Where do most people live? In general, they do not live in those landscapes that appear on lists of the most beautiful places in the world, as in the case of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Most people live in landscapes that have been transformed by social activities, industry, housing, services and modern, intensive farming. Though some measures have been taken to preserve the places that are considered of greatest interest, not much has been done for these peri-urban landscape of everyday life, where industrial buildings, suburban structures and social housing units tend to be surrounded by different kinds of infrastructure. Nor has anything been done about landscapes where farming has been replaced with tourism facilities that have transformed the seaside and mountain slopes.
The conference is organized by the French Ministry of Ecology, Sustainable Development, Transport and Housing and the French Institute of Research on Environmental Sciences and Technologies (CEMAGREF) with the collaboration of the Landscape Observatory of Catalonia. It will be held in Perpignan and Girona on 16 to 18 March 2011 with the aim of examining what are considered landscape of everyday life by millions of people from the perspective of the improvement projects implemented there, bearing in mind the values attributed to these places by stakeholders and the people who live there and the efforts made to revitalize them.
More than 100 speakers from all over the world (from Argentina to China, including nearly all the countries of Europe) will read papers at the conference, the aim of which is to contribute new knowledge on landscape development projects and the role of stakeholders, the people who live in these locations and experts on these projects. Other aims include providing new information on the participation of people in the process of political decision making; offering data on the environmental factors in these development projects; discussing new methods of assessing the implementation of these policies; and providing new data on the relationship between landscape and sustainable development.
The papers were selected by an international scientific committee and all focus on specific landscape development projects and theoretical reflections on the contribution made by landscape to sustainable development. Some of the topics to be discussed will be the process of installing windmills in different locations in Europe and North America, and urban and peri-urban landscape projects in which the people who live there have been able to participate. The conference will be organized in thematic workshops and sessions with group discussions to exchange current ideas on landscape development.
Agronomist and geographer, research director emeritus of the French National Centre for Scientific Research