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The history of vernacular landscapes at the urban fringe is poorly studied, limiting our understanding of the contemporary character of the fringe and our knowledge of the urbanization process. This article argues the necessity of a combined analysis of the legacies of planning and the footprints of former landscape ideals in order to understand the conditions for spatial planning at the urban fringe. After first introducing the methodological use of landscape/planning history, the article focuses on the Swedish discourse on landscape change and landscape planning concerning the urban fringe in the 1930s. Particular focus is placed on the discourse on agricultural landscapes at the urban fringe. The third section of the article presents an examination of the footprints of the ‘landscape convention’ (i.e. an agreement on the meaning of landscape in relation to law and justice) resulting from the landscape discourse of the 1930s. The article argues that the legacy of the 1930s explains some of the difficulties arising when planners of today aim to utilize the farm landscape as a resource for recreation at the urban fringe. The shadow of the landscape discourse of the 1930s also creates difficulties in dealing with peri-urban landscapes in Swedish planning and Swedish law. With the ongoing discourse on how to implement the European Landscape Convention, such knowledge is particularly useful.

Keywords: European Landscape Convention; Sweden; environmental history; green belt; open air leisure; peri-urban development

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1468-0467.2010.00349.x

Affiliations: Department of Landscape Architecture, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, P.O. Box 58, SE-230 53 Alnarp, Sweden, Email: Mattias.qvistrom@ltj.slu.se

Publication date: September 1, 2010

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