Alnarp´s Landscape Laboratory – An arena for research, teaching and demonstration of innovative urban vegetation design and management in scale 1:1
The landscape cannot be moved to a laboratory for study, so laboratory thinking needs to be conveyed to the landscape. Guided by this thinking, the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences in Alnarp has established Europe’s first full-scale landscape laboratory on its campus to serve interdisciplinary research, teaching and demonstration in scale 1:1.
The first step towards establishing a Landscape Laboratory in Alnarp was taken in the early 1980s and today it offers a full-scale arena for research, demonstration and teaching covering over 20 hectares at the Alnarp campus. The focus is on design and management of urban woodland elements, examining in particular qualities in young and small woodland elements. The creative and conceptual stages are emphasized in process thinking, where management is regarded as design placed in a time continuum. The Landscape Laboratory therefore focuses the dynamics of woodland landscape to demonstrate 'what is possible', instead of 'what is not possible` for practitioners, researchers and stakeholders from different disciplines. The Landscape Laboratory's young woodland landscape and its rich spatial and species variations and creative design and management articulate the visitors' stances and opens the way for discussions on 'desired' appearance of urban woodlands, the potential role of design and management and the conceptual and technical approaches that could and should be used. Alnarp's Landscape Laboratory thereby feeds into the overall discussion on how to develop woodlands and green spaces in and around towns in the future.