Landscape Values: Place and Praxis
Welcome, and thank you for your interest in this conference. Here you will find a brief overview of the conference and some important information. Below this is the Call for Papers which explains in more detail what this conference is about.
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This conference explores the values associated with places.
95 papers from 130 international experts explore innovative ways to record communal values associated with place, and offer new models of spatial planning and decision-making that honour the full suite of values associated with the places where communities live.
Hosting UNISCAPE General Assembly
Conference Proceedings will be available at the Registration Desk upon arrival (delegates will receive one free copy; additional copies may be purchased from the desk)
The programme includes 4 full-day site visits to community-led projects: Galway, Mayo, Clare and Offaly. These will be announced shortly, and seats on the respective coaches will be allocated on a first-come-first-served basis. Fully registered delegates will be given first preference, and remaining seats will be available to others and can be booked at the Registration Desk, upon arrival, at a cost of €20.00 each.
REGISTRATION: IMPORTANT NOTICE
Please note that you must book your on-campus accommodation at the time of registering on-line. This cannot be done separately.
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Call for papers
Landscape is a multi-faceted, experience-centered phenomenon: perceived, conceived, symbolised and lived. The animation between people and landscape offers a perspective on place as a profound centre of meaning and locus of values, striking at the very heart of what it is to be human. To paraphrase geographer and philosopher, Jeff Malpas “human being is placed being”.
Place is central to any critical discourse on landscape. Indeed, the landscape project, and the future for European communities and their landscapes that is envisaged in the European Landscape Convention, rests on the negotiation of the myriad values attaching to place. Of critical importance is how such values find expression and are considered in decision-making.
Arranging the contributions around four themes: Place Values; Places in Action; Place Thinking; and Place Governance; the conference aims to reflect and critique the journey of values from their genesis and expression in place, through how they are recorded and documented, to the position they command or are accorded in governance and contemporary social praxis.
All of the human sciences recognise the important role that the collective values engendered in place-making have in building and reinforcing community cohesion. However, a 2015 survey by the Heritage
Council reveals that, in Ireland, the public rank built and natural heritage equally. In fact, though the gap is statistically insignificant, nature is ranked ahead of monuments and buildings as heritage. This suggests that the values associated with nature are not only scientific, that ecosystems service more than just the biological needs of society, and that topophilia and biophilia are deeply intertwined. In short, place has ecological dimensions which, in terms of management, can be honoured by initiatives such as Natura 2000, Green Infrastructure and High Nature Value Farming.
Typically, however, many of the cultural values attaching to landscape are expressed only in the languages of poetry and the creative arts. Though uniquely sensitive to the synaptic and protean nature of the relationship between people and place, such expressions are commonly deprived of their force and agency during the decision-making process. When it comes to regional, national and international business and governance, historical and cultural values are usually required to cede to scientific and economic ones, leading to an inversion of value-hierarchies customarily associated with community projects.
Such has been the traction acquired universally by the landscape paradigm, that communities all across Europe are turning to the distinctive syntheses of natural and cultural heritages of their landscapes and home places to nurture community well-being and underpin sustainable futures. It is, moreover, becoming clear that community projects are playing a leading role in the delivery of the ambitions of the European Landscape Convention. What is equally clear, however, is that the organs of governance in many countries are ill-equipped to embrace, support and, moreover, benefit from this new reality.
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This theme aims to consider how and why landscape becomes imbued with meaning and values in the creation of lifeworlds. We aim also to reflect on how the myriad ways that meanings and values associated with landscape are made manifest, materially and ethereally, tangibly and intangibly. Place values inevitably vary across individual life courses and are shaped by social locations such as age, cohort, gender, socio-economic status, ethnicity, and health status.
Whereas place or landscape values are multitudinous, human culture has invented a near-infinite variety of ways to create, express and celebrate those values, in music and song, story and poem, art, architecture, costume, landscape design and aesthetique, food, law, commerce and ceremony, to name but a few. This phenomenon is the bedrock of what it means to be human.
The growing appreciation of the therapeutic value of landscape, and increasing awareness among health professionals of the role that landscape and access to the landscape has in health management is an important dimension of contemporary landscape theory and practice. Not confined to the recreational, contemplative and curative aspects of landscape, regard for the well-being of the biosphere has long been recognised as axiomatic to our survival as a species.
Places in Action
The growing awareness of the connection between place and well-being, evident at community level across Europe, speaks to the traction that the landscape paradigm has gained. Precipitated by unprecedented social change, globalisation, urbanisation, depopulation of rural areas, food and energy security, and environmental degradation, communities throughout Europe are turning to their own ingenuity and resources; environmental, historical and cultural; to nurture and grow sustainable futures. In addition to showcasing community projects, sharing experiences and knowledge, contributions to this
theme may also focus on the mechanisms available to support and advocate for these ground-up initiatives.
How researchers, designers and decision-makers engage with, record, measure, consider and speak or write about socio-cultural meanings and values of landscape has a direct bearing on how they are represented in management and governance. The tool-of-choice of many practitioners and authorities, Landscape Character Assessment has its critics, and in any case is only of use if appropriate mechanisms are in place to absorb the data into the decision-making process. Other methodologies, such as community mapping, offer even greater sensitivity to contemporary social attitudes and ambitions.
Place Thinking also refers to training and education of practitioners and activists. The organisers hope to canvas the experiences and views of educators on training methods and environments, and on the challenge of capturing and advocating on behalf of cultural and ecological values associated with place.