The background and process behind ’Prioritizing the future land use in Denmark’

The Danish Board of Technology had as its starting point the growing need for a coherent and sustainable strategy for the Danish land use. The overall responsibility of planning the use of land areas have been transferred to the municipalities and this has been greatly criticized. The critique is that this leads to random and short-term plans characterized by local considerations. This project focused on future challenges such as sustainability, biodiversity, new kinds of energy and the co-existence between nature and agriculture. However, the focus is on establishing a dialogue between stakeholders, decision makers, experts and citizens on the future land use in Denmark as well.

The history of planning in Denmark

The historic development of the Danish countryside is very distinctive in the sense that even in the remote past everything has been characterized by measurements, plans and use. Naturally, these plans have been based on the varying needs of the changing times.

The future panel made up of parliamentary members
The Danish Board of Technology carried out this project using methods for the engagement of several groups of the Danish society. A contemporary selection of parliamentary politicians inspired and followed this project through to its end in the form of a future panel that include members from all the political parties in a collaboration that crossed traditional party-lines as well as planning areas. During the course of this project the future panel cooperated with experts and participated in two public parliamentary hearings that produced ideas and suggestions for public debate.

Stakeholders, experts, regions and municipalities

The numerous stakeholders involved in the use of available areas in Denmark were included along with experts and politicians during the course of this project. They were invited to a number of workshops that lasted a day each and scientific symposiums in order to discuss how best to use the results of the project.

The first workshop was intended to create a background analysis based on inputs from stakeholders and experts to use as a framework for the project. The second workshop used this analysis as a basis for deciding which decisions regarding land use that are most urgent and find solutions for the future strain on the land use. It was political decision makers from regions and municipalities who participated in this workshop.

Citizens’ summit

One essential democratic element in this project was the national citizens’ summit with 250 representatively chosen citizens from all over the nation. The citizens answered a number of questions intended to clarify their prioritizations of the future land use. These questions were based on the background analysis of the project, carried out by the steering committee members from Aalborg University and based on the inputs and assessments from stakeholders, experts, regions and municipalities. Based on this, the citizens debated and voted electronically on the future prioritizations of our available areas. The results from this poll were an important contribution to the political debate at hearings and seminars and made up a special section in the final project report. At this summit, the citizens were given the chance to discuss and contribute their own ideas and recommendations on the future land use.

A message to us all

It is the intention that ’Prioritizing the future land use in Denmark’ should reach as many as possible with as much information as possible in order to cause an optimum debate. The informative materials of this project as well as the results have been published on the website of The Danish Board of Technology Foundation. Members of the Danish Parliament were kept informed throughout the project using special newsletters and the media was informed using press releases, invitations to debates and articles during the course of this project.