Landscape Ecology

, Volume 21, Issue 3, pp 315–331

Spatial Concepts in Landscape Analysis and Policy: Some Implications of Globalisation

Research Article

DOI: 10.1007/s10980-004-4414-6

Cite this article as:
Swaffield, S. & Primdahl, J. Landscape Ecol (2006) 21: 315. doi:10.1007/s10980-004-4414-6


Globalisation accelerates the dynamics of the network society and economy, in which distant relationships become functionally more significant than local landscape relationships. This presents challenges and opportunities for landscape analysis. Using social scientific concepts of global and local space, and ecological concepts of hierarchy, two qualitative case studies are undertaken of urban fringe landscapes in Copenhagen, Denmark, and Christchurch, New Zealand. They reveal a convergence of landscape pattern over time, but this disguises significant differences in underlying socio-economic process and institutional response. There are several implications for landscape analysis and policy. First, there is a need for studies grounded in particular landscapes that acknowledge both local spatial landscape relationships and non spatial ‘global’ processes. Second, the transformation of landscapes through urbanisation provides a useful focus for the connection of landscape ecological understanding of landscape systems with social scientific understanding of human agency and social structure. Third, there is a significant challenge in how to develop local and regional institutions and policies that have the capacity to utilise and apply these diverse analytical perspectives.

Key words

Christchurch New ZealandCopenhagenEdge cityGlobalisationLandscape analysisUrban fringe

Copyright information

© Springer 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Environment Society and Design DivisionLincoln UniversityCanterburyNew Zealand
  2. 2.KVL UniversityCopenhagenDenmark