Towards an International Landscape Convention

Author: Kathryn Moore

Professor of Landscape Architecture, PPLI, IFLA representative, UK

Explaining the provenance of the proposal for an international landscape convention and the process of engaging with UNESCO and the United Nations Agencies, this paper explains some of the key aspects of the debate. Why this proposal is so vital and of the moment. Why there is a need to have an international convention and the key conceptual innovations distinguishing it from other tools and mechanisms. Focusing on the idea of landscape, it explores the relevance of a dynamic concept that neither relies on a universal definition, nor on the delineation or listing of territories, but is a new way of thinking about landscape, responsive to different local, national and regional interpretations. The proposal is therefore not simply about landscape as bio diversity or ecology. It’s not only concerned with the countryside or matters of heritage. It addresses the entire package, values and memories, the experience we have of place. A more democratic concept, it relates to remarkable and degraded landscapes, the special and the everyday, all territories from rural to urban; all areas, from the most treasured to the most nondescript and unloved, the places and spaces in desperate need of regeneration. A case study illustrates how this new concept might be applied in practice to establish a productive dialogue to kick start local economies, engage local communities and provide a spatial landscape vision to guide city and institutional development strategies. Expanding concerns with landscapes that survive modern developments, the paper outlines a way to inform more sustainable cultural, social and economic futures.

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