Implementing the European Landscape Convention. How are we doing?
Director of the Landscape Research Group in the UK
Many readers of this newsletter will know that most European countries have now ratified the Landscape Convention (CEP) but, how well is it being implemented? Looking for answers to this question has kept me busy over the past year , prompting me to organize a seminar in Sheffield for the Landscape Research Group, last November and since then researching good practice across the continent.
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The Law to protect the Galicia Landscape has been approved
The Law, 7/2008, of 7 July, to protect the Galicia landscape was published in the official state gazette (BOE) on 20th August. Thus Galicia became the third autonomous community, after Valencia and Catalonia, to bring landscape into its legal ordinances, in compliance with the European Landscape Convention. This Law legally recognise the landscape and promote policies for its conservation, protection, planning and management. It become a point of reference for the whole legislative system and for plans and programmes in Galicia which may affect the landscape and, especially, when affecting areas of high natural and cultural value. You can consult the law here.
The Landscape Observatory and Caixa Catalunya's Social Work are publishing a book on landscape indicators
The Landscape Observatory of Catalonia and Caixa Catalunya's Social Work are working jointly on publication of the papers of the International Seminar on Landscape Indicators. Challenges and Perspectives which took place in 2007. The publication, scheduled for December 2008, will be the second number of "Plecs de Paisatge", the new collection of books from the Landscape Observatory of Catalonia.
"Plecs de Paisatge" is born with the wish to approach landscape from all possible ambits in order to encourage training, sensitisation and reflection on landscape. The collection will be published in Catalan but each number will include a summary of the chapters in Spanish and English to facilitate circulation. The first number of the collection, centred on the relation between landscape and health, will see the light in November this year and will be co-published with the Ministry of Health of the Government of Catalonia.
On 12 July this year Florence hosted the first Assembly of UNISCAPE, the network of European universities formed to support and reinforce scientific cooperation for research and teaching on matters of landscape. The UNISCAPE network is formed, at present, by 42 universities from several European countries, the founders of the network. Among these the Spanish universities which are members there are Girona University, the Autonomous University of Barcelona, the Polytechnic University of Catalonia, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria University and Seville University, which are recognised as having teaching units and research groups with an accredited history in the field of landscape. From now on the network will be extended to those other universities which meet the requirements and apply to join. The assembly chose Professor Carlo Magnani, rector of Venice University, as president of the UNISCAPE network and Bas Pedroli, geographer and professor of Wageningen University (Netherlands), as executive director.
The Landscape Observatory advises on informative material distributed regarding the fluvial landscapes of the Vallès basin
The Consortium for the Defence of the Besòs Basin and the Provincial Government of Barcelona, with the advice of the Landscape Observatory of Catalonia, have published nine illustrated maps of the fluvial landscapes of the Besòs basin which have been distributed with the printed edition of the newspaper El 9 Nou del Vallès Oriental. Each map includes several photographs which help in understanding the elements forming the landscapes in each of the nine basins. These nine basins are: the Mogent, Mogent gullies, Congost, Congost gullies, Tenes, Caldes gully, Ripoll, Collserola gullies and Besòs. The material was prepared by the professor of geography of Girona University, Josep Gordi, and the geographer Albert Albertí.
State of landscape charters of Catalonia
The landscape charters are instruments of voluntary agreement between the agents in a territory to promote actions and strategies of value for the landscape. Their objectives are defined through public signature of a charter and programme establishing the commitments made by each of the signatory parties in favour of the landscape, and the timetable for achieving these objectives. In Catalonia at present several landscape charters are being prepared, now in different phases of development. The Alt Penedès was the first territory of Catalonia to approve a landscape charter, in 2004, and the district has begun to apply some of the agreements reached. Also, in March 2007, the Berguedà district approved an agreement for the protection, management and planning of the landscape. The town halls of the Camprodon Valley Association and those of the Argentona Riera basin are about to do a similar agreement. Landscape charters have also just been started in Vall del Tenes and the Alt Empordà. The landscape charters, promoted by local agents (municipality, association of municipalities, district), have the support of the General Directorate of Architecture and Landscape of the Government of Catalonia (which has established a protocol for their implementation) and are monitored by the Landscape Observatory of Catalonia. In this context, the Observatory ensures that the landscape charters are coherent with the landscape catalogues in their field of action.
Blueprint for Euroscape 2020: reframing the future of the european landscape
Publication by the Landscape Europe Association on the occasion of the seminar entitled Blueprint for Euroscape 2020: Reframing the Future of the European Landscape (May 2008), which supplies guidelines and objectives to help to ensure that European landscapes are taken into account in political agendas.
A European research network which works on the identification of strategies for sustainable rural development and supports European diversity and identity in landscape.
Association des paysagistes conseils de l'état
Association of landscape advisers which takes care of ensuring the presence of the landscape dimension in projects developed by the French government, specifically in the preparation of infrastructures and in urban development and planning. Most of the government ministries have a landscape adviser.
PUBLICATIONS OF INTEREST
'Aprender a mirar el paisaje'
Gordi Serrat, Josep. In Paisajismo, núm. 19, p. 46-51, 2008.
This article, published in the magazine Paisajismo, describes for us the strategy used by the Tourism Consortium of Alt Berguedà to help visitors think about the landscape as well as looking at it, to understand its shapes, parts and the agents which have modelled it, in short, to visit and understand the territory in another way. Full text here
La construcción del paisaje contemporáneo
Maderuelo, Javier; Martín de Argila, María Luisa. Huesca: Centro de Arte y Naturaleza Fundación Beulas, 2008. ISBN: 978-84-612-3759-3.
Catalogue of the exhibition by the same name, offering an exceptional panorama of the resurgence of landscape in the arts in recent decades, through some of the more representative artists at an international level. It illustrates the works of the exhibition and gives a biographical outline of each of the artists.
Landscape: from knowledge to action
Berlan-Darqué, Martine; Luginbühl, Yves; Terrasson, Daniel (eds.). Versailles: Éditions Quae, 2008. ISBN: 978-2-7592-0060-3
This book is a selection of contributions by various researchers who have studied different landscape actions, principally European, and is structured in four thematic fields: the social and environmental aspects of landscape; public space in the urban landscape; from concept to implementation in landscape policies; and public participation in landscape action.
Publications can be found in the documentation centre of the Landscape Observatory.
LANDSCAPE IN THE PRESS
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