|Institute for Local, Regional and National Planning (ORL)|
Institute for Local, Regional and National Planning
In Switzerland, the Institute for Local, Regional and National Planning (ORL) is considered a unique center for research in the sustainable development of natural habitats and industrial areas. The ORL-Institute’s divisions of Architecture and Urban Design, Landscape and Environmental Planning, Landscape Architecture and Spatial Development are all involved in regular course of study in Architecture (D-ARCH), Civil, Environmental and Geomatics Engineering (D-BAUG) and Environmental Sciences (D-UNMW). In its capacity as an interdisciplinary institute, ORL has national and international connections and attaches great importance to the exchange of know-how between higher education and practice. Early in 1999, the ORL-Institute was faced with a great challenge. Following the death of Prof. Dr.-Ing. Dieter Kienast, the search began for a suitable successor to the Chair of Landscape Architecture. On the 1st of October 1999, Christophe Girot of the Ecole Nationale Supérieure du Paysage de Versailles accepted the position of visiting professor of Landscape Architecture, assuring continuity in the teaching and research in this particular field. With the exhibition entitled ‘Lob der Sinnlichkeit’ which opened at the ETH’s main hall last December, the gta paid tribute to the accomplishments and professional contributions of Dieter Kienast.
In 1999, various events organized by the Chairs of the ORL Institute generated great public interest. In cooperation with the University of Melbourne’s Centre for GIS and Modeling, the division of Landscape and Environmental Planning hosted the conference entitled ‘Our Visual Landscape’ on the Monte Verità. Participants from 18 different countries reviewed techniques and methods for the analysis, modeling, visualization and protection of our natural environment.
The interdisciplinary series of lectures ‘Grenzland’, organized by the Chair of Landscape Architecture, which questions the borders drawn between landscape architecture and land art, was well-received.
The ORL-Institute organized a series of events called ‘The City’s Faces’ which were initiated by the division Architecture and Urban Design in cooperation with Zurich’s Department of City Planning, the Division for City Development and the ‘action group’ of Swiss real estate agents. The seminar ‘Urban Insights’, the conference ‘GlobalLocal’, the ORL seminar ‘Urban Redevelopment Strategies and Case Studies from the Practice’ and the latest event ‘The Good City’ offered a broad spectrum of discussions to the academic community and to participants from trade, industry and politics. There was considerable public interest for these events and for an accompanying exhibition at the Helmhaus in Zurich.
The reception was also favorable for the ORL seminar held in February by the Chair of Spatial Development called ‘Swiss Economic Strategies for Spatial Development: Spatial Development and Investors’ Attitudes in the Real Estate Market’. The aim of this seminar was to examine the reactions of the real estate market to specific spatial development and to use these findings to improve the dialogue with the industry.
The ‘Forum for Spatial Development’ a new platform for the discussion of current topics in Swiss spatial development offered by the Chair of Spatial Development is now strongly supported by the participants. This forum aims to promote the exchange of knowledge between the academic community and planning professionals. In addition, it aims to communicate the changing framework of spatial development not only to students and researchers but also in the context of continuing education. In 1998/99, the ‘Forum for Spatial Development’ consisted of ten individual events on the topic ‘Spatial Development in Competition’. For 1999/2000, the forum’s topic is ‘The City and its Periphery as a functional network’. It will be held in co-operation with the Center for Economic Studies (WWZ) of the University of Basle.
For the winter term 1999/2000, the ORL Institute introduced a new concept for the Postgraduate Program in Spatial Development (NDS), thus continuing its 30-year old tradition in interdisciplinary studies for spatial planners. This program, supported by all of the chairs, integrates all areas of our interdisciplinary institute. The reconceived postgraduate program at the ORL adapts to new challenges in the education of spatial planners. The one year full-time postgraduate course in spatial development has been replaced by a two-year part-time course (NDS), allowing the students to work part-time in industry simultaneously. The first year can be taken as an independent module ‘Space as a Factor of Decision Making’ (NDK). NDK is a basic course for people who want to extend their knowledge of spatial development by taking part in debates. They also enjoy the different possibilities and argumentation afforded by an interdisciplinary discipline. The nine Chairs of the ETH Zurich and Lausanne, in collaboration with the Universities of Zurich, Basle and Lüneburg, Germany, offer a course consisting of six one-week units to planners who want to analyze problems in spatial planning and contribute actively to solutions. During their participation in postgraduate studies in the discipline of spatial development and in the NDK, NDS participants build on their knowledge of planning fundamentals in the areas of regional, urban, landscape, environmental and transportation planning, project management, systems engineering and spatial development information. The last three months of the NDS is devoted to a final thesis project.
In 1999, the journal DISP established an editorial board and a referee board. As a result, ORL’s unique scholarly Swiss planning journal, which is internationally renowned, has further improved its qualifications. DISP has also been able to establish itself as an associated member of the Project PLANUM, a European Journal for planners on the Internet funded by the European Commission’s TEN-TELECOM initiative.
Prof. Dr. Hans Flückiger
Head of the Institute
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