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    The peripheralization on the edge of Denmark: Place-based development in a local context

    Mikkel Sølbeck
    May 3, '17 8:01 AM EST

    Urbanization had become a significant phenomenon world-wide rapidly escalating. As a consequence, people are moving from the peripheral areas into the cities leaving the areas into unsettle dust areas.

    The undertaking phenomenon of urbanization has a drastic impact on the development of the peripheral areas. It generates an intensifying shrinkage effect impacting the peripheral context with a declination in jobs, businesses, higher aging population and unpolluted houses. Without any confrontation from the government, municipality and the local public the phenomenon can become an undesirable ongoing spiral. 

    To face these trending challenges of urbanization we have to ask our self how to address them? Is it possible to change the dynamics of the evolving process of peripheralization and actively using the place-based context to sustain the development and quality of life?

    A dynamic shift in the mobility of people 

    The peripheralization is a complex and dynamic process that transfers capital, power and innovations between different regions based on the core-periphery pattern, but this position is not rigid but inconstant. Globalization might make these transitions even faster and the peripheries could be even more vulnerable to challenges they have to face in the future.

    The rising urbanization affects peripheral areas with a variety of characteristic problems such as unemployment, lack of educated and skilled workers and also a burden of an aging population, and economic problems that makes it difficult in practice to maintain the public service.

    In Denmark there is clear evidence of urbanization, when more and more people are moving into the urban areas. This has an impact on the development in the peripheral Danish municipalities as the younger people migrate to the cities leaving the rural areas behind.

    Drastic changes in the pattern of settlement, investment and prospects

    The centralization of institutions and infrastructure has led to limited prospects of people living in the peripheral areas to have and an adequate basis for living as they do not have the same possibilities to earn an income. This affects the settlement and the conditions for development in the peripheral areas.

    The progressive development is causing dramatic changes in the peripheral landscape, where many of the rural areas become abandoned and they are under pressure that generates a slow succession of the rural environment. The villages and small towns presently consist of a large amount of unpopulated not liveable houses and agricultural buildings. This affects the environment aesthetically and visually gives a negative impression to the public and potential movers.

    Problems of peripheries relies mostly on their remote position, but are also connected with the global phenomena. Certain regions are declining and shrinking, but the others are prospering. Due to metropolization and centralization certain sectors and industries are moved to the metropolises and peripheral or former industrial areas are struggling with consequences of restructuralization, demographic global trends or insufficient service provisions.

    The problems of rural areas and their intensity differ between countries, but still these core-problems can be categorized in a basic typology showed above.

    The municipal planning as a visionary tool for facilitation 

    The municipal planning has become an important feature in relation to the political understanding, dialogue and the participation of citizens, nongovernmental organizations and other stakeholders in the planning. Planners focus on the urban areas and that undermines the synergy effect of comprehensive planning for the towns and the countryside.

    Different strategies are used within the regions with different results. The important tool for managing decline is the strategic planning that enables to identify the main challenges, create a vision and define the main priorities and concrete steps and initiatives for achieving the vision.

    An essential attribute is to plan with consideration of values of the place and region. Even though there is a set of solutions that can be implied for managing the decline the specifics of the region have to be taken into concern. Context is the essential element that influences the planning process, but also the result.

    Planning in a local place-based context of values

    So, what is then the solutions for the planners challenged with the uneasy task to work in these conditions? From the general point of view, it is important to accept the basic circumstances than to spend the energy on fighting decline with a growth agenda. Even though the determinants can change dramatic over time and the process is not linear.

    But instead of focusing on the general proclamation and processes, we have to consider the local context of the planning and development in periphery. The strategic plans should be focused on the visions for the future, but it is hard to predict it and there will always be new external or internal factors that will influence and perhaps change the previous strategy.

    The strategic plans can in a way lack selection of individual sectors in order to build a unique identity. The municipalities have to be in a sense more clearly in the planning process as the development depends on the legal framework and the strategic management of the future.

    Active collaboration between the public and private

    The other important factor is not to fight alone, but cooperate even though it is not always easy. The cooperation with the government in the case of legal changes and implementation is significant. Secondly, to cooperate with the agencies and NGOs since they can be a big resource of knowledge.

    Thirdly, to cooperate with the nearby municipalities within the region to share a vision, but also the implementation of strategies since we have to plan as a unity and not develop separately. Furthermore, to cooperate with the people in the municipality because they are the main resource and the main asset of the areas and facilitation of the development.

    Civic engagement and social values creates the biggest potential in regard of future development in the peripheries. The inhabitants are more involved in the responsibilities to improve the place. Moreover, they can feel the closer connection between them and the politicians or planners because of the idea of the community.

    The aim is to support these spontaneous communities and benefit from them. The municipalities are trying to empower citizens since they might be sometimes the only solutions for functional remote areas. This feeling of community and identity is one of the main privileges of living in the rural areas and since people are looking for certainty. The identity of the place plays an important role in this aspect because of the closer relationships among the locals.

    The values of nature in the periphery attracting people 

    The natural surroundings have to be recognized as a big asset to the development of the periphery. By the promotion of living close to green and natural surroundings, the development of those areas approaches to circumstances like peaceful, safety or leisure. This rural way of living offers the contrast to the dynamic way of living in the city. The rural way of living can benefit from bigger freedom and more space.

    Even though areas can benefit from tourism the main focus should be on the local people rather than tourists. Due to these reasons and other attributes like attracting people to rural areas as nature, less pollution or closer society. The peripheral areas have big potential of development even though there is a long journey to successful development.

    Technological globalization driving towards jobs

    From another perspective, different trends like workplaces on an internet hookup, sharing economic, clustering of villages and a range of civic engagement and solutions all have a potential to change the situation in the peripheral. If just some of these trends get main stream, they have the potential to change some of the effects. The information effect and the psychological effect could be challenged.

    Moving towards place-based development and quality of life

    We have to see positively towards the place-based assets and values of the local context of the peripheral areas and adjust the facilitation of the strategic planning process by enhancing the development adapting and utilizing the potentials of quality of life.   

    The main focus should be on the values and identity of the place and the people as the main assets. The peripheries have to be aware of their strengths and develop in the place-based context more than just trying to use the same general pattern as the others.



     
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360 ° Livable Urbanism is featuring articles with subjective approaches and theories on how to actively contribute as urban planners in today’s modern society with different thematic inputs to sustain and innovate the way we as highly diverse planners facilitate the process of planning towards sustainable cities in balance with the current policy framework, sectors, interest and other relevant aspects.

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