Metla Project 7220

Integrating ecological and social information in urban planning

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Duration: 2006-2008   Keywords: decision making, outdoor recreation, urban forests, urban planning, zoning
Research Programme: Wellbeing from forests


The objective of the project is to gain a holistic understanding of using ecological and social information on urban nature in decision-making processes of urban land use and green area planning. This theoretical understanding will be developed into tools for the end-users in order to guide decision-making concerning green areas and collaborative planning into a more sustainable direction.

The project is comprised of a sociological and an ecological part that are well integrated. Metla is responsibl for the sociological subproject. In this subproject, we study the use of social information on green areas in urban planning and decision-making, and the success of planning processes from perspectives of different stakeholders. The aim is to develop and test methods for evaluating planning processes in terms of social information and public involvement. Key research objectives are:
  1. developing criteria for evaluating land use and green area planning processes in terms of social information of green areas and public involvement,
  2. addressing the availability, quality and use of social information in urban planning and decision-making,
  3. addressing the success of urban planning processes, including e.g. adequacy and quality of participation and quality of decisions, from the perspectives of different stakeholders,
  4. understanding the relation between social and ecological values in stakeholders’ relationship to the environment, on the one hand, and in planning and decision-making on the other.
The research is based on case studies on two case areas in the Helsinki Metropolitan Area. At the Mätäoja/Mätäjoki area in the borderzone of Vantaa and Helsinki, we study especially greena rea planning and its relation to land use planning. At the other case area, the corner of Kerava, Vantaa and Sipoo, the focus is on land use planning. Methods of the research include literature studies and reviewing planning documents, interviews with different stakeholders, planners and decision makers, group discussions, questionnaires and participatory observing in planning meetings.

More information about the project:
 Co-operation, research team, steering group

Project leader: Tyrväinen, Liisa
The Finnish Forest Research Institute, Rovanniemi Office, PL 16, FI-96301 ROVANIEMI, FINLAND
Phone: +358 29 532 4553

Other researchers: Silvennoinen, Harri (2006), Sipilä, Maija (2006-08)

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Updated 12.06.2012