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«PhD dissertation thesis BUDAPEST, 2012 1 Doctoral School: CORVINUS UNIVERSITY OF BUDAPEST Landscape-architecture and Landscape Ecology Field: ...»

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PhD dissertation thesis



Doctoral School:


Landscape-architecture and Landscape Ecology Field: Agrotechnical Head of PhD School: Prof. Atilla Csemez, DSc Doctor of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences



Supervisor: Dr. László Kollányi, CSc Associate Professor



Fakulty of Ladscape-architecture Head of the Department of Landscape Planning and Regional Development The applicant met the requirement of the PhD regulations of the Corvinus University of Budapest and the theses are accepted for the defence process.

………………………….. ……………………… Head of PhD School Supervisor 2


Since impact assessments, landscape conservation, nature conservation, and rural development are in the focus of my professional activities, I was the leader, or took part in the leadership and/or methodological development of a number of research and impact assessment projects, which helped me to directly experience the processes and values manifested in practice. I have witnessed, more than once, that excellent, professionally well prepared and committed people get into troublesome decision-making, activity, and communication situations within the frameworks defined by the different institutional and decisions-making structures. I could also experience, that decisions taken and projects, plans implemented under inadequately structured and organised procedures, or lacking the identification of the actual causes of the problems, or not being harmonised with the fundamental values, principles, interests and objectives were not successful, and had to be corrected and modified several times both in the short and medium terms.

The core issue of my interest, both as a lawyer and a landscape architect is the relationship and set of contacts between the landscape and the people, communities and the society living in and with the nature. Examining the value-centric interconnections and the possibilities for further development of the impact assessments applied during good public management and governance 1 representing one of the frameworks for the coexistence and mutual development of the landscape and the people is in the centre of my present research. The management and methodological development of a number of strategic environmental impact assessments and other types of impact assessments have directed my attention to the issues of sustainability and sustainability impact assessments and the related questions regarding the scale of values, the institutions and the applied methods.

Basically, my research follows three trends, or focuses on three major


1 Governance, in my paper means the complex circular process of planning, management, process organisation, control, and feedback executed by the central, the regional and the local governments.

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With regard to the issue of sustainability, my objective is to clarify the relationship between sustainability and development, and to provide procedural and contextual proofs for the development of the core value scales of sustainable developments serving development and for the definition of basic values.

(2) Analysis of the management systems, processes and institutions

from the perspective of the enforcement of these values:

In the area of the management systems, processes and institutions, my objective is to analyse the theoretical background of the regulation of the current institutional and procedural practices, and to explore the extent and the way the different legal and institutional solutions promote or hinder the enforcement of the core values of development and sustainability. I also would like to identify the applicable best practices.

(3) The third core issue is the development of impact analysis and their practical role from the perspective of the effectiveness of the core values of sustainability and development.

As to the analysis and development of impact assessments, my objective is to identify the organic relationships between the impact assessments and the decision-making processes with development objectives and to outline and continue to elaborate solutions which promote the assertion of the core values of development and sustainability.



In my research I strive after synthesis and the identification of correlations with regard to comprehensive issues. In the course of my work, I extensively build on literature, and on accumulated practical experiences which I have explored with the help of personal interviews, focus group meetings and questionnaires. In the course of my methodological investigations, I have applied the Driving Forces – Pressure – State – Impacts – Responses (DPSIR) methodological approach and the approach applied in the Competing Values Framework (CVA) model. Figure No. 1 presents the process and the methodology of the research.

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Result No. 1: I succeeded to verify, that individual and social values and value scales and their management play a fundamental role in guaranteeing sustainability, the core values of sustainability can be defined, but their assertion in concrete cases takes place, in the first place, within the framework of personal and, in the second, community decisions and activities.

Based on the data in the literature, my own impact assessment studies and the analysis and evaluation at Hungarian and international levels of the examinations and surveys I verified, that sustainability may not be managed in a value-neutral manner. I reviewed and analysed the notions and concepts of sustainability and development. As a result of the analysis I concluded that should sustainability be managed in a value-neutral manner, human beings may consume and exhaust the essential living conditions of both the humanity and the ecological systems, and may maintain selfdestructive procedures, as it can also be envisaged these days. I have defined those general core values which form the basis for the definition of the assessment criteria of sustainable solutions and interventions. I have worded, as a central core value, human beings and the blossoming out of their personal talents as community creatures. I also formulated, as a central core value, the ecosystems, as living systems, together with their internal self-regulatory system. Jointly, I call them life themes. Each and every attempt for sustainability shall have to focus on the protection, survival and development of these central core values. On the other hand, management, support, strengthening and rehabilitation of human life (individuals and communities) and ecosystems along the principle of subsidiarity, as a procedural value, shall be present while developing the framework conditions and evaluating the results of impact assessments.

Based on research in the literature, I have identified basic correlations with regard to the value-, objective-, and norm-conduct of human persons or individuals. Social, community and individual values play a decisive role in ensuring sustainability. In addition to the four basic factors identified by HANKISS (2004), namely the common objectives, values, interests and their awareness, I have identified, from the perspective of time approach and knowledge, the significance and the role of locality (spatiality) and relationship among the generations.

6 I managed to identify, and support with arguments, the importance of creating community values and openly presenting and confronting values from the perspective of sustainability, together with the role and significance of the procedures and tools promoting the communication of values, with special regard to communication realised in the landscape, defining a unit and in the landscape as a unit.

Result No. 2: I have verified that sustainability impact assessments must be and can be made suitable for the contextual and process oriented managerial/administrative, and impact assessment values and basic principles which make, via their application, the sustainability impact assessments executable. I have developed a SÉMA DPSIR based method applying a new approach, which was tested in several nationwide strategic environmental surveys.

I have looked across, with regard to all the continents, the available experiences gained from the impact assessments. During my survey, I identified eight countries where the practice of impact assessments is manifested in the decisions taken during the preparatory phase of the different policies, programmes and projects. Based on the detailed analysis of the investigated sustainability impact assessments I concluded that sustainability studies represent a new approach and give added value to the decision-making process in those countries where the management, public policy, and governance structures and the participation culture reach a high level (see, for example, Canada, Belgium, Switzerland), and where wellprepared local communities capable of representing their interests operate.

Participative and social learning characterise successful sustainability impact assessments. In certain countries, like, for example in Canada, Belgium, and Hong Kong, the applied practices targeted the strengthening of the values of sustainability and not so much the assessment and identification of the impacts (like, for example, in the United Kingdom, or Switzerland). I have justified, with examinations, that the enforcement of ethical aspects is necessary in the analysis and impact assessment of public policies.

Based on my diverse Hungarian and foreign experiences I defined those institutional, administrative/managerial and impact assessment values and basic principles, which, when applied, make the sustainability impact assessments executable. I have developed a SÉMA DPSIR based method applying a new approach, which was tested in several nationwide strategic

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Result No. 3: The success of an impact assessment is basically defined by the existence and the method of development and operation, or the lack thereof of a coherent and operating public service (public policy) planning system. A well-functioning public administration, public service system and planning culture is needed for the success of impact assessments, and the respective framework conditions can be defined. I managed to identify the core areas of good management enforcing sustainability, and worded system-level proposals on the Hungarian legal and institutional developments.

I performed the theoretical and institutional analyses of the legal framework conditions. During the legal analyses, after having overviewed different attitudinal and typological approaches, I identified the factors and characteristics facilitating and/or hindering the application and enforcement of impact assessment and sustainability. I outlined the legal theoretical background of sustainability, revealing the significance of natural law care.

I analysed the groups of the different legal systems identified by the researchers from the perspective of enforcing sustainability and the success of impact assessment practices. I defined those characteristics of the legal systems which may promote successful impact assessment practices and sustainability.

I have revealed the interconnections of the basic principles of law, especially the environmental law from the perspective of impact assessments and sustainability. Based on theoretical analyses and my Hungarian and international analyses of the institutional systems, I have defined the most important core subjects of good management enforcing sustainability, and worded system level proposals on the development of the Hungarian legal and institutional systems.

Result No 4: Operation, at the level of the whole society, of the legal and institutional frameworks of impact assessments and operation of the law and the values in every-day interactions are of primary significance from the perspective of sustainability.

8 I have identified those tools, processes and observational models, which promote the creation of social and community values, the renewal of the value scales and the open confrontation of the succinctly worded value systems, emphasising their differing characteristic features. I have examined the three-level model of the semi-autonomous social field (SASF), the participation theory of communication and the structures of the value scales and made a proposal for its implementation.

As a new task related to the planning, managerial/administrative and impact assessment tasks, I have concluded, that the rational views, interests, and value scales along which we think about the different problems shall be defined based on deliberate considerations and multilateral joint thinking and co-operation (social and organisational learning), carefully differentiating the components of the different problematic situations and not only reaching the intuitive posing of the issue. The declared (identified and hidden) opinions, interests and values, including, among others, the common elements of the value scale, shall be the subject matter of decision-making, prior to starting any kind of planning activity. This process might be promoted by sustainability impact assessments.

Result No. 5: I have identified, the landscape as an ecological and social spatial unit being the basic system component of impact assessment and public services systems.

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