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Landscape quality objectives and landscape directives

Joan Ganyet
Director General of Architecture and Landscape Ministry of Town and Country Planning and Public Works Government of Catalonia

In June 2005 the Catalan Parliament passed the Act for protection, planning and management of the landscape and in September 2006 its implementing regulation. Since then decisive steps have been taken in the implementation of landscape policies in our country and the regulating instruments envisaged in the Act have begun to be applied. Among the more outstanding initiatives are: the preparation of landscape catalogues (one for each of the seven territorial districts), support for the signature of landscape maps, information on studies of the landscape impact and integration of actions on non-buildable land in all the cases envisaged in the regulation, the preparation of resources for management (among which are noted the practical landscape guides) and actions for social sensitisation, such as the organisation of the travelling exhibition "Country of landscapes" and an ambitious educational project for schoolchildren in ESO - Compulsory Secondary Education (City, territory and landscape) in collaboration with the Ministry of Education and the Landscape Observatory. Also - through the Fund for the protection, planning and management of landscape - annual public competition invitations have been issued for landscape improvement projects (bypass roads, wooded avenues, industrial colonies) and support has been given to actions by public and private bodies in accordance with the objectives of the Landscape Act. Undoubtedly, we have come a long way in a very short time and this has placed our country among those leading the development of the European Landscape Convention. However, there is still a great deal to be done on a theme, such as landscape, which needs to be the subject of transverse treatment and which has an undeniable social dimension. In this sense, the landscape quality objectives formulated by the landscape catalogues of Catalonia become key factors, as was made clear at the 5th Meeting of Workshops for Implementation of the European Landscape Convention, organised in Girona in September 2006 by the Council of Europe, under the title "Landscape quality objectives: from theory to practice". The European Landscape Convention defines the landscape quality objectives as "the formulation by the competent authorities of the aspirations of the public with regard to the landscape features of their surroundings" and it is for this reason that they have to be formulated, in the process of preparing the landscape catalogues, for each of the landscape units identified in the whole of the territorial ambit of the catalogue. These quality objectives are the starting point for the preparation, by the Ministry of Town and Country Planning and Public Works, of landscape directives, that is, the determinations which define and incorporate by regulation the proposals of landscape quality objectives into the zoning plans or the directing town planning rules. The landscape quality objectives defined in this way -and the directives derived from them- have become the line to follow, in coming years, which must guide public and private actions to achieve a quality landscapes in our country. Joan Ganyet Director General of Architecture and Landscape Ministry of Town and Country Planning and Public Works Government of Catalonia

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