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Enabling transformation: Linking design and land system science to foster place-making in peri-urban landscapes under increasing globalization

Periodic Reporting for period 3 - GLOBESCAPE (Enabling transformation: Linking design and land system science to foster place-making in peri-urban landscapes under increasing globalization)

Reporting period: 2021-06-01 to 2022-11-30

Unprecedented urbanization is threatening landscape diversity, bringing along new social and environmental problems. Standardized business centers, single family residential areas and shopping malls displace highly productive agricultural land, while the culture and lifestyles of local communities become absorbed into the sphere of globalization. Up until now, however, models and tools developed in land system science have not caught up with the needs to understand and ultimately foster humans’ capacities to shape their landscapes.
This project will contribute to a next generation of tools and methods to understand and foster place-making in peri-urban areas. Main goals of the projects include (1) Obtaining an improved understanding of and empirical evidence for recurrent patterns and processes of place-making in a set of typical peri-urban landscapes. (2) Developing innovative methods and an operational tool to activate intentional change of the landscape that generates a sense of place. (3) Analyzing the role of place-making in adaptation processes across heterogeneous peri-urban landscapes to provide recommendations for resilient landscape development under increasing globalization.
(1) Conceptualization of place-making and identification of indicators to operationalize place-making: We propose a description of place and place-making, closing with a discussion on how to apply it to possible research tasks in land system science (Switalski & Grêt-Regamey, Sustainability Science, 2021).
(2) Preparation of stimuli for assessing place-making in peri-urban area: The study using electrodermal activity (EDA) measurements and virtual stimuli shows how the extent of uniformed landscapes can be visualized and communicated (Fischer, 2019; Fischer et al., Master thesis, 2020). We develop a modeling workflow allowing to iteratively link design and scientific evaluation methods based on a georeferenced three-dimensional digital environment (Urech et al., Landscape and Urban Planning, 2020).
(3) Identification of indicators for place-making and set-up of questionnaire: We develop a questionnaire to assess place-making, including social aspects (social cohesion etc.), place-related aspects and governmental characteristics, which was pre-tested in Olten (CH), and confirmed with a large online survey (n = 10071) conducted in the Netherlands (Switalski et al., submitted to Nature Behavioural Science, 2021). Results were visualized in an interactive online map (
(4) Pre-test of experiment to understand recurrent patterns and processes of place-making: We developed new methods for a mobile visual-acoustic laboratory in a camper using scenes recorded in 360° videos. Results show that participants prefer environments with high biodiversity, independent of their bindings to that place (Bögli & Hischier, Master theses, 2019).
(5) Conceptual development of participatory workshops: We developed a three steps workshop procedure to collect concrete visions related to the development of peri-urban areas using 3D modeling workshops and the combination of digital and analog methods (Hangartner, Master thesis, 2019).
(6) Cognitive-psychological experiment to assess place-making in peri-urban areas: A first full experiment using cognitive psychological methods in virtual environments was conducted in Olten (CH) and Aarau (CH) with a total of 150 participants. EDA and Heart Rate Variability (HRV) (Choi, 2021) showed important differences between affective reactions related to peri-urban and urban scenes (Galleguillos et al., prepared for Environmental Psychology).
(7) Development of a Tranquility-Index: In order to provide practical support to the Swiss population during the COVID-19 pandemics, we mapped a tranquility-index in the surroundings of cities in the most crowded areas in Switzerland, the Mittelland. We identified 53 quiet regions in the Swiss Plateau. The project has received attention in Swiss media ( and Tages-Anzeiger (only with subscription) (Leeb et al., white paper, 2020).
(8) Availability of recreational space in times of pandemics: Based on the large MOBIS:COVID-19 GPS travel diary data on mobility behaviour collected before and during the period of special measures implemented in Switzerland, we were able to geolocate areas of low recreational supply and highlight the importance of tranquility (see ((7)) on recreational behavior before and during pandemics (Galleguillos et al., submitted Landscape and Urban Planning, 2021).
(9) Identification of the role of passive and active sensing in urban transformation: We provide a conceptualization on how sensing systems should be harnessed to secure a just, equitable, sustainable, and resilient transformation of cities based on the analysis of four global urban case studies (Grêt-Regamey et al., under review Nature Urban Sustainability, 2021).
(10) Development of a serious game to unlock urban transformation: We developed a serious game building on the theory of place-making (see (3)) and point cloud models (see (2)) to identify factors hindering and/or supporting place-making in peri-urban areas.
(1) Definition and operationalization of place-making: We provide a conceptualization of place-making for land system science (Switalski et al., 2020).
(2) Point cloud technology for landscape planning and design: Point cloud can allow to integrate landscape form and aesthetics with landscape analyses and indices. By using the same dataset, landscape planners and landscape designers can together work on generating landscapes supplying humans with the necessary services.
(3) Measuring the affective dimension of place: Perception of places can be measured by EDA and HRV and is related to various indicators of place attachment, place dependency and place identity, as well as low visual features of the landscapes.
(4) Development of place-making measurements: Through psychometric scale development, latent variable modelling and dimensionality reduction, we show that place-making is a latent construct that can be formulated and elicited as part of a psychometric scale with the use of survey items consisting of the factors of place, process, person (Switalski et al., 2021).
(5) Assessing the influence of people’s presence in visual stimuli: People’s presence significantly influences perceived restorative effects in peri-urban and rural landscapes, but not in urban sites. The preferences are independent of the place of residence and the attachment with the place of residence (Heppeler, 2021).
(6) Development and implementation of an indicator to assess sufficiency rate of open public space during pandemic: Sufficiency rate for open public spaces decreased by a factor of 1.7 during the COVID-19 pandemic. The geolocation of these areas show a lack in tranquillity (Leeb et al., 2020).
(7) Conceptualization on how sensing should be harnessed to support urban transformation towards sustainability: Based on the analysis of four global urban case studies, we show how to combine data in new ways to help deliberate and navigate the unavoidable trade-offs between the Sustainable Development Goals (Grêt-Regamey et al., 2020). Open access, dynamic, and value-driven sensing processes are essential to account for power dynamics in urban transformation processes.