The Role of Local Ecological Knowledge in Sustainable Urban Planning: Perspectives from Finland

Sustainability: Science, Practice, & Policy, Vol. 1, No. 1, 2005

12 Pages Posted: 26 Jan 2014

See all articles by Vesa Yli-Pelkonen

Vesa Yli-Pelkonen

University of Helsinki - Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences

Johanna Kohl

University of Turku - Turku School of Economics

Date Written: March 16, 2005

Abstract

This paper is a study of the role of local ecological knowledge (LEK) as lay-expert knowledge in the urban land use planning process in Finland. The research addresses the importance of LEK, and the ways LEK is obtained and used. To obtain data, planning officials, biologists, and representatives of resident and nature associations were interviewed in the Helsinki metropolitan area. The results indicate that LEK exists among nature enthusiast, as well as local residents, and planners can obtain the knowledge in several ways, most notably through networks of knowledgeable key informants and local nature associations. Considering LEK in urban planning is important because it complements scientific ecological data and indicates places important to locals. Some of the challenges of using LEK include collecting it through participatory planning processes, distinguishing it from other information, valuing subjective knowledge, and empowering planning officials to use LEK. To enhance communication between stakeholders, social scientists should be integrated in the planning process. Furthermore, technical improvements, such as registers of key informants and more efficient use of nature associations’ knowledge, would be useful in applying LEK.

Keywords: data assessment, environmental planning, indigenous knowledge, land use, urban planning, stakeholders, ecological evaluation, decision making, environmental awareness, community involvement, communication, environmental information, social sciences

Suggested Citation

Yli-Pelkonen, Vesa and Kohl, Johanna, The Role of Local Ecological Knowledge in Sustainable Urban Planning: Perspectives from Finland (March 16, 2005). Sustainability: Science, Practice, & Policy, Vol. 1, No. 1, 2005, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2384833

Vesa Yli-Pelkonen (Contact Author)

University of Helsinki - Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences ( email )

P.O. Box 65
Helsinki, Helsinki FI-00014
Finland

Johanna Kohl

University of Turku - Turku School of Economics

Rehtorinpellonkatu 3
TURKU, FI-20500
Finland

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