- Communities of Practice
- Living Labs
- News & Events
- Publication Library
- External Resources
- About us
Live Cases are a real-time journaling process for the Living Lab case studies. Follow along quarterly to learn more about the experiences and lessons learned taking place in the ROBUST Living Labs.
Mon 16 Dec
Live Case 3: The ESP 10 Detour
The envisioning so far proved that we are on the right track. We have been (and still are) refining and operationalising what we set out to do as early as in June 2016 . We fine-tuned the algorithm defining what we coined to be Outer Space and Inner Space. We tested different development scenario approaches and agreed to use a set of two most in line with the formal Regional Spatial Planning procedure.
What has to follow turned out to be tricky: The research about the ecosystems present in the Outer Space and the services they provide. Not to mention the switch to the Inner Space, looking at the demand for ecosystem services induced there.
Our approach is sophisticated and reflects the complexities of a complicated planning task from the real world, which we explained at length in various contexts and languages and on multiple occasions. After all, this LL is integrated in a legally-defined and politically-led procedure.
As an interim result of our research, we realised that we need very specific input from specialised experts, who can answer our ecosystem services research questions within the context of the German legal structures that dictate spatial planning.
Fortunately, the leading experts congregated during the Ecosystem Services Partnership world conference (ESP 10) in Hannover, Germany. The Regional Authority participated in the conference by presenting during the session “B9/T18 - Governance of ecosystem services for rural-urban synergies: bridging science and decision-making session” and attending an extra meeting of the ROBUST EcoSystem Services Community of Practice (COP).
This will not replace our Regional Workshop but provides extra input for it. However, to provide added value for the project, this means we will hold the regional workshop at a later date.
Fri 03 May
Live Case 2: The Ins and Outs of Regional Spatial Planning
Put simply, we are trying to assess the limits to growth in the Frankfurt/Rhein-Main Region.
To this end, we have defined Außenbereich ("Outer Space") and Innenbereich ("Inner Space"), a dichotomy rooted in the German planning laws: There is the built-up area (Inner Space), and the rest. Development – or land take – is consuming parts of this rest, the Outer Space.
The Outer Space is providing ecosystem services, and land take will reduce these services. Demand for ecosystem services is induced by the activies in the Inner Space. After all, we will make up the balance of supply and demand.
In the Envisioning phase we operationalised this. There is a need to reduce complexities and to make assumptions by aggregating regional GIS data, because our database goes into details we do not need to get the picture we want. This process used Baugesetzbuch (Federal Building Law) categories as a guideline.
Outer Space is an aggregation of green areas. It includes priority areas for agriculture and agro land management, forests, ecologically-significant areas, lakes, rivers and priority areas for the extraction of near-surface deposits.
Inner Space consists of residential / mixed / commercials building areas, areas for common use, special building areas, rail, road and air transport, utilities, waste management and sewerage areas.
(It should be noted that both areas in use and areas designed for these uses are covered. Open space within the Inner Space is not regarded as contributing to ecosystem services in this research.)
During the development scenario analytical process, we first tried buffers around the Inner Space areas. Although this was technically viable, we developed a more sophisticated scheme that took a political policy guideline into account: Future development should be concentrated around railway stations.
Technically, this calculation starts with circles around stations. However, numerous restrictions apply and particular areas must be removed from the calculation, including: Natura 2000 sites, nature reserves, (floodplain) landscape conservation areas, natural monuments, protected landscape components, legally effective compensation areas, legally protected biotopes, flood areas, water protection zones 1 and 2, mineral spring protection areas A and B, protected forest, the Roman Limes (a UNESCO World Heritage designation), 1,000 m buffer around wind farms, safety distances around Seveso III utilities, 400 m buffer around high voltage lines, new delimitation of settlement restriction area, and, last but not least, plus forest and the Frankfurt Green Belt (note: Mind that this Green Belt is inside Frankfurt, unlike London’s Green Belt.).
In short, these restrictions substantially reduce the circular development areas around railway stations.
2030 and post-2030 development scenarios for the Frankfurt/Rhein-Main Region
We applied the Systematic Evidence Review. However, we didn’t restrict our approach to just that, but assessed our needs against our resources and designed a specific database and research agenda. We engaged with our internal Regionalverband GIS and ecosystem services experts. Later, we presented our findings to our scientific partners, who are now investigating whether they can provide additional data, information and knowledge.
We now have a set of maps (with the necessary detailed background information) that represent both our Inner Space and our Outer Space, with two ‘development’ scenarios.
That is: assumptions about land take to be made possible through the on-going Regional Land Use Planning process. Accordingly, this is very much in line with what we described in our first Live Case post.
To be continued…
Wed 16 Jan
Live Case 1: Dynamic Planning Processes for a Dynamic Region
The Regionalverband (Regional Authority FrankfurtRheinMain) is a specialised authority and a special one: we do regional land use planning for an exceptionally large area - an area which happens to be among the most prosperous and “dynamic” regions in Europe. “Dynamic” should be seen as a shorthand for growth: for more and more inhabitants, more and more jobs, more and more demand for transport, housing, business areas – which results more and more in the need to transform the Außenbereich (undeveloped spaces outside built-up areas) into built-up areas. But, obviously, the Außenbereich is a finite resource…
Photo: Karlheinz Knickel
ROBUST coincides with the process of drafting a new edition of our Regional Land Use Plan. This process follows a legally-defined procedure, and the Regionalverband has highly-qualified staff and decades of experience to tackle this task. However, this operation is far from being standard because it does not concern the territory of just one municipality (which is what the underlying Federal law assumes), but rather 75 collective municipalities, including the core city of Frankfurt am Main.
We could regard this as experimental already because it has not really been done before – too much has changed since the completion of the previous edition of the Plan. Now what is the real ROBUST experiment then?
We will try to assess the limits to growth:
- How much Außenbereich has to be left to keep this region working?
- How can growth be designed to be smart, sustainable and inclusive, as the Europe 2020 strategy demands?
To this end we will focus on the ecosystems present in the Außenbereich. What services do they provide? Which of them are indispensable? The whole operation will start with quantitative information based on the Regionalverband’s sophisticated database. Next we will check for the need, the availability, and the value of additional information. As the Living Lab develops, we will define a pilot area to be able to go into detail. Rather than looking at the rather heterogeneous 2,458 km2 in total, we will explore a near-to-core area - the peri-urban zone where urban and rural elements coincide and specific situations prevail that are neither purely urban, nor purely rural.
The Regionalverband’s plan is to engage local authorities, thus political and technical representatives will be involved in the Living Lab. One of the challenges will be to avoid the "nice-to-have" trap: Ecosystem services aren’t limited to endangered species or areas of outstanding natural beauty. This is why this Living Lab has links to two other Communities of Practice. With this Living Lab our planning decisions will be even better informed. Beyond our own area, the results can have an influence on the further refinement of the German planning system, because, after all, this is a sophisticated interpretation of the legal provisions done by one of the big players in this business.