Landscape and territory: the landscape management process

Landscape Dimensions - Reflections and proposals for the implementation of the European Landscape Convention

Jaume Busquets Fàbregas, Albert Cortina Ramos, April 2017

The European Landscape Convention (ETS No. 176) of the Council of Europe is an innovative international treaty which makes it possible to define an approach to territory that takes account of the landscape dimension, i.e. the quality of the living environment of individuals and societies. It also makes this dimension part of the Organisation’s concerns about human rights and democracy, by inviting its member states to involve people closely in all stages of landscape policies. The Council of Europe has continued the work begun when the convention was adopted by the Council of Europe’s Committee of Ministers in Strasbourg and opened for signature in Florence in 2000, in order to examine and illustrate certain themes linked to the text of the convention, certain « dimensions of landscape ».

Landscape management is a recent concept, which emerged later than other concepts in the same field with which it is sometimes confused. The definition used in this report is that of the European Landscape Convention (Chapter I, Article 1): «  Landscape management  includes actions aimed, in a sustainable development perspective, at maintaining the landscape in order to guide and harmonise the transformations brought about by social, economic and environmental changes.


Definition and characteristics of landscape management

The conceptual basis of the Convention is set out in the same article, which also includes the following definitions:

The concept of « landscape management » that we are adopting is therefore derived from an international agreement, where it forms part of a coherent conceptual system, closely linked to the major objectives of the European Landscape Convention, namely: « to promote the protection, management and planning of landscapes and (…) to organise European co-operation in this field ». The concept of « landscape management » developed in the report - which is based on the Convention’s definitions - is defined as a process of formulating, articulating and deploying a set of strategies aimed at enhancing the value of a given landscape and improving the quality of life of the population within the framework of sustainable development, using the appropriate instruments and implementing the programmes and actions set out in a landscape management project.

This definition highlights four main characteristics, in line with the Convention’s objectives for landscape management:

1. the social dimension :

If landscape is considered a social product resulting from the interaction between nature and society, its management must take account of its social dimension and its dual nature as an object of study and a subject of management. This requirement must be translated into practice by the participation of social actors in the different stages of the management process and the taking into account of their perceptions and aspirations regarding the landscape;

2. the sustainable perspective:

Since the protection of landscape features and values is one of the Convention’s objectives, landscape management must be based on the principle of sustainable development and promote harmonious relations between human activities and their environment

3. the operational angle:

all the concepts defined in the Convention are based on the principle of action; landscape management must therefore aim to be operational, i.e. it must be action-oriented and have effects on the landscape and the social, economic and institutional players in accordance with the objectives and initial formulations of the owners of the management projects

4. the temporal dimension:

the landscape is intrinsically changeable. Its management must therefore be seen as a process and actions must be programmed and follow a logic and determined strategies.

Objectives of landscape management

For a long time, the concept of management has remained in the background compared to other landscape concepts such as analysis, design, protection, planning or project, which are more present in research and professional practice. Why has landscape management emerged in recent years? Several factors explain, in our opinion, this new trend:

a. the accelerated transformation of landscapes, which has reached an unprecedented pace and intensity over the last fifty years, as well as the generalisation of landscape transformation processes that concern ever larger areas, now representing almost all regions and geographical environments;

b. the lack of appropriate strategies and methodologies to deal with the transformations of landscapes that have no specific protection status (ordinary landscapes) but represent the majority of landscapes where people live;

c. social concern about landscape transformations and the desire not to lose democratic control over its dizzying evolution, which appears to be an inherent inevitability of economic growth

d. the consideration of landscape as a useful variable in contemporary spatial and urban planning, comparable to the traditional variables of these disciplines;

e. in today’s societies, the demand for a higher level of well-being, which includes the individual and social right to a quality environment and to enjoy a typical landscape with important assets that contribute to improving the quality of life

f. the character of cultural and natural heritage conferred on the landscape by society, which increasingly sees it as a scarce and endangered asset that needs to be properly treated and protected

Faced with these factors, landscape management is presented as a modality of intervention on the landscape and a professional technique which - taking into account the aspirations of the citizens and the contributions of the different disciplines - provides society with a working method contributing to the enhancement of the landscape, to sustainable development and to the quality of life. The main objectives of landscape management are :


1.1. Definition

A landscape management project is an instrument for the systematic implementation of all the stages of a landscape management process (territorial vision, diagnosis, formulation, implementation, dissemination and monitoring of proposals and actions) in order to enhance the value of a given landscape and improve the quality of life in it in accordance with the established landscape quality objectives. The protagonists of any landscape management project are the project owner, the manager, the management team and the landscape stakeholders:

The first stage, « starting hypothesis and territorial vision », consists of making contact with the territory and the landscape on which the project is based. Based on the first hypothesis emanating from the process owner and using his or her professional background and interdisciplinary knowledge, the landscape manager or management team makes an initial reading of the territory and provisionally delimits the perimeter of the management project, considers some initial key ideas and presents an initial axis in the form of a scenario articulating the different themes to be developed for the landscape concerned. We call this professional competence « territorial vision ». The second stage, « knowledge assessment and diagnosis », aims to ensure that the management project is based on a rigorous and systematic reading of the landscape. It enables the chosen perimeter to be confirmed and the project to be worked on at the appropriate territorial scale. The territorial analysis, the diagnosis of the landscape (state, evolution, trends and dynamics), the knowledge of the studies carried out and the existing documentation, the normative framework in force and the established planning, the exchanges with the landscape actors (by means of interviews with the most interesting social, economic and institutional actors) and the identification of the social networks are all factors that allow the landscape manager or management team to establish the diagnosis prior to the launch of the next stage of management. Armed with this preliminary knowledge and a diagnosis that is certainly rigorous but also shows an orientation and a desire to verify the initial hypothesis and territorial vision, we enter the third stage, known as « formulation of proposals ». It is then time to refine the objectives and define the key ideas and the focus of the management project, following an appropriate participatory process. During this stage, which requires methodology and creativity, the manager or management team will confirm or rectify the starting hypothesis and its initial vision of the territory in order to articulate the objectives and key ideas around an attractive thread (axis) that coherently highlights the themes and actions to be proposed for this landscape. Up to now, this has been a non-linear, interactive exercise, which allows progress to be made in a back-and-forth movement towards the following stages, which will consist of defining strategies for introducing the key ideas, establishing criteria for achieving the objectives, and formulating the final proposals and actions of the landscape management project. All of this, it should be remembered, is part of a participatory process.

In the fourth stage, « development and implementation of proposals », the manager or management team implements the project proposals and actions, seeking the connivance and agreement of the landscape stakeholders. The drafting and subsequent application of the various implementation instruments (plans, projects, agreements, groupings, etc.) make it possible to implement the proposals and actions according to a management programme that specifies the actors involved, the economic resources and the schedule. Mediation and consultation processes usually take place at this stage. Through these processes, the landscape stakeholders can reach a consensus and enter into commitments and obligations, particularly with regard to the financing and the provisional timetable of actions. Finally, the last stage, « dissemination and follow-up », consists of putting in place a set of communication strategies to ensure that the proposals and actions defined in the project are well understood. The project owner, through a Landscape Council, ensures that the social, economic and institutional actors are involved in the follow-up stage of the process, taking measures to raise awareness and enhance the value of the landscape capital, thus creating a genuine culture of landscape quality. To support this representative body, a technical office for the landscape can be created, responsible for implementing the concrete proposals and actions defined in the management project. The technical office, which is made up of landscape managers and other professionals specialised in landscape planning, protection and management, has the task of disseminating and bringing to life the project’s proposed content both to social, economic and institutional players and to the general public. To this end, it can call on a facilitator specialised in landscape management. During the monitoring stage, it is important to regularly evaluate the results of the management process, possibly using different landscape indicators.

Figure 13: Development of the steps in the management process

The objectives and content of each of the stages of a landscape management project will now be discussed.

Stage 1 - Starting hypothesis and territorial vision

A. Starting hypothesis and general objectives

Most of the time, at the beginning of a landscape management project there is a starting hypothesis and general objectives which the project owner communicates to the manager or management team. It is useful for the project owner to exercise his or her capacity for initiative and leadership in a participatory manner by involving other social, economic and institutional actors. In this way, the starting hypothesis and the general objectives will be the result of a prior participatory approach which will be amplified and intensified during the management process. By translating the general objectives into elements that can be used by professionals, or by drawing up specifications if public contracts are to be awarded, the project owner can form an interdisciplinary team, taking into account the main aspects of the process to be set up, the type of landscape to be managed and the objectives pursued. The project owner of the landscape management project, who is responsible for doing what is necessary to achieve the overall objectives, should provide the manager or management team with the resources they need.

B. Territorial vision

Based on the starting hypothesis and the objectives set by the project owner, the manager or management team calls on their disciplinary knowledge and experience to exercise the professional skill that can be called « territorial vision ». Once the first reading of the territory has been carried out by applying this vision, the perimeter of the project is provisionally defined and some key ideas are put forward. These are organised around an initial axis describing, in the form of a scenario, the different themes to be developed and the actions to be carried out for the landscape concerned.

a. Provisional delimitation of the project’s field of intervention

The delimitation of the area of intervention of the landscape management project corresponds to the physical division of the territory established - on the basis of the geographical scale concerned - by the project owner, the manager and the team responsible for drafting the project. At this stage, the delimitation of the project’s area of intervention remains provisional since it can evolve and become more precise as the results of the diagnosis take shape and the specific objectives become clearer. It is also at this stage that the scale or scales of work must be established, bearing in mind that this choice has an influence on the analysis of the components of the landscape and the subsequent development of management instruments (planning, project, etc.). For example, an intermediate scale (1:25,000) may be suitable for the analysis of homogeneous landscape areas, whereas for eco-geographical structures 1:10,000 would be more appropriate.

b. Anticipation of the first key ideas

Once the initial reading of the landscape has been carried out, the manager or management team can propose the first key ideas of the project, based on their territorial vision. A key idea is any tangible or intangible element of a given landscape that plays an important role and has a strong strategic potential which, taken together with other key ideas, constitutes the axis of a landscape management project. A key idea is not only a description of themes, tangible resources (territory, physical elements of the landscape…) or intangible resources (social, cultural, historical, touristic, aesthetic elements…), but the association of distinctive themes, values and resources that constitute the landscape capital of a given territory and, together, highlight its importance and strategic potential. The territorial vision brings out the key idea(s) around which one or more thematic elements for enhancing and revitalising the landscape concerned can be structured.

c. Presentation of an initial argument

Finally, taking into account the general objectives set by the project leader, the manager or management team develops and presents an initial version of the orientation of the management project. The initial vision is the basic scenario that allows a coherent thread to be established from the key ideas linking the different themes, objectives, strategies, proposals and concrete management actions. The orientation of a management project should ultimately lead to the enhancement of the landscape and a revitalisation resulting from the synergy of resources and the consensus between the actors involved.

Step 2 - Knowledge assessment and diagnosis

A. Territorial analysis

If we admit that landscape is the particular physiognomy of a territory as perceived by man, the two concepts - territory and landscape - form a dialectical couple. Moreover, the territory is not reduced to a space in the strictly Euclidean sense of the term: it is also a set of components organised in a unique way.

These two premises imply that any landscape management project must be based on a rigorous recognition of the statistical and dynamic elements of the territory. This recognition requires fieldwork and consultation of existing works or, more generally, both. Moreover, the analysis must start from an essential fact: like any landscape, any territory is unique. Indeed, there are no identical biogeographical situations (for the simple reason that each site excludes all others). Territorial analysis in the context of landscape management must be based on the study of place in the sense given to this concept in the French and English-speaking world, i.e. the extent of the site subject to a given project and its area of influence from a functional and perceptive point of view. This analysis must include the identification (recognition) and characterisation (description) of the essential components that structure the territory of the landscape studied:

To be complete, this process must ultimately lead to an overall interpretation of the territory that highlights, on the one hand, the fundamental relationships between the various parameters and, on the other, the existing hierarchy. This is what is called the territorial synthesis, which reveals the organisation of the territory and allows us to know the structure of the landscape to be managed. In the field of landscape management, the territorial analysis must therefore have a resolutely selective and synthetic character aimed at revealing the organisation of the territory and providing the parameters for establishing the landscape diagnosis and, ultimately, the landscape management project.

B. Landscape diagnosis

The data provided by the territorial analysis are indispensable, even if they are not sufficient to carry out a landscape management project. It is also necessary to carry out a landscape diagnosis in order to highlight the components of the landscape, its values and trends. If the objective of the territorial analysis stage was to understand the organisation of the territory and the specificity of the place concerned, the aim here is to take stock of the state of the landscape, the trends in its evolution and the possibilities it offers. Any management project responds to objectives of social interest relating to the landscape envisaged as a source of common projects by the project owners - objectives which must remain a constant reference throughout the process. There are several methods of landscape analysis and diagnosis, which have been developed within the framework of professional and scientific specialities such as geography, history, ecology, landscape design, town and country planning, etc. All these methods, which are concerned with the landscape, are based on the same principles and principles. All these methods, which address the various dimensions and components of the landscape, are useful. For the implementation of landscape management projects, different specialists can be called upon depending on the characteristics of the territorial and landscape sphere concerned. Different methods can therefore be applied simultaneously under the guidance of the management team coordinator, provided that the operational objectives are respected and a coherent landscape diagnosis is established. In carrying out the landscape diagnosis, the data resulting from the territorial analysis stage are complemented by the analysis of other variables essential for understanding a concept of a complex nature, the landscape, which can also be understood in several ways. The components are not always easy to objectify, but they are necessary to achieve an overall understanding of the landscape and to create a link between the population and the future of the landscape. These components include tangible and intangible aspects (visual, perceptual, cultural and ecogeographical):

To be useful for the management project, the landscape diagnosis must be selective and synthetic. The manager or management team should not try to make an exhaustive inventory or a local monograph, but rather distinguish among all the components identified, rank them and highlight the internal organisation of the landscape. The results of the diagnosis should clearly show the values, trends and possibilities offered by the landscape. These should enable the formulation of specific proposals for the enhancement of the landscape, give indications of the types of implementation projects needed and, finally, facilitate decision-making and the development of strategies common to all landscape stakeholders.

C. Analysis of the various sources of information

During the stage devoted to knowledge and diagnosis of the landscape, it is essential that the management teams be able to guarantee that they have used all existing sources of information on the landscape of interest to them. This is a question not only of scientific and technical rigour but also of efficiency and professionalism. It is important to avoid repeating what other specialists or professionals have already done. This avoids unnecessary effort and makes better use of the time available and increases the efficiency of the management team.

a. Direct sources of information

The first source of direct information is the territory itself and the study of the landscape in the field. Nothing can replace this first-rate source of information, neither scientific texts, nor iconographic documents, nor statistical databases. However, it should be clear that fieldwork is not limited to the collection of information, which is neither the only task nor the only objective to be achieved. Fieldwork not only allows for the collection of important data on different variables through various means (note-taking, photographs, maps, sketches, etc.), but also for the verification of information from other sources through direct observation, for comparison of one’s perception with others and, finally, for contacts and exchanges with social actors (interviews, surveys, debates, etc.). In this way, fieldwork provides answers but also raises questions and introduces new hypotheses and ideas. For fieldwork to be effective, it must be prepared and it must be known that it will be necessary to visit the site several times during the course of the management project in order to complete the information and/or verify new data. Depending on the scope of the survey and the objectives of the project, the organisation of the fieldwork requires more or less complex planning and coordination between members of the management team. In any case, the landscape must always end up being familiar to its managers. They must become familiar with the « country », both in the sense of the territory and its inhabitants.

b. Indirect sources of information

In general, information on the territory and the accessibility of this information have clearly progressed with social, political and economic progress. Furthermore, the development of telematics networks has contributed to making available to society an enormous volume of information of all kinds (including a wide variety of data of territorial and landscape interest) - a possibility that was unimaginable only a few years ago. These conditions facilitate access to documentary sources and the collection of documentation by management teams, but they are nonetheless crucially important tasks that require a certain amount of time. Indirect information can be divided into six main groups according to its origin:

While the knowledge of the various documentary sources is of great interest to support the proposals of the management project, the identification of normative sources is indispensable, since the instruments that establish the legal and planning framework - governing such important aspects as urbanisation, land use and territorial development of activities - are decisive in any landscape management project. Because of their great diversity and scattered nature, documentary sources are often difficult to locate, so a systematic approach and persuasive work is needed. It is increasingly common for administrations to make documentation of general interest (planning, legislation, statistics, etc.) available to citizens, but it is not always listed or easy to locate. It is often necessary to consult these documents directly for information or to promote participatory processes. While the scarcity or dispersion of information hinders the progress of projects, having too much information or using it indiscriminately can also hamper the efficiency of the manager or management team. Therefore, this stage of the management process should be given due importance and a systematic approach should be maintained. In this sense, the search for and effective use of information sources should always start after the general objectives of the project have been set and should follow the following order

The imbalance between landscape-specific information and the general information available is tending to be corrected as administrations at all levels (municipal, regional, national, etc.) take landscape policies into account in their actions and promote the development of instruments such as atlases, charters, guidelines and other landscape plans, to name but a few. In the search for information, it is useful to consult specialists and professionals who have participated in the elaboration of previous works, as well as well-informed social actors in the territory. Finally, before concluding on this point, it should be remembered that the bibliography should include a precise description of all the sources consulted and that the names of all the natural or legal persons who have provided any kind of help or information should be included in the acknowledgements.

D. Interaction with social and institutional actors

The concept of landscape management as presented in the introduction is based on the notion of landscape as a social product. The type of relationships that are established between society and the natural environment is precisely the factor that shapes landscapes, either as a result of the transformations associated with the use of natural resources by man for his survival and his various activities, or as a result of a desire to create new landscapes. Moreover, the very concept of landscape is a social (resulting from the way a society views its environment and behaves towards it) and cultural construction (which, as we know, has not existed at all stages of history nor in all societies). If we insist on the fact that the landscape is a social product, it is because at the stage of development of our societies, any process or action aiming at protecting, managing or developing the landscape must give society and thus the social actors a role they are often totally or partially deprived of. It is impossible to think about landscape management without thinking about society. Society is not a subject that passively watches the evolution of landscapes; on the contrary, it produces the landscape, it is the landscape in the same way as the other biotic or abiotic components, but it plays an increasingly important role because of its enormous potential to transform the environment. Landscape management projects must be conceived as social processes requiring applied work, to which the manager and management teams must devote the necessary time and resources and which must include the following actions

In landscape management processes, relations with social actors are extremely useful: they give access to information that is very difficult to obtain by other means, they allow a better understanding of the complexity of the landscape (private and public interests, sectoral logics, social demands, etc.), they facilitate the creation of synergies, and they lay the foundations for future agreements through consultation and mediation.

E. Drafting of the information synthesis on the diagnosis

Given that the management process is based on social participation and has an eminently operational purpose, it is important to facilitate communication between the actors through comprehensible means of expression and synthetic documents. At this stage, this requirement translates into the need to draw up a summary of the diagnosis, setting out the main results and conclusions obtained in a clear and concise manner. This document must be flexible in both content and form in order to adapt to the objectives of the management project, but it must always contain the essential information needed to answer a few very specific questions on the following points

The synthesis should stand on its own in the sense that it can be read independently of the rest of the documentation. It is written once the different diagnostic stages have been completed and the results have been verified through initial contact with the social actors. The consultations and opinions expressed by the social actors do not prevent the professionals from taking the decisions they believe to be best based on their expertise and interpretation of the results of their analysis. However, these consultations ensure that no important social parameters have been overlooked.

Step 3 - Formulation of proposals

A. Further analysis of general and specific objectives

As mentioned in step 1, when a professional takes on a landscape management project, the client(s) provide him/her with indications of the general objectives they wish to achieve, as well as the starting hypothesis for the direction and content of the project. Sometimes the project owner uses a precise formulation in the hope that the manager and management teams will use it to articulate and develop all their work - for example: « to boost the local development of a river basin by enhancing the heritage elements of the industrial landscape ». In other cases, the project owner states a more general objective - e.g. « to develop and enhance the landscape of an area » - and wants the management team to redefine the objective more precisely before launching the project. Having a precise and agreed definition of the general objectives of the project is not a trivial matter, but rather an important condition to ensure that the project starts on the right footing. In most cases, as the project progresses and the relationship between the management team and the social actors develops, the initial objectives of the project owner are fleshed out, nuanced or even reformulated. This is a normal process of maturation of ideas, based on the deepening of knowledge of the territory, the aspirations of the inhabitants, the local difficulties and the possibilities offered by the landscape. During the proposal formulation stage, the manager, or landscape management team, must achieve a double objective: to refine the general objectives and to set specific objectives. In general, it is preferable to set few general objectives and to break them down into a reasonable number of specific objectives. A profusion of general and/or specific objectives generally leads to a weakening of their scope and a lack of coherence of the project. The general objectives should concern global and/or transversal aspects of the landscape management project, while the specific objectives should refer to partial aspects which stem from the former. For example, the general objective « to boost the local development of the river basin X through the enhancement of the heritage elements of the industrial landscape » may give rise to the following specific objectives: « to establish the ecological flow of the river X », « to restore the elements of the industrial archaeological heritage of greatest interest » or « to involve the tourist sector in the creation of a quality tourist offer ». Finally, from the point of view of communication, all the objectives must be defined in a direct, synthetic and clear manner. They must be immediately understandable and unambiguous. This will facilitate communication between landscape stakeholders during the participatory process and avoid repetition, misunderstandings, false expectations and, ultimately, a feeling of frustration.

B. Defining the key ideas and formulating the rationale for the project

Once the objectives have been defined, a systematic and creative step begins, which consists of selecting key ideas and articulating them around a central theme or thread that presents the different themes, proposals and actions in a coherent way. The identification of key ideas is based on the identification of socially significant relationships between elements and/or themes of the landscape. Themes are elements or sets of tangible or intangible elements of the landscape which have a remarkable presence, role and meaning within it and which are chosen on the basis of this presence, meaning and the interest they can potentially arouse. The definition of the focus is based on the creative and meaningful linking of the key ideas through a scenario that sets the stage for the management project and the achievement of its objectives. The axis should be easy to explain and understand. It should not be confused with the slogan of a landscape management project, which is a summary of the project’s content formulated in a brief and attractive way.

Furthermore, as the definition of the key ideas progresses and the focus of the project becomes clearer, the initial hypothesis and the initial territorial vision are confirmed, qualified or rectified, and the scope of the management project is definitively established. From one end to the other, the process is not linear, it is interactive and its foundations are laid in an alternating movement that allows the proposals to be refined and action strategies to be devised, always in a transdisciplinary and participatory framework.

C. Design of action strategies and more precise analysis of proposals

To achieve the objectives of management projects, it is necessary to develop well-designed strategies and to refine proposals - this third stage is ideal for this. The time spent on both tasks - which should be coordinated by the management team leader - is time saved over the whole project because it avoids the inconvenience of improvisation that can result from insufficient planning. Strategies are systems for coordinating actions and their modalities to achieve well-defined objectives. Management strategies should determine - in the short, medium and long term - the tasks to be carried out, their sequence and the participants (professionals and landscape stakeholders) directly or indirectly responsible for these tasks, as well as the content of the project proposals. Alternatives should also be foreseen in order to have a wide range of possibilities and mechanisms for negotiation and consultation. To be effective, the strategy should anticipate the difficulties that may arise during the management process and provide ways to overcome them. Difficulties to be overcome by effective strategies in management processes include

On a more positive note, transdisciplinary work offers opportunities to design good strategies thanks to

the multiplicity of cognitive, relational and information networks accessible to different professionals

The management team leader is responsible for coordinating the design of the strategies and checking that the process is running smoothly. To this end, he/she must monitor and determine the following aspects: project planning, task planning, coordination of activities and pooling of the work of the team members, supervision of the quality of the results, financial control, dialogue with the management project owner and supervision of the most important documents drawn up for the project and their archiving. Proposals are the actions of all kinds planned by the management project. They can be one-off interventions or actions (such as the integration of certain facilities into the landscape or the restoration of a landscape of particular interest), or more complex operations (such as the drafting or application of planning instruments, the creation of structures, etc.). Communication of the proposals to social forces and landscape stakeholders is a very important aspect. A good project that is poorly formulated (inadequate means of expression or poor communication strategy) may be badly perceived. This is why great care must be taken in the way the results are presented and the means used. It must be clear to the manager or management team that the success of the proposals depends on their understanding. Current technologies (geographic information systems, drawing software, image processing, virtual representation systems, etc.) and traditional means (freehand drawing, photography, sketches, models, etc.) must be chosen according to the possibilities of expression they offer and the characteristics of the proposal to be defended. In all cases, the means must be at the service of the project, in accordance with its purpose and nature.

D. Writing the summary information on the proposals

The leader of the management team must do some planning work at the initial stages of the project on the three aspects mentioned above, namely the objectives, the focus and the strategies. At this stage, the results of the planning should be summarised in a summary report which specifies concisely for each of the proposals:

All the proposals can be presented in the form of a diagram or a synthetic plan giving an overall idea of the content of the project. The document should not be very long, but should nevertheless provide a coherent overview that answers the basic questions that the project manager or the landscape stakeholders might ask. Since it is a communication tool, which will have many readers among the social actors and which can facilitate the progress of the project, it deserves all the attention and time necessary.

Stage 4 - Development and implementation of proposals

A. Drafting and applying implementation tools

The landscape management project is carried out through a set of instruments that allow the proposals and actions formulated in the previous stage to be implemented - planning, project, regulation, consultation and organisation instruments.

a. Planning instruments

As a rule, the proposals formulated in a landscape management project require the planning of the physical space by means of an operational land-use planning or urban planning instrument. In order to give form to these proposals, an instrument is needed which depends on the scale at which one is working, but also on the type of plan, the initiative and the administration which draws it up. Sometimes the proposals set out in the landscape management project require, for example, a modification of the general planning of the municipality or the drafting of an internal reform plan, an urban improvement plan or a special urban plan with variable or strictly landscape objectives. All these binding instruments can set guidelines and give rise to landscape interventions on the existing urban space, new growth areas, areas of economic activity, the peri-urban space, infrastructures and facilities, the rural space, protected areas or the hydrographic network. At the territorial level, the proposals of the landscape management project can sometimes also be included in territorial plans, sectoral plans, master plans or any other spatial planning instrument drawn up in the area of intervention concerned.

b. Project instruments

Landscape architecture or landscape projects also provide a framework for the implementation of proposals and actions of a landscape management project involving intervention in the territory (reconstruction, restoration or creation of landscapes). Landscape projects define the physical transformations of the territory and can take up the key ideas and focus of a management project. Their implementation, when the time comes, contributes to improving the landscape.

c. Regulatory instruments

One of the possibilities for implementing the proposals and actions formulated in a landscape management project is offered by the law. Landscape regulations apply - in detail and mainly at local level - to various elements affecting the landscape (e.g. buildings, constructions, installations, uses, activities, advertising, landscape improvement campaigns, economic aids and incentives, etc.) in order to improve the quality of the urban, rural or peri-urban landscape. Urban planning standards established by planning instruments can also be used as a basis for proposals relating to the layout of buildings, the regulation of uses and activities.

d. Instruments of dialogue and landscape mediation

The landscape management process is a participatory process through which a territorial pact is sought to enhance the strengths of the landscape and improve the quality of life of the inhabitants. Landscape concertation is a form of participation which aims to reach, through a process of negotiation between territorial actors and administrations, a pact on the territorial model and landscape policies or a specific agreement on the strategies, objectives, instruments, actions or measures to be implemented to improve the protection, planning and management of the landscape. Furthermore, we have defined the concept of landscape mediation as the process of conflict prevention and conciliation of interests conducted by the manager or management team within the framework of a given landscape protection, planning or management policy. This new term will be used to designate the intermediation function carried out by the landscape manager or management team between the various stakeholders in the territory in order to improve the quality and quantity of the information they receive and thus obtain a consensus on the identification, characterisation and qualification of the landscape, on the definition of landscape quality values and objectives, and on the determination of strategies, intervention proposals and projects and actions to be carried out as part of a landscape management process. One of the most widely used consultation instruments in the field of landscape is the landscape charter, an operational instrument for participation, consultation and mediation between the voluntary public and private actors of a territory. Its aim is to improve the landscape and the quality of life of the inhabitants. To this end, it sets landscape quality objectives, promotes agreement on intervention strategies and formalises commitments relating to the implementation of the actions included in the management programme. This instrument is usually applied at the inter-municipal scale; it either includes one or more landscape management projects, or it corresponds to a given management project for a well-defined area.

The landscape management agreement is a contractual instrument of consultation and mediation which links the public authorities to the actors involved in a management process and formalises the commitments made within the framework of the project; it concerns the obligations and conditions for landscape maintenance, the application of concrete landscape integration measures in a specific project, the possibilities of access to certain aids or subsidies, and the territorial equalisation between the parties affected by the landscape protection, planning or management measures Finally, the last instrument which is also contractual and suitable for landscape management is the land protection contract. This can be any written agreement for the conservation and management of a private estate between the owner of the estate and a land protection agency. Such an agreement may be established through a process of negotiation and consultation, and formalised in a contract specifying each of the legal provisions adopted (with or without transfer of ownership). This contract may become official and be registered in the land registry, which attests to its existence and makes the information public.

e. Organisational instruments

In order to carry out the actions proposed in the landscape management project and thus to develop its main theme, it is possible to set up ad hoc bodies - groupings, syndicates or other administrative entities provided for by the legislation in force, taking into account the distribution of competences in landscape matters between the different levels of government: State, region, department, municipality, etc. - and to set up a network of local authorities. The management project may also be implemented by means of civil legal entities (foundations, associations, territorial protection bodies, etc.) or commercial entities (limited liability companies, public limited companies, etc.) existing in the legal system of each country.

B. Implementation of proposals and actions

A landscape management project has to be operational, which is why it has to be designed with a view to its implementation - it is not a study, an academic exercise or a strategic programme.

C. Consultation on resources and funding

The resources needed to develop and implement a landscape management project are financial and human. Management project proposals may provide for specific resources to implement actions by setting up landscape funds from public or private sources. In the first instance, therefore, a public fund for landscape conservation should be used, constituted by several administrations in accordance with the landscape legislation applicable to them. In some states, this fund is financed by a small percentage of the budget for large-scale actions and works on public infrastructure and facilities in order to implement proposals and actions arising from landscape policies.

Furthermore, the inclusion of landscape elements in sectoral policies (environment, tourism, agriculture, public works, culture, etc.) makes it possible to indirectly use the resources intended for these sectors to contribute to the implementation of the proposals and actions foreseen in the landscape management projects. It is also possible to initiate processes of consultation and negotiation in order to sign financing agreements with the private sector (foundations, banks, business associations, economic development bodies, institutional or individual sponsors) and thus create private funds for carrying out the proposals and actions of the management project. There are also other types of incentives such as technical assistance to individuals or companies for the drafting and application of implementation instruments (plans, landscape projects, etc.) or for the enhancement of landscapes through indirect aid, such as that aimed at supporting tourism policies or quality agricultural production. The landscape manager must be aware of the various sources of funding, aid and economic resources available, and inform the project owner and the landscape actors of them. The same applies to possible tax incentives and subsidies for landscape policies and actions. It can also submit applications for support or subsidies directly. Landscape management agreements are suitable for consultation on funding and the fulfilment of commitments made by social, economic and institutional actors.

D. Drawing up an action programme

In any landscape management project, the short-, medium- or long-term implementation of the proposals and specific actions foreseen by the project must be programmed. It is important to be realistic in setting deadlines. For management to be truly effective, the intervention of the different landscape actors and the concrete implementation of the actions must follow a logical and chronological order.

Step 5 - Dissemination and monitoring

A. Deployment of communication and dissemination strategies

In landscape management processes, « communication » means the transmission and exchange of useful information on the landscape between the different social, economic and institutional actors. More generally, communication can also be understood as the transmission of knowledge or cultural signifiers related to landscapes. Every landscape management project must include a communication and dissemination programme to publicise the objectives, key ideas, strategies, proposals and actions formulated, the focus of the project and the means envisaged for its implementation. In addition to the traditional means of communication (written press, radio, television, etc.), Internet portals have opened up new prospects for developing effective dissemination programmes. It is practical, at all stages of the project, to collect all kinds of information related to the management process for inclusion in the project monitoring documentation. It is necessary to establish a communication strategy that takes into account the diversity of the social groups potentially interested and adapts the information content to the characteristics and interests of each of these groups: the general public, associations, school population, etc. In order to promote landscape education (in the sense of transmitting information to create positive attitudes towards the landscape and its values), it is useful for the manager or management team to contact educational establishments in order to inform teachers and students about the management project carried out in the territory where they live. In short, the main objective of the communication and dissemination stage is the creation of a social climate favourable to the implementation of landscape management projects, on the one hand, and of a genuine landscape culture strengthening the appreciation of landscape values and improving personal and social attitudes towards landscape, on the other.

B. Making the process of implementing proposals and actions more dynamic

The project owner initiating the process may propose, at this stage, the setting up of a Landscape Council, which it manages and finances. This council brings together representatives of the territory’s stakeholders, a landscape manager who has participated in the process and other professionals specialising in landscape planning, protection and management. Its objective is to stimulate the participation of the stakeholders in the stages of communication, dissemination, stimulation, monitoring and evaluation of the results of the landscape management process. As the landscape council is a representative and participatory body bringing together landscape stakeholders to monitor the project, it is useful for it to be supported by a technical landscape office composed of a team of technicians, namely landscape managers and other professionals specialising in landscape planning, protection and management. This office is responsible for the implementation of the management project at different stages: initiation, execution, sustainability. It is also possible to use the services of a professional facilitator, whose task is to disseminate the proposed content of the management process to social and economic institutional actors as well as to the general population. The facilitator thus collaborates with the landscape manager, the management team, the landscape council and the technical office to promote and implement the proposals and actions of the landscape management project.

C. Evaluation of the results of the management process

Any management process requires continuous evaluation of its results. In the case of landscape management, the evaluation of the development and implementation of the project requires the use of appropriate methods and instruments and the achievement of the objectives set. To this end, the Landscape Technical Office can design a set of indicators using all the quantitative and qualitative elements needed to know the evolution and state of the landscape in question and to monitor it regularly, to estimate the level of satisfaction of the population with the results of the proposals and actions carried out or being carried out, and to measure the effectiveness of the public and private initiatives resulting from the agreements resulting from the various consultation and mediation processes.

Figure 14: Landscape management as a process and the objectives of the European Landscape Convention


2.1. Convergence of disciplines and professions

The European Landscape Convention shows that interdisciplinary and multi-professional work is needed for the tasks of landscape protection, management and planning. In the case of management in particular, this requirement is even stronger, since the achievement of results and objectives relies on the ability to create synergies through the interaction of all relevant landscape actors. This is why in the teams involved in landscape management projects there are specialists from different disciplines and professional backgrounds with common theoretical and practical objectives but different points of view and perspectives according to their training, some of which are inherited from a long epistemological tradition (landscape architects, geographers, architects, environmentalists, engineers…) while others have only recently been associated with landscape management (sociologists, lawyers, economists…). A non-exhaustive list of the main professionals integrated in landscape management teams who intervene either throughout the process, or at certain stages only, or by collaborating on specific projects is presented below:

The specific composition of the management team requires the project owner and the project manager to achieve maximum transdisciplinarity within the economic means at their disposal. In other words, they must optimise the interaction between the vision and results of the various disciplines and professional skills, so that each point of view and each vision is influenced or modified by the others and the various specialists revise their approach taking into account the debate with the other members of the management team. In transdisciplinary work, the specialist or professional « contributes, learns and retroactively modifies his or her own contributions. The behaviour of the transdisciplinary team is systemic, which explains the helical evolution of its working process » (Folch, 2003).

2.2. Professional skills in landscape management

Landscape management is considered here as a transversal and transdisciplinary process. Its fundamental characteristics are dynamism, social participation, rigour and creativity in the way strategies and proposals are considered. These qualities make it possible to identify the objectives, develop the key ideas and establish a direction for achieving the goals of a landscape management project. The different professionals, owners, social, economic and institutional actors, by intervening in the management processes, interact permanently: they create networks, reach consensus and deepen the culture of landscape enhancement. The teams that develop landscape management projects bring together specialists from different disciplines and professional backgrounds who bring different perspectives according to their specific training and who, through a transdisciplinary work process, analyse the elements of a landscape, diagnose its state and identify the themes present. The formulation and execution of a landscape management project, designed to improve the quality of life of the inhabitants and local development, requires specific skills on the part of the professionals involved throughout the process. Among the most important skills required of landscape management professionals are :

The trans-disciplinary nature of teamwork requires the ability to interact with other professionals, who often have different visions, methods and even languages. Communication skills facilitate the transmission of ideas and proposals, both to the project owner and to the actors involved in the various participatory stages. Mediation skills help to prevent conflicts throughout the process or to reach agreements between individuals or social groups who share the same territory and whose interests are sometimes divergent. The ability to synthesise facilitates the handling of a considerable volume of information, documents, data and criteria to be used in the various stages of the management process. By developing creativity, the landscape manager can go beyond the simple function of administrator. Managing projects is not just about administering, it is about analysing, planning, directing, controlling and modifying teams on an ongoing basis throughout the life of the project. The manager must be able to motivate the management teams to articulate the various key ideas and develop a common thread so that the project is based on clear proposals.


The ultimate objective of landscape management is to formulate and implement proposals and actions aimed at enhancing and improving landscapes, increasing the well-being and quality of life of the inhabitants in order to promote sustainable development based on a balanced and harmonious relationship between environmental, cultural, economic and social requirements.


To go further


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