What is Landscape Theory For?
Federico L. Silvestre
Lecturer in Aesthetics and Art History, University of Santiago de Compostela
Some years ago Yves Lacoste tried to explain what landscape was for. If it is necessary to explain landscape, should we not also be asking about landscape theory? My own view is that, if it is badly oriented, landscape theory can become the most useless pastime ever proposed by academics (one of many, some might say). However, if it is well conceived, it can be of great value.
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The City, Territory, Landscape project receives a special mention in the Council of Europe's Landscape Awards
The educational project City, Territory, Landscape, developed by the Government of Catalonia's Ministry of Education and Ministry of Territory and Sustainability together with the Landscape Observatory, has received a special mention in the Council of Europe's Landscape Awards. 14 projects from different parts of Europe, chosen by their respective countries, reached the final stage. Two other projects received special mentions, while first prize went to a project to restore the landscape in the former mining locality of Carbonia in Sardinia. During the Landscape awards ceremony the City, Territory and Landscape project was commended for 'aiming to forge a new territorial culture and a feeling of responsibility vis-à-vis the landscape'. It was also referred to as an excellent model for similar schemes elsewhere in Europe. The members of the jury emphasised the importance of understanding landscape as constantly evolving, pointing out that 'an educated public will be better able to face the challenges of the future'.
New publication Theory and landscape: reflections from interdisciplinary perspectives
The Catalan Landscape Observatory has published the book Theory and landscape: reflections from interdisciplinary perspectives, which is available only in digital format. The book is published jointly with Pompeu Fabra University and is a record of the presentations at the seminar of the same name held in February 2010 at the Department of Humanities of Pompeu Fabra University in Barcelona. Different chapters deal with methodological and epistemological questions concerning the concept of landscape from a multidisciplinary viewpoint. Unlike other publications by the Observatory, the papers are published in the language of the original presentation at the seminar (Spanish, English or French). The text can be found on the Landscape Observatory website.
Paisatge i educació Book Available in Digital Edition
The full text of the book Paisatge i educació (Landscape and Education), originally published as part of the collection Plecs de Paisatge by the Landscape Observatory of Catalonia, is now available on the Observatory's website. The book deals with landscape education in Europe in the framework of the European Landscape Convention and includes contributions from authors from different countries and different disciplines. The publications section of the website provides access to all the publications of the Observatory as well as some jointly published works.
Newspaper library of the Landscape Observatory has more than 3,200 items
The digital newspaper library of the Landscape Observatory of Catalonia has been updated and now it has more than 3,200 items on landscape appeared in the various written communication media from around the world. News items can be browsed by date, by free text, by subject, by geographical area or by type (interview, article, report...). The newspaper library contains all the news items that the Landscape Observatory has been issuing weekly since June 2005 through the Dietari de paisatge (to receive the Dietari newsletter, sign in through our website).
Wikipedra passes 5,000-hut mark
The world of dry-stone construction was featured in 'Espai Internet' during TV3's midday news programme on Sunday September 4. The spot highlighted Wikipedra, the website promoted by the Landscape Observatory with the support of CatalunyaCaixa's social programme Obra Social and the active participation of the Drac Verd Association, as a web 2.0 meeting point for all those interested in dry-stone construction in Catalonia. The portal currently lists over 5,000 dry-stone huts. As well as the Wikipedra website, the Landscape Observatory's digital dossier of dry-stone constructions was also featured.
Galician Landscape Strategy
In August, the Government of Galicia presented the Galician Landscape Strategy for the years up to 2016, which envisages three types of action in its implementation: instruments of protection, management and supervision; strategies for landscape integration; and measures for awareness raising, training and publicity regarding landscape issues. The first instrument, which is already available, is the Map of Galicia's Major Landscape Areas, which is a basis for the production of landscape catalogues and guidelines for landscape policy.
Landscape Character Assessment Course completed successfully
The Heritage Council in Ireland organized a new edition of Landscape Character Assessment Course that took place on 21 and 22 September 2011 at Spanish Point and Tulla (County Clare, Ireland) in collaboration with the Landscape Observatory of Catalonia and several Irish organizations. The course aimed to bring together experts on urban and regional planning from the fields of geography, architecture, archaeology, ecology and engineering to discuss how to perceive, assess and plan the different facets of the Irish landscape. The course, awarded by the Irish Landscape Institute (ILI) in 2009, introduced the participants to the methodologies used in Landscape Character Assessment. As in previous years, the public-participation procedures used by the Landscape Observatory of Catalonia when drafting the landscape catalogues of Catalonia were introduced in the course by the X3 Environmental Studies team.
Launch of the Cornwall Landscape Observatory
The Cornwall Landscape Observatory will start its activity on November 30th with an exploratory project addressed to understand and implement the idea of appreciating landscape as an asset to help children and young people integrate into their disadvantaged neighbourhood, and secure access to their social rights. The project was conceived by CERES at the Council of Europe's Cultural Heritage Division and born of our longstanding association with the Council of Europe's Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of Europe (CLARE) and the Landscape Observatory of Catalonia. Students from a variety of disciplines and age groups will introduce their perspectives on landscape followed by plenary sessions at this one-day seminar.
The Swedish National Heritage Board presented a proposal for implementation of the ELC in Sweden
The Swedish National Heritage Board, which works under the auspices of the Ministry of Culture, presented last March a draft proposal for a framework for implementation of the ELC in Sweden. According to the text, the Swedish authorities concerned should be independently responsible for implementing the ELC within their respective competences, as well as for follow-up and evaluation of the Convention. The Swedish National Heritage Board is proposed to be the chair of the group, with a coordinating role for periodic reporting to the Government and to the Council of Europe. On the other hand, the County Administrative Boards could be responsible for coordinating the implementation of the ELC at a regional level.
The Olot-Fotografia Scholarship, focused on landscape
The Olot Culture Institute and the Olot-Fotografia Association have awarded once more the Olot-Fotografia Scholarship, aimed at promoting and fostering photographic creation. This year's scholarship, supported by the Landscape Observatory and the Girona Province Council, is for the first time focused on landscape, seen as an area, as perceived by the people, the character of which is the result of the dynamic interaction of natural and human factors. Follow this link to read the terms.
The 16 Gates of Collserola, in Barcelona
The Deputy Mayor for Urban Habitat of the Barcelona City Hall has presented the project "The 16 Gates of Collserola", aimed at rearranging and connecting the city and the Collserola Natural Park through 16 green corridors and equipments. This city renaturalisation project is a part of a wider strategy to turn Collserola into the central park of the Barcelona city area. The actions planned for the 16 connections will be chosen through public ideas competitions, where the participant teams will be evaluated mostly based on their multidisciplinary nature.
Inauguration of the Vall Fosca viewing point network
On 31 July, the Torre de Capdella Town Council inaugurated the network of viewing points in Vall Fosca (which means dark valley in Catalan) in a ceremony attended by Eduard Rosell, Deputy Director-General of Land Use Planning and Landscape for the Government of Catalonia's Ministry of Territory and Sustainability. Torre de Capdella has a network of six viewing points which have been built in various locations in the municipality since 2008. At each viewing point natural and landscape features and points of interest to tourists are described on information panels.
The Observatory's website incorporates photographs by Rafael López-Monné
The Landscape Observatory has always promoted the use of photography as a tool for information, communication and awareness raising in the field of landscape policy. The institution's home page carries a selection of photographs by leading Catalan landscape photographers. After Jordi Bernadó, the page now features a selection of landscape photographs by Tarragona photographer Rafael López-Monné. In the near future a photograph gallery will be added to the website including all the photographs that have appeared on the home page.
Associazione Pietro Porcinai
Association dedicated to promoting understanding, protection and enhancement of the Florentine countryside, and to disseminating the life and work of Pietro Porcinai and his relationship with the landscape.
PUBLICATIONS OF INTEREST
La percepción del paisaje urbano
Moya, Ana M. Madrid: Biblioteca Nueva, 2011. ISBN-978-84-9940-196-6.
This paper deals with research into landscape theory, urban culture, the psychology of perception and the visual media, linking it to an analysis of the representation of urban landscape in painting, photography and the cinema.
Analyses économiques du paysage
Oueslati, Walid (coord.). Versailles: Éditions Quae, 2011. ISBN: 978-2-7592-0923-1.
This collection of papers brings together the results of the latest research into economic developments affecting landscape in recent years. It is aimed at researchers, teachers and students, as agents involved in the development and management of landscape.
Catàleg de l'exposició de Catalunya Visió
Barcelona: Arts Santa Mònica; Vic: Eumo; Lleida: Museu d'Art Jaume Morera, 2011. ISBN: 978-84-96855-46-5.
To mark the Catalunya Visió exhibition, a special catalogue has been produced, containing most of the nearly 170 photographs in the exhibition. The catalogue also includes articles by Joan Nogué and Cristina Zelich.
Exploring the visual landscape
Nijhuis, Steffen; Lammeren, Ron Van; Hoeven, Frank Van Der (eds.). Delft: Delft University of Technology, 2011. ISBN: 978-1-60750-832-8.
In the Netherlands there is a long tradition of research into the physiognomy of landscape and this book provides a series of approaches to the assessment of the visual landscape of urban spaces, parks and rural areas.
Publications can be found in the documentation centre of the Landscape Observatory.
LANDSCAPE IN THE PRESS
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