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Reuniting Culture and Nature: Implementing the European Landscape Convention

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Maggie RoeORCiD


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There is a shift in thinking with regard to the way policy-makers and planners regard landscape and, potentially, in the way communities perceive, interact and envision landscapes. Landscape managers have an important role to play in helping communities to realise this potential through helping to provide technical solutions and rebuild notions of identity, moral responsibility and emotional connection with landscapes. There are interesting and important differences in the way different cultures relate to the natural world. However in Europe the European Landscape Convention (ELC) has provided a vehicle for reconsidering such culture-nature interactions and it is also providing an interesting policy model for countries outside Europe. This presentation uses the experience of recent research in the UK to reflect on three key areas related to implementation of the ELC: 1. The Convention identifies all landscape as potentially important to someone regardless of the type (land, marine, inland water etc.) or the condition (protected, urban, rural, ordinary or degraded). This idea of the ‘everywhere’ landscape could have considerable implications for the priorities are given to landscape and the way they are funded, protected and managed. 2. Ratification of the ELC affirms that the whole community holds rights and responsibilities over the landscape. This has implications for the obligations of those responsible for managing landscapes to ensure that local communities are involved in decision-making at all levels, from policy-making to action on the ground. 3. Implementing the ELC provides inspiration to those involved in landscape protection, management and planning to reconsider what ‘balance’ is or could be between contemporary societies and ‘nature’. The ELC is primarily about people’s relationship with the landscape, our desires, needs and visions. Much has been written about the dichotomy between ‘culture’ and ‘nature. The ELC is important, new and radical but it still requires ‘buy-in’ to the notion that it is potentially a very powerful and constructive tool for enhancing and protecting landscapes. As such it may be useful as a model for developing landscape management in other regions of the world since it provides us with a way for considering important questions such as: how do we want our present ‘culture’ to be reflected in our landscapes? What landscape change is desirable and how should this be monitored?

Publication metadata

Author(s): Roe MH

Publication type: Conference Proceedings (inc. Abstract)

Publication status: Published

Conference Name: IFPRA Europe 2009

Year of Conference: 2009

Publisher: International Federation of Park and Recreation Administration