08 November, 2014

Country without a Plan, or a Plan without a Country?

Earlier this summer, the government of the Grand Duchy presented the drafts of so-called ‘Sector Plans’ that outlined the future development of housing, landscape/natural areas, and activity zones (industrial areas) in Luxembourg. These plans had been in the making for some time, and many had been long awaiting their publication as their implementation promises to provide order to the rather chaotic spatial setting of the country. There seems to be some consensus that an overarching planning perspective is needed, which would mediate municipal interests with the tremendous economic and population growth and subsequent development patterns that have shaped the country quite significantly over the last decade or so. However, the orthodox notions of some of these plans (most notably the Sector Plan on housing and related perspectives on land use) has raised particular criticism across the municipalities and in the business community, primarily because of its rigidity and somewhat outdated underpinnings of central place theory and densification.
 
While a leading local daily newspaper, the Luxemburger Wort,  recently published that Luxembourg is a ‘Country without a Plan’ (Land ohne Plan) and that needs a perspective for the future, a critical commentary by Markus Hesse entitled ‘Plan without a Country’ (Plan ohne Land), pointed at the structural inappropriateness of the old-fashioned planning ideologies that underlie the sector schemes. He argues that it would make sense to develop an overarching perspective before making more concrete interventions at the local levels. Also, such processes need a more collaborative approach, in order to make the relationship between state and mayors/municipalities more effective.

Find the article here (in German)

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