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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2020

Politicising the landscape: a theoretical contribution towards the development of participation in landscape planning

Calderon, Camilo; Butler, Andrew


In this paper, we engage with the topic of public participation in landscape planning. Academic discussions and policy rhetoric tend to build on a conceptualisation of landscape as a democratic entity, yet practices of participatory landscape planning often fall short of these ideals. Most scholars approach this rhetoric-practice gap from procedural and normative positions, defining what makes a successful participatory process. We take an alternative approach, scrutinising the role of landscape planning theory in participatory shortcomings, and reveal how poor substantive theorisation of 'the political' nature of landscapes contributes to the difficulties in realising participatory ideals. We engage theoretically with the political dimension, conceptualising and explaining the implications that differences, conflicts and power relations have for participation in landscape planning, that is, politicising the landscape. This theoretical engagement helps bring about a much-needed realignment of substantive theory, procedural theory and practice for developing participation in landscape planning.


Landscape planning; participation; difference; conflict; power

Published in

Landscape Research
2020, volume: 45, number: 2, pages: 152-163

Authors' information

Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Urban and Rural Development
Butler, Andrew
Norwegian University of Life Sciences

Sustainable Development Goals

SDG16 Peace, justice and strong institutions

UKÄ Subject classification

Landscape Architecture
Other Social Sciences not elsewhere specified
Human Geography

Publication Identifiers


URI (permanent link to this page)