President of the International Scientific Committee on Cultural Landscapes (ICOMOS)
This year marks the 50th anniversary of UNESCO's Recommendation concerning the Safeguarding of Beauty and Character of Landscapes and Sites published in 1962 (how different our situation would be today if we had followed those recommendations!). This year is also the 40th anniversary of UNESCO's Convention concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage, novel at its time for associating the concepts of nature conservation and the protection of cultural sites in a single document.
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Publication on landscapes of the periphery
The Landscape Observatory of Catalonia has just recently published the book entitled Franges. Paisatges de la perifèria ("Fringes. Landscapes of the Periphery"), the fifth work included in the "Plecs de Paisatge" Collection. This new text is the result of the international seminar with the same name held in Olot in November 2010 and which received support from the CatalunyaCaixa bank and its social foundation. The publication aims to propose new, alternative readings to hegemonic and traditional views, new landscape references, and new means of intervention and management of these spaces in order to not abandon daily peri-urban landscapes from public policies in keeping with the European Landscape Convention. These areas are often neglected or suffer from chaotic growth. The book will be officially presented on June 21 at 7 pm at La Pedrera building in Barcelona. It can be purchased from the Landscape Observatory of Catalonia along with the other collection publications.
PaHisCat: Discover the history of Catalan landscapes
Knowing about the past means better planning for the future. This is the primary objective of PaHisCat, a pilot project on the historical evolution of landscape promoted by the Landscape Observatory in collaboration with the University of Lleida History Department. PaHisCat aims to understand and inform about traces of the past (old roads, lots, farmhouses, canals, etc.) which can still be seen in contemporary Catalan landscapes. It also aims to set guidelines for territorial and industrial planning. The project serves to complement the Landscape Catalogues providing a historical perspective. In this sense, it has thus far worked on four of the landscape units defined by the Catalogues: Conca de Poblet, Horta de Pinyana, Terraprims and Vall Cerdana. The project strives to contribute to our understanding of landscapes as a reality formed by centuries of different generations who have lived there. In addition, it aims to provide an instrument with which to manage and plan the territory, as well as to serve as information to endow landscapes with more value as a reality of our heritage, something which can also be applied to areas such as tourism and education. The methodology used, inspired by Anglo-Saxon experience, is another of PaHisCat's contribution to future projects aiming to trace the historical roots of landscapes.
The educational website, City, Territory, Landscape, translates a part of its materials into Spanish and English
City, Territory, Landscape has recently activated the Spanish and English versions of 12 files in this educational project. The aim is to spread this innovative initiative fomented by the Catalan Ministries of Education and Territory and Sustainability and the Landscape Observatory, an initiative also recognised by the Council of Europe. The project was launched in 2008, and its goal is to update Catalan secondary school students' knowledge about the city and territory concepts as well as to raise their awareness about landscapes. It also aims to reinforce the basic competencies defined for this age group.
The Ministry of Territory and Sustainability and the Observatory present in Vielha the Landscape Catalogue dedicated to Alt Pirineu and Aran before its initial approval
The preparation of the Landscape Catalogue dedicated to Alt Pirineu and Aran is nearing the end pending approval by the Government of Catalonia's Ministry of Territory and Sustainability. One of the last steps was its presentation on Tuesday, February 21st in Vielha (Val d'Aran), organised by the Institute for the Development and Promotion of Alt Pirineu and Aran (IDAPA), the Ministry of Territory and Sustainability, and the Landscape Observatory. The Landscape Catalogues were created as a result of the Law on Landscapes, and their aim is to catalogue the landscapes and prepare quality objectives for each of the pre-defined areas in Catalonia. The Catalogue of Alt Pirineu and Aran will be approved in short and will then be exhibited to the public as a prior step to its definitive approval by the Government of Catalonia.
Latest framework agreements signed by the Landscape Observatory of Catalonia
With the aim of furthering cooperation, the exchange of knowledge and collaboration between the Landscape Observatory and other Catalan institutions, the Observatory has signed framework agreements over the last few months with the Geological Institute of Catalonia (to exchange knowledge and share experiences), the University of Girona (as regards the development of the Euro-Mediterranean Campus and to offer internships to students in the School of Humanities), Pompeu Fabra University (also for internships for students in the School of Humanities), and with the International University of Catalonia (to collaborate on educational projects of mutual interest and to offer its students internships, amongst other activities).
New location for the Landscape Observatory's Documentation Centre
The Landscape Observatory's Documentation Centre has moved to the second floor in the same building, now occupying a part of the La Garrotxa County Archive. It now has greater space available for documentation, and the area for consultations is more than adequate. The Documentation Centre is an informational space providing free consultations to everyone. Its constantly expanding documentary archives consist of nearly 3,000 documents in diverse formats (monographs, periodicals, unpublished documents, audiovisual material, etc.). The Centre's focus is landscapes, in a broad sense and especially in terms of landscape planning and management.
The Catalan Parliament supports Priorat's candidature to UNESCO
On Wednesday, April 11th, the Catalan Parliament's plenary session issued a declaration in support of Priorat's candidature to UNESCO. In the declaration, the Parliament gave faith to the Catalan county's wish to present its candidature to UNESCO for its Mediterranean, agrarian and cultural mountain landscape. This initiative arose from the grassroots level, based around the PRIORITAT association which represents the county's socio-economic, cultural and associative organisations. The proposal has also been supported by the County Council, the Council of Mayors and other institutions above the county level. Landscape, understood as a whole and global entity which rises from the permanent sum of memories, knowledge and practices, represents the materialisation of sedimentation and evolution. In Priorat, the close secular relationships between human activity and the territory that bears this activity and condition it have forged a rural and urban landscape, a first-order representative mosaic of our collective history.
Andalusian Government approves its Landscape Strategy
On March 6th, 2012, the regional Government Approved its Andalusian Landscape Strategy, a document which establishes the criteria to use when defining landscape policy over the next few years. The approval of this Strategy implies that Andalusia thus fulfils the European Landscape Convention and that it sees landscapes as natural and cultural heritage and as a resource which contributes to the region's development and competitiveness.
Portugal begins the process of applying the European Landscape Convention at the local level
The town of Torres Vedras is 40 km to the north of Lisbon and has become one of the first in Portugal to apply the stipulations included in the European Landscape Convention (entered into by Portugal in 2005) at the local level. After drafting a general document to include the question of town planning, the process has begun to catalogue Torres Vedras' landscapes for their protection and management.
The Chilean organisation, Patrimonio y Paisaje ('Heritage and Landscape'), is developing a perceptual language methodology for landscapes
The Chilean organisation, Patrimonio y Paisaje, a not-for-profit organisation, is working on developing a perceptual language methodology for landscapes. Through simple and clear steps, it registers and systematises the sensorial, visual, auditive, taste, tactile and olfactory stimuli provoked by each landscape and which are stored in communities' collective unconscious. Data is obtained from the inhabitants of each area, thus also raising their awareness in the process. The data can also be used to define new planning and intervention programmes for their territory. For more information here.
Stratégie paysage de l'OFEV
Strategic document that defines the objectives and actions to undertake in terms of landscape policy by the Federal Bureau for the Environment in Switzerland (OFEV).
Salviamo il paesaggio
Forum formed by different associations, organisations and individuals who, sharing common concerns on the excessive urban development and the loss of landscapes, focus their efforts on the protection and management of landscape.
PUBLICATIONS OF INTEREST
Awareness-raising on landscape. A challenge for the 21st century = La sensibilització en paisatge. Un repte per al segle XXI
Busquets, Jaume; Rubert, Júlia (dir.). Barcelona: Departament de Territori i Sostenibilitat de la Generalitat de Catalunya, 2011. ISBN: 978-84-393-8788-6.
This publication summarises one of the lines of actions carried out by Pays.Med.Urban to encourage the implementation of the European Landscape Convention. The aim is to raise awareness amongst society as a whole regarding the need to protect landscapes, foment values and promote adequate management and planning policies. The full text is available here.
Guía de las rutas inciertas
Nubiola, Clara. Barcelona: Bsidebooks, 2011. ISBN: 978-84-615-4315-1.
This book was written out of shared interest between Bside Books and Clara Nubiola to get to know the city from a different perspective, categorise it avoiding tourist clichés, learn more intimately about it, visit its centres and peripheral areas, and observe the trajectory and different perceptions about the city.
L'afrontera: de la denominació a l'art de transgredir
Jané, Òscar; Forcada, Enric (eds.). Catarroja [etc.]: Afers, 2011. (Mirmanda; 1).
This book gives shape to a series of individual and shared reflections from different professional perspectives and sensitivities, though all coinciding in a frontier space, a world of debate to practically and emotionally overcome these borders.
Hispania Nostra: revista para la defensa del patrimonio cultural y natural
"El Paisaje como patrimonio", núm. 5, December 2011.
This monographic edition of the Hispania Nostra journal includes various articles in which the authors talk about their concept of landscape with respect to their patrimonial value and about new positions regarding the daunting challenge of future landscape management.
Planificación, diseño y gestión participativa del paisaje
Márquez, Fabio. Buenos Aires: Libreria Técnica CP67, 2011. ISBN: 978-987-584-334-9.
This book provides a series of ideas and techniques to be used to ensure successful participation by citizens in landscape design, planning and management. The author believes that the unavoidable changes in how public spaces are planned include the incorporation of social participation in professional practice.
Publications can be found in the documentation centre of the Landscape Observatory.
LANDSCAPE IN THE PRESS
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