Community-based landscape awareness

Community-based landscape awareness -The Landscape Observatory of Catalonia
Pere Sala i Martí

landscape awareness, landscape governance, landscape management, dialogue, community

Landscape policy cannot be effective without awareness-raising. Beyond formalised processes based on highly structured methodologies and strategies regarding education, communication, dissemination of publications, organisation of courses, et cetera, direct action in the territory based on dialogue has proven to be a very powerful and effective way to positively influence a community’s values and attitudes towards the landscape and, indirectly, improve the state of the landscapes. The paper illustrates this for Catalonia.

Summary: In 2005, the Parliament of Catalonia passed the Landscape Protection, Management and Planning Act as the basis for landscape policy, and the Land-scape Observatory of Catalonia was set up as the Government of Catalonia’s assessment body on land-scape matters and as a way to create public aware-ness on landscape. The Landscape Catalogues of Catalonia and the Cross-border Plan of La Cerdanya, among many other initiatives, note that awareness-raising has to be approached as an open and spiral-shaped interactive process. Every step forward makes people more receptive and places them in a better position to appreciate the value of landscape. It is also relevant that local communities are increasingly interested in landscape, as they perceive the landscape as a catalyst for development and a way to increase self-esteem, identity and quality of life. As such, both initiatives have contributed to making a step forward because they have the ability to document and guide public policies and, at the same time, an enormous potential for educating and raising public awareness.

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