “environmental governance.” Institution is an important factor to the development of landscape governance theory and practice. Since the Eighteenth National Congress of the Communist Party of China in 2012, the construction of Ecological Civilization has marked itself a new milestone for its systematic top-down design and institution-oriented efforts. At the same time, the Third Plenary Session of the Eighteenth Central Committee of the Communist Party of China in 2013 proposed to improve the contemporary national governance system and capacity, and took governance as a new means to evaluate state capacities and state-society relations. Both of them will significantly impact landscape planning, design, protection, and management in China.

    This article reviews the evolution of western landscape governance theories driven by 1) the emphasis on the spatial scale effect of landscape; 2) the exploration of the regional variety of cultural and collective identities of local landscapes; and 3) the emphasis on the practice of landscape governance. It also examines the opportunities in China’s landscape governance brought by the institutional improvement of Ecological Civilization, which might help: resolve the inherent conflicts that cause the existing environmental and ecological problems; enhance China’s capacity on landscape governance; establish a new land-use management system with a greater ecological security and broader ecosystem services; endow landscapes with more public benefits; cultivate a civil society and democracy in landscape governance; and, influence the education and research of Landscape Architecture in multiple dimensions. Finally, the article proposes roadmaps for China’s landscape governance at both global and national scales.

    Richard SHAW

    Colorado’s Front Range runs parallel to Interstate 25 from the Wyoming border to the Colorado Springs, offering some of the most spectacular scenery in the world. This area of the United States was growing fast and development and construction continued to change the skyline. Colorado Conservation Trust Fund, in collaboration with Design Workshop Inc., initiated the Interstate 25 Conservation Corridor Master Plan to engage conservation organizations, government entities, private landowners, and residents in conserving open lands to forever protect scenic vistas, water quality, wildlife, clean air, and recreational opportunities along the corridor. Devised to offer solutions to the surrounding uncontrolled sprawl, the plan leveraged unique planning methods and limited development strategies to achieve what had been previously considered impossible: the preservation of over 100,000 acres of open space along Colorado’s Front Range.

    Wenmo ZHANG, Xiaoye XING, Jiawen CHEN, Yuqing NIE

    As one of the eight major green wedges within Shanghai’s overall urban planning in the city center, Sanlin Valley Park serves as an important intersection between ecological corridors along the Huangpu River and Shanghai’s outer ring road. During the rapid urbanization process, the city’s ecology has been facing constant deterioration. Furthermore, the city is experiencing an alarming loss of biodiversity, as well as increasingly severe urban heat island effect. To alleviate these issues, the project adopts a “valley” concept as the core of its design and utilizes thoughtful design strategies in five aspects: water management, wind corridors and micro-climates, ecosystem, transportation, and program and experience. With these strategies, the design team aims to improve the site’s connectivity, restore its ecology, reshape habitats, create a resilient landscape, and forge a vibrant urban hub that can also serve as the city’s ecological research base.

    During the design process, the design team adopts certain principles of landscape practices within the USA — that a project should encourage public participation of all socio-economic levels and place emphasis on the experience and benefits of the public. This form of multi-lateral cooperation allows for the park to constantly have its design plan reviewed and improved. It also allows for iterative responses to issues on the ground during construction. Last but not least, it instigates careful considerations of how to manage the park and its ecosystem, both in terms of cost and feasibility. By adopting all of these principles, the design team aspires to truly accede to citizens’ needs, all while introducing a sustainable ecosystem that would, ultimately, contribute to a much improved ecology and economy.

    Xiaoxuan LU

    Tirana, capital of Albania, is a city where voices are silenced and identities remain opaque. With a tumultuous and dark history, Tirana’s political landscape, which is inherent to public trust, has been fractured. Then, how can the public realm be reconceived to better express individual and collective voices? This project explores how cultural forms of identity, memory, and voice found in Albanian textiles can be interpreted at the urban scale. The master plan currently implemented in the city scarcely recognizes public spaces but allocates new poly-center developments. Grounding the project in one of these poly-centers, a derelict textile factory, cultural memory is interpreted, extracted, and manifested in a multi-faceted urban development. Such a process aims to operate as a business incubator, housing and public space, community agriculture, and transitoriented development. This project aspires to reposition the city’s history by excavating the past through soil remediation, new forms of labor, and community development. Unlocking this memory and restructuring its texture will form a liberated, vocal, and free public realm.

    Zehui DU

    With the population boom and the rapid industrial and agricultural development, regional water demand has exceeded the supply capacity in Turpan. Modern water infrastructure not only made the unique ecosystem formed by the Karez out-of-balance, but also devitalized the oasis civilization and the indigenous cultural landscape associated with the Karez. Taking the Karez system as an example, this article proposes planning and design schemes and roadmaps based on a regional polycentric governance model to explore a new path of public environmental governance which coordinates the interests of all stakeholders. Four strategies are proposed: 1) establishing the water account management system; 2) establishing an ecological agriculture water saving and control mechanism; 3) introducing an agriculture-husbandry-fishery circular development mode; and 4) revitalizing abandoned space. By re-identifying water supply and demand, rebalancing the existing resources and regional development, and encouraging the role of landscape as ecological infrastructure, resilient landscape and sustainable resource utilization could be realized to maximize the public interest.