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Department of Spatial Planning

Research Group Landscape Ecology and Landscape Planning

Since 2006 the Research Group Landscape Ecology and Landscape Planning (LLP) is headed by Prof. Dr. Dietwald Gruehn (until 2022 the official denomination of the research group was "Chair of Landscape Ecology and Landscape Planning"). LLP has connections and co-operations to numerous institutions on national and international level, primarily in  Europe, Asia and the US.

LLP can be traced back to the "Unit of Landscape Ecology", founded in 1974, which then was a part of the "Spatial Planning Department" at Dortmund University. 1983 the unit expanded to become a chair, following a broader approach including both, landscape ecology and landscape planning. From 1974 to 2006 Prof. Dr. Lothar Finke was heading the Unit of Landscape Ecology and the Chair of Landscape Ecology and Landscape Planning respectively.

Our group is devoted to landscape ecological and aesthetical topics as a general basis of landscape and environmental planning as well as open space and spatial planning. In an increasingly turbulent environment, it is essential for students to have a sound understanding of ecological principles and planning instruments that enable decision makers to address strategic and sustainable land use concepts.

Our research focuses on cultural landscapes, development of planning and evaluation methods and further development of environmental planning instruments aiming to ensure a sustainable spatial development in rural regions as well as urban agglomerations.

In accordance with the interdisciplinary spatial planning approach landscape ecological and aesthetical issues should be considered in decision making processes on all planning levels. That includes not only landscape planning as an instrument to implement the precautionary principle, but also planning instruments which intend to mitigate negative impacts on the environment, i.e. Impact Regulation under German Federal Nature Protection Law, Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA), Assessment of Plans and Projects Significantly Affecting Natura 2000 sites.

In this context it may be of importance that the German EIA-Association was founded at the Chair of Landscape Ecology and Landscape Planning in 1986.

The staff consists of one full professor, four half-time positions for research scientists, one half time position for technical asssistance and one half time position for the secretariat. The personnel regularly is completed by additional staff, financed by third-party funded research projects. Besides, several Ph.D. students do their research at the Research Group Landscape Ecology and Landscape Planning.