Urban Ecologies and Key Projects: Interconnected Approaches to Unlock Fragile Local-Regional landscapes
Paper i proceeding, 2016

Concentrating and extending urbanisation processes include changes in networks, decision-making and growth premises, and may reflect and generate uneven conditions for stability and change. Vulnerable situations can appear both in areas of economic growth and in so-called declining environments, and are defined here as fragile urban landscapes: local-regional spatial situations that suffer from inability for adaptation and transformation, with substantial consequences for the development of potentials and synergy effects in sustaining social, political and economic processes in societal change. This research project has developed through extensive collaboration with local-regional planning practice in the Skaraborg region in Sweden. Urban planning needs concepts to describe and rethink current socio-spatial processes of urbanisation, and tools that support re-negotiation of the urban landscape in its full spectrum and from a multitude of centralities to implement relevant and resource-efficient change. With an architectural, design-driven planning approach this paper argues that Urban Ecologies can be made operative as complex productive configurations to clarify urban processes, identify assemblages of relevant contingencies and meaning for specific situations, reveal local-regional potentials and identify interventions that combine or re-combine available local-regional resources. The process of articulating Urban Ecologies is propelled by, and interacts with, specific strategic interventions to enhance combined resources and tackle uneven geographies – here named Key Urban Projects. These projects operate as complementary planning tools that: 1) identify and develop strategic interventions and mappings; 2) constitute bridges between planning and implementation at different scales; 3) establish platforms for critical negotiation that assemble available public and private resources, skills and relevant stakeholders This knowledge-production needs a design thinking that builds and rebuilds assemblages but also contains a productive and relational perspective on the material and physical landscape.. Through theoretical frameworks and empirical cases, the paper discusses how fragile urban landscapes can be addressed and developed. Particular interest is set on roles, functions and responsibilities of local and regional actors, stressing structural, political, discursive and situation-specific initiatives that can trigger change in material, topologic and relational qualities on both local and regional scales, in order to enhance resilience and adaptation

design based research

urban ecologies

design based planning

fragile urban landscapes

key urban projects

local-regional development


Catharina Dyrssen

Chalmers, Arkitektur

Nils Björling

Chalmers, Arkitektur

Beyond-ism: The landscape of Landscape Urbanism


Building Futures (2010-2018)





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