'Territories in between'

A comparative permeability study of two European regions between urban and rural - local and global

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Abstract

The in between city is often used to name areas which are neither urban nor rural, where “the sharp distinction between city and landscape has dissolved into an ecological and cultural continuum of a built structure between city and landscape”. Sieverts in (Huhlmann, 2007). The Thesis aims to gain a better understanding of how these territories function and how they perform according to social, economic and ecological planning goals, by developing an approach using the concept of ‘Permeability’, which I define as the property and capacity of the territory that facilitates connections and therefore flows. As a first step a classification on the regional scale to identify the ‘Territories in Between’ using two deliberately distinct and different case study areas (the province of South Holland in the Netherlands and the state of The Tyrol in Austria), is undertaken to later be able to draw conclusions which are valid in the European context. An integrated approach using the concept of permeability based on the understanding of these territories as both a place (a site or territory) and as a number of often just loosely bounded, relatively disconnected and dispersed, perhaps sprawling activities, made in and through many different kinds of networks, is used to gain a better understanding of the ‘Territories in Between’ in the two test case areas. Through the combination of economic, social and ecological as well as mapable permeability indicators, the territories can be investigated in a moderate relationalism which allows overcoming the ‘network versus territories’ as well as the ‘human versus nature’ divide. “On the one hand, networks should not be seen as non-spatial and without ‘geographical anchors’ and on the other hand, territories and scales should not be viewed as closed and static.” (Jones, 2009) Following this idea the indicators are chosen according to their suitability to establish a relationship between the territory and the flows within the landscape, describing the traces of these flows. Finally general planning and design principles are developed, which are based on a relational and not functional understanding of the ‘Territories in Between’, by comparing the indicators and the results within the different case study areas.