Environmental Planning

Course Environmental Planning
Instructor Michael Gaede (Dipl.-Geol.) (WS 16/17)
Prerequisites Introduction to Earth and Environmental Sciences
Corresponding Module Humans and the Environment,
Specialization Option Earth and Environmental Sciences I or II
Human beings and nature depend on intact ecosystems. Thus a crucial point seems to be how we can organise ways of using the environment in such a way that a landscape’s functions and natural resources are used sustainably.

Environmental and spatial planning are among the most important instruments available today for ensuring sustainable development. The consequences of global change for humanity, flora and fauna, for ecological and economic systems are becoming increasingly apparent and call for specific projects and strategies at both local and regional levels as well as further exploration of the interdependence of systems within our environment. This course will introduce the basic elements of environmental planning, gaining importance to problem-solving at the interface between society and nature and thus comprising both scientific and social-scientific skills.

The first part of the course will provide an introduction to basic features of the planning system in Germany and Europe. In order to understand landscapes in their complexity some of the topics that will be discussed are: What do we understand by environment? What does environmental evaluation mean? What is the difference between evaluation and assessment? What is the function of evaluation in environmental planning? How can scientists or planners choose from different appropriate assessment tools and methods?

In the second part, students will become familiar with selected concepts, theories and instruments of spatial planning and environmental planning, in particular Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) as a key instrument of European Union environmental policy, Natura 2000 Impact Assessment (Habitats Directive assessments), Interventions in nature and landscape according to Article 14 of the German Act on Nature Conservation and Landscape Management and other instruments. In addition, practical project work in small groups will help the students to transfer new knowledge into their own small surveys and interventions. In the tutorials, selected topics will be presented by the students and further discussed.

The third part will be concerned with linking theory and practice by providing a case study on renewable energy / wind energy.

Upon successful completion of this module, you

  • understand the key issues affecting contemporary society from the perspective of both the natural and built environment
  • should be able to analyse environmental problems effectively and choose suitable assessment tools, methods and technique
  • know how to collect, analyse and report environmental information and data in EIA
  • improve your skills in analysis, synthesis, reasoned argument and communication considering the background of conflicting stakeholder interests
  • present/discuss a selected topic and write a short paper.

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