Dear ladies and gentlemen,
I am glad to have the opportunity to talk to you about the tasks of landscape architecture - not the least because, in my opinion, during the last three decades we have witnessed significant trends leading into the wrong direction.
During a brief overview I would like to demonstrate that the existing German laws related to environmental protection and planning policy are no longer compatible with the current scientific state of the art and with the "realities on the ground". Indeed, I will argue that clinging anxiously to obsolete, conventional lines of thought would be rather harmful. However, I am also going to tell you that there do exist reasonable strategies for treating our landscape in a sustainable way, paving the road to a positive future development.
Let's start with a look at the Bavarian environmental protection act (Naturschutzgesetz). There, we read (paragraph 3, 2nd section, sentence 2):
"The local requirements and measures for the implementation of the aims of nature protection and landscape conservation are being documented in landscape plans, as part of the zoning plan..."
According to § 1 of the German Federal Environmental Conservation Act (Bundesnaturschutzgesetz) "nature and landscape are to be protected, cultivated and developed , in inhabited and uninhabited areas..."
This gives rise to the first of the problems we are going to dicuss: As landscape has to be understood as the composition of the land with all its inhabited and non-inhabited areas, so-called landscape plans also pretend to apply to all animate and inanimate parts thereof. As a consequence, this means that landscape plans have to be evaluated and approved in a holistic, comprehensive way. They can no longer be the domain (and approved by) environmental protection agencies alone.
However, this problem could be alleviated by reshuffling competence, e.g. by strengthening the involvement of those citizens affected by these plans. Maybe the procedures of "Agenda 21" (which have begun to be implemented at many places now) can be helpful in that regard.
Indeed, we see that the more substantial and relevant question is the following: Can there actually be something like landscape planning at all?
In order to answer this question we will have to consider as well in more detail the second part of the phrase "landscape planning" - namely planning and plans.