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Wageningen Universiteit (2007)

Designing sustainable landscapes : from experience to theory : a process of reflective learning from case-study projects in Kenya

Duchhart, I.

Titre : Designing sustainable landscapes : from experience to theory : a process of reflective learning from case-study projects in Kenya

Auteur : Duchhart, I.

Université de soutenance : Wageningen Universiteit

Grade : PhD thesis 2007

Since the last decades of the 20th century, developing nations and international organisations began to search for new integrative approaches of planning for effective development that weresocioculturallyappropriate and environmentally sustainable. The research described in this thesis demonstrates that at least forKenya, landscape planning and design offers a solid foundation for such an integrative approach. The research is presented along two interlinked lines. One describes a series of authentic case-study projects and an analysis of the specific Kenyan planning context. The other revolves round a process of theory development that starts with the theoretical notions underlying the research then gradually incorporates the lessons learned from case-study projects and the Kenyan context and concludes with a theoretical foundation for the above mentioned landscape planning and design approach.
The thesis begins by explicating the theoretical starting notions that are based largely on the landscape-architecture and physical-planning theories of the Dutch landscape architects M.J. Vroom, N.M. deJonge, K.Kerkstra, and P.Vrijlandt, and the architect/sociologist/physical planner F.Kleefmann. These notions initially formed the basis for the approach of the first case studies. However, it soon became apparent that this was not fully appropriate for the Kenyan context and the subsequent constraints that hindered implementation. Learning continued from one case to the other. It became clear that a human-ecological perspective was critical and that the visual-spatial perspective advocated in the starting notions should take second place. The inter-scale design approach and the (functional) landscape focus promoted byKerkstraand DeJonge, however, ascertained their value. Also, a planning approach based on incentives to stimulate private initiative instead of control seemed to lead to better results. Furthermore, the typical landscape-architectural tool - the appropriatesitingof small-scale landscape elements, such as, trees and hedges - appeared an excellent way to achieve long-term ecological sustainability while producing individual benefits in the short-term. Their use, however, required a good insight and understanding of factors such as soil and water conservation, agriculture, agroforestry, environmental health, and climate. In this thesis nine different case-study projects are described.
The analysis of the Kenyan planning context focussed on the landscape-forming forces as these have evolved over time and the role of institutional physical planning. The analysis showed that many Kenyan landscapes originated from intimate and complex inter-relations between nature and the indigenous societies. The establishment of a national government during the colonial period, however, brought about a serious divide between the two. Whereas indigenous communities traditionally sought to ensure subsistence and survival by adopting a protective and knowledgeable attitude towards nature, the objectives of the colonial administration - and subsequently the Kenyan government - portrayed an exploitive attitude emanating from the introduction of a cash economy. Today, this division between nurturing resources for subsistence and survival and the pressure to generate cash extends into the local communities and households. This tension is an important cause of environmental degradation and in some cases can lead even to social disintegration. Here,Kleefmann’ssociophysical-organisation model that includessociocultural, political as well as natural dynamics in the shaping of the physical environment proved a valuable analytic tool for landscape analysis.

Mots clés : landscape / sustainability / design / landscape architecture / planning / physical planning / participation / theory / kenya


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Page publiée le 28 mars 2008, mise à jour le 2 juin 2022