Cultural landscape

A cultural landscape, as defined by the World Heritage Committee, is the “cultural properties represent the combined works of nature and of man”.

In the scientific literature of the geosciences and biosciences, as well as in writings from state planning and nature conservation, the term “cultural landscape” is used in many ways and in some cases distinctly different from each other. The reason for this heterogeneity lies above all in the evaluation of hemeroby (measure of the total influence of man on natural ecosystems): “Who shapes the landscape more strongly – man or nature?” Is the “question of faith”.

“a landscape designed and created intentionally by man”
an “organically evolved landscape” which may be a “relict (or fossil) landscape” or a “continuing landscape”
an “associative cultural landscape” which may be valued because of the “religious, artistic or cultural associations of the natural element.”

Three basic definitions can be formulated:

The quantitative approach
According to this definition, today the entire land surface of the earth would have to be regarded as a cultural landscape, since at least anthropogenic emissions can be detected everywhere. Accordingly, a distinction to the natural landscape would be obsolete.

This broad interpretation has the most proponents among landscape planners. As an example of anthropogenic changes from wilderness to cultivated landscape, the Amazon and Terra preta, a land that has undergone anthropogenic changes for centuries and is found on large areas along the riverbanks, is often cited. The broad interpretation is often criticized and leads to debates in the sense of “wilderness or cultural landscape?”. For example, the question arises as to how the processes of global climate change should be evaluated in this context. Cultural landscapes then appear in more or less large proportions than notintended, procedural effects of human activities.

The value neutral approach
“A cultural landscape is a space whose shape was and is clearly shaped by human land use. Cultural landscapes are not only ecologically valuable or “beautiful” landscapes – but places to which people have a close relationship. ”
In this sense, the uninhabitable anecdotes of the earth (inland ice, glaciers, vegetation-less deserts), but also the non-permanently populated parts of the subcumene are attributed to the natural landscapes. These include natural areas such as the primary forests of the humid tropics or the steppes and tundra of Asia, which are traditionally only used intermittently and extensively. Even through overexploitation destroyed ecosystems in the wilderness regions is expected by this definition, not to cultural landscapes. The entire ecumenism – from rural areasover the settlement or urban landscapes up to the industrial and economic landscapes – is here attributed to the cultural landscapes. This includes all “feral” areas within ecumenism historically shaped by man. Even remains of Hutwäldern or very old protected areas belong accordingly to it, since they lie as island relics in the populated area not away from “clear influences”. In this context, mention is made of frequent visitors who leave their mark and disrupt the natural balance, and the defunct European megafauna(eg European bison, aurochs, moose, brown bear), whose landscaping role remains unoccupied. Depending on the perspective, at the beginning of the 21st century around 50 to 70% of the land surface can be attributed to these anthropogenic landscapes.

This concept is commonly used by geographers and landscape ecologists. It found its way into the international scientific debate, not least through the geographical school of Carl Ortwin Sauer (Berkeley School) on American geography.

Example from the Dictionary of General Geography:
“The cultural landscape is created by the permanent influence, in particular the economic and settlement use of the original natural landscape by human groups and societies in the exercise of their basic functions. Their regionally differentiated character is not determined by nature, but influenced by it, and indeed the stronger the lower the technological development of the cultural landscape forming group. The cultural landscape receives its regional expression in particular by the residential function (type and distribution of human settlements), the type of economic activity (agricultural land use, extraction of raw materials, industry and commerce) and the education of the transport network. ”
The geographer Martin Schwind adds from culture Geographically, that every cultural landscape must be seen as an expression of the human mind:
“Any investigation of a landscape’s real structure will be able to expose beyond its objective meaning an unreal background: the mind that carries those things. This spirit has been different at all times and has also put different questions to the traditional landscape. ”
The term anthropogenic landscape is sometimes used synonymously for this definition. For example, this also forms the basis for the concept of the anthropogenic biomes according to Ellis and Ramankutty.

The qualitative approach
“A cultural landscape is a space that has been shaped by pre- and early modern peasant use and still has the corresponding plant formations and structures. Such cultivated landscapes are rich in species and therefore worth preserving from a nature conservation point of view. ”
This close look is based on subjective notions of “desirable landscapes” and plays an important role especially in nature conservation. Differentiation from other definitions is sometimes referred to as historical cultural landscapes or cultural landscapes related to specific areas. About 15 percent of the world’s land area can be used as “settlement near cultural landscapes” (irrigated- Residential and Residential rainfed cropland mosaic by Erle C. Ellis and Navin Ramankutty) are considered.

For example, the Central European cultural landscape is understood to mean an area characterized by agricultural use, in which the use has not exceeded a certain intensity level. Thus arose until the first half of the 20th century very species- rich habitats (eg, wetlands, meadows, orchards), which then in the course of further intensification disappeared agriculture in large part again. Such historical cultural landscapes of Europe are more species-rich (→ see: Biodiversity) as a naturally formed final forest society, Due to their peculiarities, different cultural landscapes can be separated from each other.

The qualitative approach is again expressed in different “varieties”. Two examples:

Hans Hermann Wöbse:
“Cultural landscapes are man-made landscapes whose economic, ecological, aesthetic and cultural achievements and conditions are in a balanced relationship, which ensure a continuous development dynamic and are suitable for the long-term to serve people as a home.”

Gottfried Briemle:
“An intensively used by humans, but characterized by small-scale economic practices agricultural landscape whose household is ecologically relatively stable through a variety of landscape elements and preserves in their physiognomy natural differences.”
The word culture (in the agricultural sense) is understood here not only as a cultivation and care of the soil, but rather as an expression of human creativity in rural areas par excellence. For the landscaping, the same standards apply as for the cultural buildings and the intellectual-cultural thoughts and customs. As a result, not only the plant cover is relevant, but also every visible sign of the landscape attachment of the farmer. In terms of the type, extent and intensity of management, he made himself largely self-stabilizing natural balanceadvantage. Such created by man landscape elements are z. B. Heckensäume and woody islands next to fields to protect against wind and dehydration. Single trees like fruit trunks or oak trees as shade trees on cattle pastures. But also field and dry stone walls to reduce erosion damage and to facilitate management. Lesesteinriegel were created during the cultivation of stony meadows or fields. These landscape elements, which used to be useful for rural farming, often interfere with the management of large areas. You learn protection z. B. by the designation as cultural monuments.

History of the concept
The concept of ‘cultural landscapes’ can be found in the European tradition of landscape painting. From the 16th century onwards, many European artists painted landscapes in favor of people, diminishing the people in their paintings to figures subsumed within broader, regionally specific landscapes.

The word “landscape” itself combines “land” with a verb of Germanic origin, “scapjan/schaffen” to mean, literally, “shaped lands”. Lands were then considered shaped by natural forces, and the unique details of such landshaffen (shaped lands) became themselves the subject of ‘landscape’ paintings.

The geographer Otto Schlüter is credited with having first formally used “cultural landscape” as an academic term in the early 20th century. In 1908, Schlüter argued that by defining geography as a Landschaftskunde (landscape science) this would give geography a logical subject matter shared by no other discipline. He defined two forms of landscape: the Urlandschaft (transl. original landscape) or landscape that existed before major human induced changes and the Kulturlandschaft (transl. ‘cultural landscape’) a landscape created by human culture. The major task of geography was to trace the changes in these two landscapes.

It was Carl O. Sauer, a human geographer, who was probably the most influential in promoting and developing the idea of cultural landscapes. Sauer was determined to stress the agency of culture as a force in shaping the visible features of the Earth’s surface in delimited areas. Within his definition, the physical environment retains a central significance, as the medium with and through which human cultures act. His classic definition of a ‘cultural landscape’ reads as follows:

“The cultural landscape is fashioned from a natural landscape by a cultural group. Culture is the agent, the natural area is the medium, the cultural landscape is the result”

Since Schlüter’s first formal use of the term, and Sauer’s effective promotion of the idea, the concept of ‘cultural landscapes has been variously used, applied, debated, developed and refined within academia. In the 1950s, for instance, J.B. Jackson and his publication ‘Landscape’ influenced a generation of particularly American scholars, including architectural historians Denise Scott Brown, and Gwendolyn Wright.

By 1992, the World Heritage Committee elected to convene a meeting of the ‘specialists’ to advise and assist redraft the Committee’s Operational Guidelines to include ‘cultural landscapes’ as an option for heritage listing properties that were neither purely natural nor purely cultural in form (i.e. ‘mixed’ heritage).

The World Heritage Committee’s adoption and use of the concept of ‘cultural landscapes’ has seen multiple specialists around the world, and many nations identifying ‘cultural landscapes’, assessing ‘cultural landscapes’, heritage listing ‘cultural landscapes’, managing ‘cultural landscapes’, and effectively making ‘cultural landscapes’ known and visible to the world, with very practical ramifications and challenges.

A 2006 academic review of the combined efforts of the World Heritage Committee, multiple specialists around the world, and nations to apply the concept of ‘cultural landscapes’, observed and concluded that:

“Although the concept of landscape has been unhooked for some time from its original art associations… there is still a dominant view of landscapes as an inscribed surface, akin to a map or a text, from which cultural meaning and social forms can simply be read.”

Within academia, any system of interaction between human activity and natural habitat is regarded as a cultural landscape. In a sense this understanding is broader than the definition applied within UNESCO, including, as it does, almost the whole of the world’s occupied surface, plus almost all the uses, ecologies, interactions, practices, beliefs, concepts, and traditions of people living within cultural landscapes. Following on this, geographer Xoán Paredes defines cultural landscape as:

“… the environment modified by the human being in the course of time, the long-term combination between anthropic action on this environment and the physical constraints limiting or conditioning human activity. It is a geographical area – including natural and cultural resources – associated to historical evolution, which gives way to a recognizable landscape for a particular human group, up to the point of being identifiable as such by others.”

Some Universities now offer specialist degrees in the study of cultural landscapes, including, for instance, the Universities of Naples, St.-Étienne, and Stuttgart who offer a Master of Cultural Landscapes diploma.

Historical Cultural Landscape Elements
On the basis of historical cultural landscape elements, the regional character of cultural landscapes can be described in more detail. A distinction is made between structural elements (eg architectural monuments, chapels and crosses) and use-related elements (eg hollow paths, fields, orchards, avenues, hedges, vineyards and historic corridors). Many historical cultural landscape elements are evidence of earlier economic activity. They are referred to as historical cultural landscape elements if they would not reappear under the current economic and social conditions.

The scientific study of cultural landscapes
The Cultural Landscape as a system of interaction of human activity and natural environment is in a sense that goes beyond the definition of UNESCO, the subject of Master of Cultural Landscapes (MaCLands), the European Master jointly by the Universities of Naples, St.-Etienne and Stuttgart is offered.

The World Heritage Committee has identified and listed a number of areas or properties as cultural landscapes of universal value to humankind, including the following:

Tongariro National Park, New Zealand (1993)
“In 1993 Tongariro National Park, became the first property to be inscribed on the World Heritage List under the revised criteria describing cultural landscapes. The mountains at the heart of the park have cultural and religious significance for the Maori people and symbolize the spiritual links between this community and its environment. The park has active and extinct volcanoes, a diverse range of ecosystems and some spectacular landscapes.”

Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, Australia (1994)
“This park, formerly called Uluru (Ayers Rock – Mount Olga) National Park, features spectacular geological formations that dominate the vast red sandy plain of central Australia. Uluru, an immense monolith, and Kata Tjuta, the rock domes located west of Uluru, form part of the traditional belief system of one of the oldest human societies in the world. The traditional owners of Uluru-Kata Tjuta are the Anangu Aboriginal people.”

Rice Terraces of Philippine Cordilleras (1995)
“For 2,000 years, the high rice fields of the Ifugao have followed the contours of the mountains. The fruit of knowledge handed down from one generation to the next, and the expression of sacred traditions and a delicate social balance, they have helped to create a landscape of great beauty that expresses the harmony between humankind and the environment.”

Cultural Landscape of Sintra Portugal (1995)
“In the 19th century Sintra became the first centre of European Romantic architecture. Ferdinand II turned a ruined monastery into a castle where this new sensitivity was displayed in the use of Gothic, Egyptian, Moorish and Renaissance elements and in the creation of a park blending local and exotic species of trees. Other fine dwellings, built along the same lines in the surrounding serra, created a unique combination of parks and gardens which influenced the development of landscape architecture throughout Europe”.

Portovenere, Cinque Terre, and the Islands (Palmaria, Tino and Tinetto), Italy (1997)
“The Ligurian coast between Cinque Terre and Portovenere is a cultural landscape of great scenic and cultural value. The layout and disposition of the small towns and the shaping of the surrounding landscape, overcoming the disadvantages of a steep, uneven terrain, encapsulate the continuous history of human settlement in this region over the past millennium.”

Hortobágy National Park, Hungary (1999)
Hortobágy National Park is the largest continuous natural grassland in Europe, which means that it was not formed as a result of deforestation or river control. The first Hungarian national park (established in 1973), it is the country’s largest protected area (82 thousand hectares). A significant part of it is Biosphere Reserve and a quarter of its area enjoys international protection under the Ramsar Convention on the conservation of wetlands.

Matobo Hills, Zimbabwe (2003)
The Matobo Hills area exhibits a profusion of distinctive rock landforms rising above the granite shield that covers much of Zimbabwe. The large boulders provide abundant natural shelters and have been associated with human occupation from the early Stone Age right through to early historical times, and intermittently since. They also feature an outstanding collection of rock paintings. The Matopo Hills continue to provide a strong focus for the local community, which still uses shrines and sacred places closely linked to traditional, social and economic activities.

Dresden Elbe Valley, Germany (2004)
“The 18th- and 19th-century cultural landscape of Dresden Elbe Valley… features low meadows, and is crowned by the Pillnitz Palace and the centre of Dresden with its numerous monuments and parks from the 16th to 20th centuries. The landscape also features 19th- and 20th-century suburban villas and gardens and valuable natural features.”

This landscape was struck from the World Heritage list in 2009, due to the construction of a four lane highway across the Elbe

Lavaux Vineyard Terraces, Switzerland (2007)
“The Lavaux vineyard landscape demonstrates in a highly visible way its evolution and development over almost a millennium, through the well preserved landscape and buildings that demonstrate a continuation and evolution of longstanding cultural traditions, specific to its locality.”

West Lake Cultural Landscape of Hangzhou, China (2011)
“The West Lake Cultural Landscape of Hangzhou, comprising the West Lake and the hills surrounding its three sides, has inspired famous poets, scholars and artists since the 9th century. It comprises numerous temples, pagodas, pavilions, gardens and ornamental trees, as well as causeways and artificial islands.”

Qhapaq Ñan (Inca Road System), Northwestern Argentina, South Colombia, Ecuador, Bolivia, Peru, Chile (2014)
Qhapaq Ñan is an extensive Inca communication, trade and defense network of roads covering 30,000 km. Constructed by the Incas over several centuries and partly based on pre-Inca infrastructure, this extraordinary network through one of the world’s most extreme geographical terrains linked the snow-capped peaks of the Andes – at an altitude of more than 6,000 m – to the coast, running through hot rainforests, fertile valleys, and absolute deserts. It reached its maximum expansion in the 15th century when it spread across the length and breadth of the Andes. The Qhapac Ñan, Andean Road System includes 273 component sites spread over more than 6,000 km that were selected to highlight the social, political, architectural and engineering achievements of the network, along with its associated infrastructure for trade, accommodation, and storage, as well as sites of religious significance.

The influence of ideas
Schluter and Sauer approaches to the concept of “cultural landscape” determined the development of this direction in the geography of Western academic circles throughout the XX century. But they have not lost their relevance today. For example, V. L. Kagansky links the emergence of new cultural landscapes with the ever-increasing activity of minorities. He believes that the approach of has a potentially considerable future – as long as the future lies with minorities, if the identification of the latter is of an ethnic type; the only question is whether programmers, designers, retailers will form endogamous communities (an attribute of ethnic groups), settle down compactly and form their own micro-landscapes.

There is also a version that in the future cultural landscapes should cover the Earth as a whole, torn apart only by a network of protected areas that act as an ecological framework. And in this case, the concept of the cultural landscape is close to the idea of the noosphere – the sphere of the mind, which, according to V. I. Vernadsky, should replace the biosphere, being a natural stage of its development.

In 1992, the World Heritage Agreement, adopted by UNESCO, became the first international legal instrument to regulate the protection of cultural landscapes.

One of the first critics of Sauer’s morphological concept of cultural landscape was the American geographer, founder of behavioral geography, Richard Hartshorn, who completely ruled out the concept of landscape, justifying this by the need to avoid confusion in concepts in science. K. Sauer’s definition of landscape as the sum of natural and cultural components, according to Hartshorn, does not give a holistic view.

As noted by J. Gold, the main drawback of the school of cultural landscape of K. Sauer is the insufficiently complete consideration of the relationship of man to one or another landscape of symbolic meanings that endow the landscape.

Role in popular culture
According to the contemporary Russian geographer V. L. Kagansky, the cultural landscape in Russian mass culture is completely incoherent and fragmented, represented by separate disparate, incoherent places; most of the land surface is literally nothing and culturally semiotic does not exist. He believes that places are given purely externally (for example, as points of discovery of old spinning wheels, the residence of cultural heroes, the place of action of works of art and myths).

The landscape (cultural landscape) in popular culture is a collection of points with small and obscure outlines, moreover, this view is centered on the place of constant or recreational stay.

Kagansky, on the one hand, notes that the idea of a cultural landscape in mass culture is often superficially sacralized, that is, during mass excursions they tend to perceive the environment as something truly “beautiful”. As examples, he cites the sacralization of the “author” landscape, for example, the landscape of Tolstoy, Dostoevsky, Chekhov, Shishkin. On the other hand, according to Kagansky, mass culture ignores such generalized images of the cultural landscape, such as, for example, in “Kotlovan” by A. Platonov or “Stalker” by A. Tarkovsky, although they represent the domestic landscape deeply and adequately.