PL-4 :: Planning in urban areas

In Poland the process of planning in urban areas is not meeting the requirements of an appropriate sustainable land use. There are lacks of instruments and also the role of planning is not appreciated by the urban authorities and other actors of the urban development process. Planning has lost its character of long-term vision supported by recognition of the social challenges and natural values.
Plans are often following the results of ad hoc economic decisions dictated by market criteria and not regarding a wider social, environmental and spatial consequences of these decisions.
There are barriers in a legal system but also the awareness is lacking of the need of good modern planning.
Planning should use the results of research in other fields such as law, biology, sociology, environmental engineering. And at the same time planning should work out its own new paradigm, which would fit to the present relations.
In this paradigm it should be proclaimed that nature is a superior value that should constitute a basis for all further decisions and actions in the space. These values should indicate the most appropriate functions and ways of the use of a particular land as it used to be practiced in the past. Then people started to neglect these values and rules and now we have the consequences in a number of negative effects in local and global scale.
Nowadays planning does not have efficient instruments which would support counteracting extensive use of land. There are abandoned areas inside cities which cannot be touched for years due to various barriers.
Specific research questions:
Geochemical and biochemical atlas of areas in a scale useful for local land use planning
There is a need for better identification of soil quality and state by construction of maps of a large scale to be used for local (municipal) land use plans. It is also important in the context of the impact of brownfields - especially these polluted with heavy metals and hydrocarbons - on underground water resources. The lack of information on brownfields soil and ground quality (pollution level) is also a barrier for further planning of new functions on an area. Such atlas could be based on geochemical and biochemical investigations and give the picture on the potential of the land resources in urban areas, also in the aspect of risk connected with this pollution.
What kind of maps and data bases are needed for localland use planning especially in the case of degraded areas?

Natural capital
Development of the system of monitoring changes in urban area which would be a basis for long-term strategic vision of urban development. It would include natural, social and economic parameters.
Valorization of natural features of the urban area as a basis for planning decisions.
Maps of soil in urban areas as a basis for decisions on new functions. The maps would value usability of an area for a certain function. Then scenarios would show what will be lost or what will be gained. But the decision would be taken in a full awareness of the consequences.
What kind of a monitoring system should be developed for long-term strategic urban development planning including natural, social and economic aspects?
Land management
Land management will be closely connected with the new planning. It will be implementing the land use plan.
Development of methods for economic analysis of alternatives of infrastructure solutions (water supply, sewage networks, energy supply etc.) in remote settlements resulting from urban sprawl. It may show that local solutions in small scale can be more economically effective (in costs of construction and maintenance) than integration with distant urban networks. It is a long-term perspective but in face of a further trend of urban sprawl it might be a solution decreasing at least some negative effects.
How to involve economic analysis of the urban sprawl consequences as a basis for land management and planning?
What methods should be developed for analysis of social, natural and economic consequences of plan implementation?