The influence of spatial planning on settlement development in Germany and Switzerland: A comparative analysis of governance capacity and impacts
Regional planning is said to be one of the best researched fields of spatially related planning research. It seems, however, that in recent years research interest in regional planning has somewhat declined, despite the fact that the field remains an extremely interesting research object for a number of reasons. Regional planning has a role in both horizontal and vertical coordination and is fundamentally suitable for the analysis of governance problems that embrace a number of levels and sectors. It is one of the few organizations that – in some cases “under one roof” – is involved in both the process of strategic agenda setting and the implementation of those agendas.
The management of settlement development is traditionally seen as one of the core tasks of regional planning. In the debate on preventive climate protection and climate adaptation, questions concerning spatial land-use management have recently attracted increased attention.
The possible impacts of regional planning are nonetheless not uncontroversial in Germany and Switzerland, as also in other Western industrial countries. On the one hand, the efficacy of regional planning is largely denied, or at least the weak implementation of regional planning goals criticized. On the other hand, regional planning is frequently censured for hindering growth and regional development by applying overly stringent regulations.
This controversy, which is also political in nature, represents the starting point of the research project. The goal is to undertake a bi-national comparison of two federal countries in order to investigate the actual impact of regional planning on settlement development within regional governance structures.