Towards a regional landscape framework: is practice ahead of theory?

21 Feb 2007

The special qualities of regional landscapes of many favoured destinations are increasingly at risk as these regions experience significant in-migration leading to rapid and unplanned population growth. These challenges are particularly acute for metropolitan regions experiencing rapid peri-urban and urban growth. It has been the nature and the rapidity of this population growth that has seriously challenged planners and policy makers responsible for the proper management of these metropolitan regions.

At stake are a number of important landscape attributes that define a region and provide its special locational and environmental qualities that are a major contributing factor to its high degree of liveability and quality of life. It is these special qualities that act as magnetic ‘pull factors’ that contribute to the attraction for the migrating population and establish the region as a popular tourist destination.

In the wake of this experience it is interesting to reflect on whether our current suite of conceptual frameworks that are typically associated with traditional planning paradigms has provided a suitable basis to derive policies to address the key issues of concern. This paper considers the case of the rapidly growing metropolitan region and asks the question: Do we have adequate planning paradigms and conceptual frameworks to safeguard regional landscape values at risk from unchecked peri-urban expansion in rapidly growing metropolitan regions?

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