Conflicts in urban peripheries in Europe

Related GLP Member: Janina Kleemann, Marcin Spyra


Urbanization is a global trend which is taking place at the costs of agricultural, forest, and other natural or semi-natural areas. As a result of urbanization, transitioning zones in urban peripheries located between urban and rural areas have a mixed character from a spatial, ecological, socio-demographic, and economic point of view. Different land use mixes and interests exist there in parallel and cause tensions and conflicts. In our research, we aimed at investigating the specific characteristics of conflicts in urban peripheries across Europe, showing striking examples and discussing possible recommendations for policy and planning addressing those conflicts. A structured literature review of 94 papers was conducted. The findings reflected a huge diversity in locations, contexts, and methods. Conflicts in urban peripheries in Europe is an interdisciplinary topic that is handled by social as well as natural sciences. We have identified four main conflict categories in urban peripheries: (a) land-use conflicts that relate to diverging interest in land use, (b) socio-economic conflicts that related to social aspects emerging between governance actors and different economic interests, (c) ethnic conflicts that related to race, religion, and custom, and (d) human-wildlife conflicts. The majority of papers were found in the category of land-use conflicts in urban peripheries. The main conflict topics in urban peripheries were related to socio-economic imbalances, house construction, and ethnic differences. Several types of governance actors and conflict topics could be assigned to each conflict category showing the variety in this context. A general recommendation to mitigate conflicts in urban peripheries could be a combination of various top-down and bottom-up policy and planning approaches, consulted and implemented by the governance actors who have been sensitized for the different viewpoints.