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Sustainable Development in Contested Landscapes: A Landscape Model for Participation Processes

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Type: Conference Paper
Author: Backhaus, N.
Conference: Governing Shared Resources: Connecting Local Experience to Global Challenges, the Twelfth Biennial Conference of the International Association for the Study of Commons
Location: Cheltenham, England
Conf. Date: July 14-18, 2008
Date: 2008
URI: https://hdl.handle.net/10535/431
Sector: General & Multiple Resources
Land Tenure & Use
Subject(s): landscape change
participatory development
Abstract: "Landscapes are often regarded as common goods even if the land itself belongs to someone. People are increasingly concerned with landscape development and have opinions about that process. Therefore, landscapes are contested space that different stakeholders want to develop according to their interests. They are based on people's individual situation and social context and often they are focused on specific issues (i.e. tourists want 'beautiful' landscapes, farmers to optimise their production, environmentalists are interested in biodiversity etc.). Sustainable landscape development that includes an intact environment, economic prosperity and social cohesion has to find a way to negotiate different interests, if it wants to be widely accepted. Participation processes trying to achieve this often fail because different interests are irreconcilable, but also because stakeholders focus on different issues and aspects without realizing that they do this. The visual turn brought a tendency to see landscapes as absolute in the sense of 'what you see is what you get', which is inhibiting discussions about different possibilities and trajectories. With the presented landscape model we provide a tool to make differences transparent and to overcome them. It consists of four poles of landscape perception: nature, culture, the individual, and the society. Stakeholders and also scientists tend to gravitate to one of these poles and to disregard the others. With the field that is spanned by the poles different positions can be made visible and therefore negotiable. However, our model goes further and identifies six dimensions of landscape perception that can be integrated into the pole model: the ecological, economic, political, aesthetic, identificatory, and corporeal-sensory dimensions. The consideration of these dimensions helps to conceive and plan landscape development in an integral way and is a base for successful participation processes for which recommendations are made."

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