Energy Landscapes: Perception
Annual conference of the German-language Landscape Research Network, 2015
Over 16-18 September 2015 in Dresden, Germany, the Landscape Research Group convened a European conference entitled “Energy Landscapes: Perception, Planning, Participation and Power.”
The conference was co-organised by the Leibniz Institute of Ecological Urban and Regional Development (IOER), with support from Technische Universität Dresden, IRS (Leibniz), COST (European Cooperation in Science and Technology), and the German-language Landscape Research Network, funded by LRG.
Key questions raised by the conference were:
- Perception – How is the character, perception, assessment and social construction of landscapes influenced by present and past uses of energy?
- Planning – Which types of landscape-related planning and governance regimes exist and how are they linked to landscape planning, spatial planning and energy policy?
- Participation – In the face of energy transitions, to what extent are landscape policies inclusive and participatory? Which actors are involved and who is constituted as an actor in this regard?
- Power – Which power relations shape the interplay of energies and landscapes? How can the workings of power be conceptualised and critically reflected?
Keynote speaker 1: Professor Patrick Devine-Wright
“Emplacing technologies in energy landscapes: the role of place and identities in the low carbon transition“
Over the past decade, a significant body of social science literature has emerged investigating issues around the siting of low carbon energy technologies and associated infrastructures, prompted by policy and industry concerns over the impacts of ‘NIMBY’ (Not In My Back Yard) objections. In this presentation, I will focus upon important spatial dimensions of siting conflicts over low carbon technologies, implicating issues of place, scale and identity.
First, I will draw attention to several key studies that have explored the role of place attachments and place identities in explaining public responses to developments such as wind farms, wave and tidal devices, electricity power lines and nuclear power plants.
Second, I will show the importance of symbolic ‘fit’ between place and technology related meanings, and how these underlie discourses of both support and objection. This will be illustrated be drawing on recent findings that reveal processes of essentialisation at work in how local residents represent the siting of high voltage power lines in the English countryside.
Finally, I will point to several knowledge gaps for future research to explore.