Although Landscape Character Assessment (LCA) has gained a significant recognition around the globe, the understanding of the challenges faced by planners and decision- makers in incorporating LCA processes and outputs in land-use planning remains insufficient. This paper presents a snapshot of the barriers to effective LCA-based land-use planning in Israel, with regard to four distinct phases of the process: (a) the knowledge development phase, i.e., the formulation of a credible LCA approach; (b) the approach adoption phase, i.e., the willingness to incorporate LCA processes and outputs into land-use planning; (c) the knowledge transfer phase, i.e., the actual incorporation of LCA outputs into land-use planning; and (d) the application management phase, i.e., the transition of LCA- based plans into action. To investigate the barriers, the study combines a literature review with thematic analysis of eight Israeli LCA-based land-use plans from all planning levels, and individual in-depth interviews with 35 senior planners and decision makers involved in the design and implementation of these plans. The study reveals that within the general trajectory of mainstreaming LCA approach in Israel over the past two and a half decades, significant gaps exist between LCA knowledge, LCA-based land-use planning, and on- ground action and results. The extent of the gaps differs across plans and planning scales. The gaps are rooted in the complexity of the LCA approach; language barriers; scientific and technical limitations; inconsistency and subjectivity; different academic, planning, and decision-making traditions; limited institutional capacity; vagueness and over-flexibility of approved LCA-based planning principles and instructions; and lack of sufficient involvement by stakeholders. This paper offers suggestions as to how these gaps might be bridged in the Israeli context. In conclusion, the study recommends the following: developing a legally binding, generic, credible, and continuously updated LCA-based planning guide, that should be written in the native language; establishing a national and comprehensive free-access online information center for sharing LCA knowledge; strengthening of institutional capacities at all planning levels; enhancing planners' and consultants' LCA skills; and inclusion of all affected stakeholders in the process. Broadening the understanding of the obstacles and solutions to effective application of LCA processes and outputs in land-use planning and management practices can contribute to operationalizing this approach in various contexts and eventually, advance the reduction of anthropogenic pressures on valuable landscapes.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
The author wishes to thank all the interviewees for sharing their enlightening knowledge and experience. Thanks are due also to Uri Ramon, Anat Horvitz-Harel, and Iris Han from the Open Land Institute at the Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel, (SPNI) and to Dr. Liron Amdur, for providing valuable inputs to this study. The author also acknowledges funding through a grant from the Israeli Ministry of Environmental Protection.
- Land-use planning
- Landscape Character Assessment
- Landscape characterizations
- Landscape classification
- Landscape typology
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Geography, Planning and Development
- Nature and Landscape Conservation
- Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law