Changing Perspectives on Agriculture: Urban, Regional and Landscape Development in Suburban Areas from the Perspective of Farmers – Using the Example of the Administrative District of Kassel

Study project in the summer semester 2024

Lecturer: M.Sc. Alena Birnbaum

Offer for Bachelor's and Master's students in 'Urban and Regional Planning' and 'Landscape Architecture and Landscape Planning'

Agricultural land is one key planning issue in urban, regional and landscape development. Be it in the case of structural interventions in the landscape, the designation of areas for the conservation of species and biodiversity, or for recreational and leisure activities. Farmers are directly affected by planning decisions to the detriment of agricultural land, especially in urban and suburban areas. In addition to food production in increasingly sealed and densely populated suburban areas, they contribute to the protection and maintenance of historical and identity-forming cultural landscapes, the preservation of open spaces for species and biodiversity conservation, local recreation and tourism.

But instead of talking about agriculture, we want to take the farmers' perspective in this research-based study project. The aim of the change of perspective is to develop recommendations for dealing with the topic of agriculture for urban, regional and landscape planning, using the district of Kassel as an example. Different methods will be combined for this purpose: Short presentations on conceptual approaches, document analysis of planning documents from the district of Kassel and interviews with key agricultural stakeholders and farmers.

The following questions will help to guide us:

-      What cultural, social, political-institutional and individual meanings do farmers attribute to agriculture and landscapes?

-      What interests, goals and strategies do they follow as individual and political actors? What are perceived conflicts?

-      How do farmers view spatial planning approaches such as regional planning, landscape planning and land use planning and their role therein?

The project takes place on Tuesdays from 14:00 to 18:00, room 1106 in the HaFeKa building, Gottschalkstraße 26.