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Placemaking in the RhineMain Regionalpark
Blekinge Institute of Technology, Faculty of Engineering, Department of Spatial Planning.
2014 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (One Year))Student thesis
Abstract [en]

This thesis presents a case study on the RhineMain Regionalpark in the context of placemaking and governance. As the second-oldest regional park in Germany, the RhineMain Regionalpark offers vast green open spaces all throughout the region for leisure and recreation to citizens and visitors. At the same time, it promotes sustainable development and regional identity. Placemaking, on the other hand, describes a collective process of transforming places. It aims at giving meaning to places. Further, governance as a concept provides a tool for analyzing cooperative steering processes. It allows actors from different levels and backgrounds to operate in informal, network-like structures. In the literature, there is advocacy in favor of the assumption of a connection which would allow governance to form as a result of placemaking. Drawing on this theory, we will set out to investigate how the RhineMain Regionalpark utilizes such concepts.

Abstract [sv]

This thesis presents a case study to investigate the concepts of governance and placemaking in the context of the RhineMain Regionalpark in Germany. The inves-tigation of these concepts was chosen based on a theory developed by Fürst et al., which hypothesizes a relation between the two. There, placemaking can promote the development of governance, by first fostering the building of social capital, which can entail the building of governance. Following this hypothesis, the objectives were to find traces of governance, placemaking and civic involvement in the regional park's organization, goals and activities. First, the framework of communicative planning as outlined by Bischoff et al. is introduced, which ranks the terms of information, participation and cooperation by increasing intensity of communication. Then, the concept of governance is described, which subsumes various forms of self-steering processes, in which actors from different backgrounds cooperate complementarily to formal structures. The connection between communicative planning and governance is that of cooperation. Second, to understand the term placemaking, it is defined in contrast to the term of urban design. The latter focuses on the result of transformation of space, while the former focuses on the collective transformation process where identifica-tion with the place can result from involvement. Subsequently, governance and placemaking are put into relation to one another via Fürst et al.'s theory as outlined above. Open spaces are an important aspect of planning in metropolitan regions. They represent both opportunities and challenges. The former lay in e.g. providing areas for recreation and leisure, promoting sustainable development as well as by constituting a soft location factor. The latter lay e.g. in connecting fragmented residual open spaces and recultivation of abandoned sites. Regional parks are informal instruments for open space development, addressing these opportunities and challenges. While the formal instruments of spatial planning, green belts and breaks, are adequate tools to secure open space, regional parks extend their focus by attempting to secure green open space through its use by citizens and valorization. The context of the case study is the RhineMain Regionalpark, which is the second-oldest regional park in Germany. The goals, organization and activities within that regional park were analyzed with respect to governance, placemaking and civic involvement. Even though the regional park's goals appear to reflect many of the traits of placemaking, provisions for any such cooperative measures could hardly be found in its formal structure. However, regarding the many volunteering individuals and local actors which are involved in the RhineMain Regionalpark's activities, forms of informal self-organization reminiscent of governance and placemaking efforts at individual sites within the regional park's premises were identified. Finally, the thesis concludes that even though cooperative concepts such as governance, placemaking and civic involvement bear the potential to support the RhineMain Regionalpark's pursuit of its own goals, these are not sufficiently embedded in its organizational framework.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2014. , 88 p.
Keyword [en]
regional park, placemaking, governance
National Category
Environmental Analysis and Construction Information Technology
URN: urn:nbn:se:bth-4680Local ID: diva2:832027
Available from: 2015-04-22 Created: 2014-12-05 Last updated: 2015-06-30Bibliographically approved

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