Landscape and communication
Doctor in biology, socio-ecologist Director general of ERF
In the early 1980s, the Parc Natural dels Aiguamolls de l'Empordà (Empordà Marshlands Nature Park), splendid wetlands in the north-east of Catalonia, incorporated a former neighbouring agricultural area. Jordi Sargatal, the park manager, asked me to help to resolve the problem of the landscape impact caused by an old raised irrigation canal that crossed the area. In order to add two opinions, I turned to the fine judgement of Gaspar Jaén, a sensitive urban architect from Valencia, who was by chance in Barcelona.
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Observatory educational project
One of the main jobs of the Landscape Observatory is to sensitise people to the landscape. To this end, it has contributed to the "City, territory, landscape" project, result of the collaboration between the Ministry of Town and Country Planning and Public Works and the Ministry of Education of the Government of Catalonia and the Landscape Observatory of Catalonia. This project, which is innovative in Catalonia and Europe, is aimed at pupils and teachers of secondary schools in Catalonia. Its purpose is to enhance the knowledge of Catalan landscape heritage and raise students' awareness to the need to preserve landscape values and understand the action of humans on natural surroundings.
It is an interdisciplinary event which offers the chance to work on the natural and human elements of the territory in a comprehensive manner and from the observation of specific, real landscapes, subject to very modern changes and problems.
There are three elements to the didactic materials: on the one hand, a folder with 12 panoramic wall charts representing the diversity of the Catalan landscape; the "City, territory, landscape" web (www.catpaisatge.net/educacio) with interactive activities; and a didactic guide to the project, available on the Web, which give tools and guidance for the work with the pupils and for following up and evaluating the results.
International Seminar Landscape and Education
The Landscape Observatory of Catalonia is organising an international seminar on landscape and education for the coming 19 and 20 November at the la Pedrera building in Barcelona, with the collaboration of the Council of Europe, the European Network of Local and Regional Entities for the Application of the European Agreement on Landscape and the Social Welfare section of Caixa Catalunya. The seminar programme will be published in the coming months and registration will open on September 15th 2009.
The European Agreement on Landscape gives great weight to everything referring to training and education on landscape, although up to now the signing parties have given priority to other measures and actions. Nevertheless, it would seem that the panorama is beginning to change and this is the reason for and convenience of this international seminar. To the recent report Education on Landscape for Children of the Council of Europe we would add a series of interesting initiatives in this area from different European countries, including Catalonia. In fact the start-up in the early months of 2009 of the ambitious educational City, territory, landscape project aimed at the secondary education schools around Catalonia is an extraordinary opportunity to put this, and other similar experiences appearing around Europe in the area of both formal and informal education, on the table. The time has come to increase citizens' awareness of landscape through the more solid and promising path in the long term: education. Further information here.
New Guide to Landscape Integration
The secretary for Town and Country Planning, Oriol Nel·lo, and the director general of Architecture and Landscape, Joan Ganyet, on the past January 15 presented the Guia d'integració paisatgística dels horts urbans i periurbans (Guide to landscape integration in urban and peripheral vegetable gardens). The document, which was published along with Girona City Council, is intended as a practical instrument aimed at the administrations in order to guide actions to improve the landscape of the vegetable gardens located mainly in the urban peripheries, often in deteriorated areas and under precarious conditions.
It is a question of improving the quality of the landscape and the introduction of the existing gardens and of nurturing the creation of social meeting points for the elderly and schoolchildren. The basic objective is to improve these spaces and their social function, bearing in mind that these vegetable gardens are used exclusively for self-consumption. The indications in the Guide are applicable both to the existing vegetable gardens that have to be improved and projects for creating new areas. You can consult the complete text of the Guide here.
Conclusions of the III Meetings Priorat: what landscape, what future?
On the past November 28 and 29 the 3rd Meetings Priorat: what landscape, what future? were held in Falset, organised by the Geography Unit of the Rovira i Virgili University, the PRIORitAT Association for the promotion of the candidature of the Priorat region for Cultural Heritage of Mankind, the Quim Soler Centre and the Platform for the defence of the natural heritage of the Priorat region. An approach was suggested to the values of landscape, to those which are measurable, such as the heritage and economic values, and also those which depend from human perception, which are more subjective but no less important. How does the landscape affect the quality of life and the emotional state of people? In what way are individuals and societies identified with their landscapes? And what spiritual values do they instil? Are we able to quantify the value of a landscape? You can consult the evaluation of the meetings here.
Series of talks on landscape in Valladolid
The San Pablo-CEU Foundation and the Official School of Architects of Castilla-León (COACYCLE) have organised a series of three talks parallel to the landscape postgraduate course. These courses, organised by the San Pablo-CEU Foundation, and run by Luis Vicente García Merino, professor of geography of Cantabria University, and Celestino Candela Pí, architect and landscape designer, respond to the interest awakened by the adhesion of the Spanish State to the European agreement on landscape in March 2008.
The first speaker in the cycle was Javier Maderuelo, professor of landscape architecture of Alcalà University, who spoke about the "Visión artística del paisaje"("Artistic view of landscape"); the second was Joan Nogué, director of the Landscape Observatory of Catalonia, with the talk "Hacia una nueva cultura del paisaje: política e instrumentos de ordenación y gestión del paisaje en Cataluña" ("Towards a new landscape culture: policy and instruments for the organisation and planning of landscape in Catalonia"), and the last one was the geographer Eduardo Martínez de Pisón, who called his talk "Una idea y una práctica del paisaje: ayer y ahora"("An idea and a practice of landscape: yesterday and now").
The Center for Land Use Interpretation
A research centre founded in 1994 which analyses the territorial and landscape problems of the United States and gives information on how the territory is used, transformed and perceived.
Annual awards arranged by the United Nations Environment Programme in 1997, which evaluates good practices in local environmental management.
PUBLICATIONS OF INTEREST
Paisaje y esfera pública
Franco, Orlando; Santa Ana, Mariano de (eds.) (2008). Centro Atlántico de Arte Moderno, Demarcación de Gran Canaria del COAC. ISBN: 978-84-889152-58-8.
This publication offers an interdisciplinary look at the fact that the relations between the public sphere and landscape come together with the same need: to reconsider public space in order to guarantee its survival and enhance its character as an area of civic training, meeting, participation and well-being.
Passage du temps sur le paysage
Lowenthal, David. Gollion: Infolio, 2008. ISBN: 978-2-88474-513-0.
This book is a collection of texts written originally in English which explore different historic and geographical expressions of the landscape understood as a social and cultural product.
CDAN de la Fundación Beulas
Benítez, Patricia. Dins Paisajismo, núm. 20, p. 44-51, 2008.
The article describes the project which Huesca Regional Council started in the mid-1990s in order to study the relations between art and nature, the CDAN. An avant-garde centre whose objectives and activities focus on nature, public space, artistic creation and contemporary culture.
Publications can be found in the documentation centre of the Landscape Observatory.
LANDSCAPE IN THE PRESS
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