Pluralising Nature - Rethinking the Skjern River Restoration Project

Thomas Juel Clemmensen


Denmark is recognised for its democratic approach to planning, and for the idea of planning for the common good. This interest in the common good and in common values also seems to be reflected in the way that the restoration of nature is planned and managed, suggesting that there is one common nature that everyone can agree on. But nature restoration is far from being an unproblematic undertaking. As with any other type of heritage production, it can be the source of dissonance. As exemplified by the Skjern River Restoration Project, one perception of a landscape and its value as nature can suppress other valid perceptions, in conflict with the need for different groups of people to be able to identify with the same territory. However, planning for the common good, in the case of nature restoration, does not necessarily mean planning for one common nature. Understanding and working with a multi-layered landscape might provide an alternative approach to nature restoration that allows for different nature perceptions to coexist to a greater extent. In this paper, this idea of pluralising nature will be unfolded through a design project that exemplifies how a part of the Skjern River Delta could have been restored with greater sensitivity toward the most recent history of the site, which still plays an essential role for the local community and its sense of identity.

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