"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world.

Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has"

Margaret Mead, Anthropologist
(used with permission)

"If you don't like the news .... go out and make some of your own !!"

Wes "Scoop" Nisker, Newscaster


Government is a slow and tedious process. While it often includes citizen and neighborhood involvement, non-governmental, private organizations have created movements and interesting groups which can create positive change in our cities and towns.

I am fascinated by the way groups are created and how they influence public decision making. This blog merely recognizes them and forwards the description of these groups from their own websites.

Monday, June 1, 2015

The European Landscape Convention

Location: Europe

Website: sidewalkinc.com

What, according to the Convention, does the term “landscape” cover? The landscape is part of the land, as perceived by local people or visitors, which evolves through time as a result of being acted upon by natural forces and human beings. "Landscape policy” reflects the public authorities' awareness of the need to frame and implement a policy on landscape. The public is encouraged to take an active part in its protection, conserving and maintaining the heritage value of a particular landscape, in its management, helping to steer changes brought about by economic, social or environmental necessity, and in its planning, particularly for those areas most radically affected by change, such as peri-urban, industrial and coastal areas.

The Convention sets great store by identifying and assessing landscapes through field research by professionals working in conjunction with local inhabitants. Each landscape forms a blend of components and structures types of territories, social perceptions and ever-changing natural, social and economic forces. Once this identification work has been completed and the landscape quality objectives set, the landscape can be protected, managed or developed.

One of the major innovations of the European Landscape Convention is the definition of “landscape quality objectives”, meaning, for a specific landscape, the formulation by the competent authorities of the aspirations of the public with regard to the landscape features of their surroundings. No longer the preserve of experts, landscape is now a policy area in its own right.

Management in line with landscape quality objectives also calls for education and training, including training for specialists, elected representatives and the technical staff of local, regional and national authorities, and school and university courses dealing with values attached to the landscape and its protection, management and planning.

Landscape has no borders.

Co-operation between Parties is designed to enhance the effectiveness of the measures taken in each state, provide mutual technical and scientific assistance and facilitate exchanges of landscape specialists and the sharing of information on all matters relating to the Convention. Trans-frontier cooperation is encouraged at local and regional level and, where necessary, can pave the way for the preparation and implementation of joint landscape programmes.

The Convention also established a Council of Europe Landscape Award, which the Council’s Committee of Ministers can award to a local or regional authority, or a group of such authorities (in one country or on a transfrontier basis) or a non-governmental organisation that has instituted a policy or measures to protect, manage and/or develop their landscape, which have proved lastingly effective and can thus serve as an example to other territorial authorities in Europe.

The European Landscape Convention introduced a Europe-wide concept centring on the quality of landscape protection, management and planning and covering the entire territory, not just outstanding landscapes. Through its ground-breaking approach and its broader scope, it complements the Council of Europe’s and UNESCO’s heritage conventions.

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