The PhD was facilitated from 10/2001 to 06/2006 and dealing with the development of landscapes.

The publication based dissertation thesis was titled "The Leitbild concept: A holistic transdisciplinary approach for landscape planning". Understanding the complexity of landscapes is an essential requirement to exhibit strategies for landscape development in the mid-term future to predict long-term effects of landscape alteration and maintain future demands to landscape resources. In order to steer today's landscapes to an aspired future state (German: Leitbild), it becomes clear that landscape planning should include considerations of socio-cultural, economic and political components in addition to the reflection on ecological aspects of the ecosystem. In response to this challenge, this thesis presents a new methodology developed for describing, classifying and planning landscape visions based on a transdisciplinary, holistic Leitbild concept.

This study clarifies and describes the history, paradigm, logic, requirements, and terminology of the Leitbild concept and suggests a feasible transdisciplinary assessment procedure taking into account stakeholders demands and requirements. These requirements focus on the exploration of spatially relevant landscape resources. Therefore, possible land use options from certain interest groups have been elaborated in scenarios using Geographical Information Systems (GIS) techniques. Comparing and negotiating the scenarios lead to the construction of a commonly desired future state (the Leitbild) which most of the stakeholders can agree with.

The methodology introduced here represents a scientific GIS based landscape planning tool and proves to be able to integrate the semi-operational analysis and evaluation of current and manageable future environmental conditions with states, processes and functions, potentials and risks. The iterative procedure of the model allows developing spatially explicit and implicit value measures for various requirements and demands from stakeholders and participants adapted to ecological site specific conditions. The central element of this methodology is a hierarchically structured collection of processes and functions from ecology, economy and socio-cultural values supplemented with a matrix defining possible functional superimpositions and a matrix demanding necessary buffer stripe areas in a multifunctional landscape.

The result of this work is a general assessment system adapted to the regional natural, cultural, political and economic conditions of the given case study area. As a further result, the goal oriented planning procedure is shown to be a useful tool to enhance communication, scenario development, planning and monitoring of land use developments. Therefore, this methodology can bridge the gap between ecological analysis, socio-economic demands and development of planning oriented scenarios in a transparent framework.

Keywords: landscape vision, Leitbild, multifunctional landscape, landscape planning, GIS, participation, landscape metrics