The Planning Metropolitan Landscapes (PLACES) lab aims to carry out novel, scientifically credible and societally relevant research to advance theories and methods for the environmental analysis and planning to support transformations of metropolitan regions towards attaining the goals of sustainable development. PLACES research addresses the entire cycle of inter- and transdisciplinary environmental analysis and planning, from co-defining the setting to developing systemic understanding of challenges, creating scenarios, assessing impacts, developing solutions and realization and monitoring.

Research in the PLACES lab is guided by three key research questions:

  • How does landscape change in metropolitan regions affect biodiversity, ecosystem services, and human well-being?
  • Which strategies for landscape development in metropolitan regions help reconcile the interests of diverse stakeholders and nature’s capacities to provide biodiversity and essential ecosystem services across spatial and temporal scales?
  • How can environmental planning theories, methods and instruments be advanced to facilitate well-informed decisions and support sustainable landscape development for people and nature?

Methods applied in PLACES research involve a broad spectrum of qualitative and quantitative approaches from natural, social and planning sciences. Exemplary methods include interviews, surveys, focus groups, social network analysis, field studies, habitat mapping, GIS modelling and simulation, ecosystem services assessment, geodesign, planning experiments, citizen science, scenario studies, multi-criteria analyses, and governance research approaches.