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Onder Planologen: The layered approach and the dichotomy in our field

Podcast review by Erik Mies


The layered approach didn't come out of the blue. McHarg's 1969 work 'Design with nature' was a layer model in which the abiotic, biotic and anthropogenic layers are named separately. Building on this model, several models have been devised, which means that Wageningen students are still learning about a model in which the subsurface, networks and occupation are discussed separately and interchangeably. How this layered approach is used in the Netherlands is discussed in detail. Another topic that will be discussed is how the world of planners and architects has two sides within the field, all discussed in episode #5 of the podcast 'Onder Planologen'.


The podcast 'Onder Planologen' is a podcast made for students in landscape architecture and spatial planning and is also increasingly found by other people in the field. Episodes are made in several seasons, each with a unique theme that often recurs in urban planning, often in a Dutch context. Each episode features two guest speakers who often come from the professional field or are affiliated with a Dutch or Belgian university. Because for many people the term planning has a different meaning, each episode starts with the question of what the term means to the guest speaker in question.


The overarching theme of the episode, which is also the title, is always just a part of the episode. In the hour that the guest speakers have conversations with the hosts, there are always other topics that are very interesting to listen to as a novice or already experienced planner or architect. Many speakers already have some experience in the field and some speakers have published books or articles in geology or planning.


Episode #5 of the podcast 'Onder Planologen' is the first episode of a new season Among Planners and was recorded at the NOVI conference. The theme of this issue is the broad use of the layered approach in the professional field and the studies of planning and landscape architecture, but also, and perhaps especially, the new interest in the layered approach, since water and soil are once again a guiding principle for spatial planning in the Netherlands.


In episode #5 of the podcast, the overarching theme is the layered approach. Among other things, it discusses the emergence of the layered approach that is currently used and how it is applied in the professional field and even within government and politics. Guest speakers Jannemarie de Jonge, Government Advisor for the Physical Living Environment and Auke van der Wout, Emeritus Professor of Architecture and Urban Planning History at the University of Groningen will discuss the layered approach. In addition to the layered approach, a number of other topics are discussed in this episode, namely the split between the scientific side and the practical side of our field. According to the guests in this episode, it is important that there is a scientific view of the problems that arise in Dutch society with regard to the environment and space. But it should not be forgotten that the practical views are very important to make plans feasible and realistically designed. In a nice conversation, the importance of collaboration and diversity in our field is explained and analyzed.


In addition to this episode, there are nine other episodes that can be listened to on the Spotify account Onder Planologen with a rating of 4.9 out of 5.


Modern layered approach (source: Ruimte met Toekomst)

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