European Conference of the

Landscape Research Group

Energy Landscapes

Perception, Planning, Participation

and Power

European Conference of the Landscape Research Group 2015

Energy Landscapes

Perception, Planning, Participation and Power

Call for papers

Landscapes have always been closely intertwined with energies. The sources of energy available at a given time and place strongly influence the ways people inhabit, perceive and shape landscapes. Whether hydropower, extraction of gas, oil and coal, wind farms, bio-energy, solar power or nuclear energy – landscapes are affected or transformed by infrastructures of energy production, storage, transport and consumption. The transformations are perceived, discussed, disputed; they are starting points for planning and policy procedures. Energy transitions are enormously important for the landscapes.

The conference is motivated by the assumptions that energy landscapes are the outcome of a myriad of individual and societal choices and associated processes that underpin these. It is intended to shed light on four aspects. The first concerns the ways in which energy landscapes are perceived, assessed and evaluated by different persons, how landscapes are socially constructed through discourses, visions and images and how attitudes to energy landscapes are related to identities ("perception"). Both politicians and spatial planners often have to make disputed decisions related to energy technologies, in which not only perceptions, but also legal provisions, planning cultures and the processing and visualising of spatial data play a role ("planning"). In order to comply with demands for greater landscape democracy, planners and decision-makers are challenged to devise more deliberative and inclusionary processes, involving a broader cross-section of the population and especially those groups who are most affected by a decision, but possibly also more remote stakeholder groups with an interest in a place ("participation"). It is important to keep in mind that all these practices and processes are deeply imbued with power and to critically reflect upon the ways power is wielded in the context of making new landscapes of energy or resisting transformation ("power").

The organisers invite contributions which address one or several of the four "P’s" and especially any of the following questions.


  • To what extent is the perception of landscapes influenced by personal biographies, societal discourses, cultural norms or institutional settings?
  • What methods are available for capturing the intangible values associated with landscapes and the impacts of landscape change on such values?
  • Can geographic information systems (GIS) and visualisation technologies facilitate the assessment of energy landscapes?
  • What are the dynamics of landscape perception, for instance in the course of finding and implementing a planning decision, and does landscape perception change once a disputed transformation has taken place?
  • In what way are landscapes and identities mutually constitutive and how does this relation manifest itself with regard to energies?
  • What is the relation between perception, communication and decision-making, and whose perception ultimately counts?


  • How can landscape planners, architects and designers contribute to the development of high-quality energy landscapes?
  • Which types of landscape-related planning and governance regimes exist and how are they linked to landscape planning, spatial planning and energy policy?
  • How do institutions, legal provisions and other policies at European and national levels impact upon planning and decision-making processes in the context of energy landscapes at local and regional level, and vice versa?
  • What specific challenges do energy landscapes pose for different forms of planning such as statutory planning and assessment procedures (land use planning, strategic environmental assessment – SEA etc.) or informal and collaborative approaches?
  • What innovations and changes in spatial planning cultures can be observed with regard to energy landscapes?
  • What are the implications of pluralistic views of energy landscapes for public engagement and deliberative forms of governance?


  • Which factors influence the acceptance of energy technologies at local or regional level?
  • What are the opportunities and constraints of different forms of participation in relation to energy technologies, and are there limits to a participatory approach?
  • Which methods can be applied for engaging the population in discussions about energy generation, storage and transmission and the role of landscape, place and space therein?
  • What are the functions and adequate forms of "participation": (a) in the context of energy co-operatives, civic initiatives for the use of renewable energies etc. and (b) in the context of conflicting site-finding and decision-making processes?
  • What does the notion of landscape democracy imply in relation to energy landscapes and how can it be accounted for?


  • How can the interplay between energy landscapes and political power be conceptualised and critically reflected?
  • What are the relationships of power at different levels, e.g. international, national, regional and local?
  • Which role plays power in landscape planning procedures and landscape governance? Or in the political ecology and governmentality of landscapes?
  • What is powerful: the actors and their resources? Or the materiality of the landscapes and the energy infrastructures? Or the discourses?
  • What are the powerful factors for landscape change or persistency in new and old energy landscapes?
  • Who has the right to define the future of our energy landscapes? What are the roles of aspects such as gender, class, race or age here?

Please note: Papers which take up issues of perception, planning, participation or power in relation to other landscape transformations, but without explicitly referring to energy, will also be welcome.

The organising committee invites contributions from landscape-related disciplines such as geography, landscape planning, spatial planning, law, economy, political science, sociology, anthropology, landscape ecology, landscape architecture, history, archaeology, agriculture, forestry, psychology, arts and linguistics. Interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary papers are particularly welcome. The contributions can focus on theoretical aspects, methodological issues, empirical findings, practical/political considerations or any combination of these. Comparisons from a cross-cultural or cross-national perspective, but also individual case studies are encouraged.

All proposals will be reviewed in a peer process.

A selection of papers shall be published as a special issue of the peer-reviewed journal "Landscape Research".

Furthermore it is intended to publish another set of rather practice-oriented conference papers in an edited volume in co-operation with the COST Action TU 1401 "Renewable Energy and Landscape Quality".

Abstracts should have a length of 2000 characters and be submitted via the conference website.

The deadline for abstract submission was February 28, 2015.

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