Environmental Engineering Reference
In the first case, with regard to the environmental question, two rather
noted procedures come up: the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) 1 ,
and the Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) 2 . The EIA arises from
a 1976 French law “ loi relative à la protection de la nature ” (translation: law
for the protection of nature), in which three different levels of evaluation
were introduced: “ études d'environment , notices d'impact et études d'im-
pact” (translation: environmental studies, impact assessment, and impact
studies)”. In Europe, it would become a supporting administrative procedure
for decision-making authorities, aimed at identifying, describing, and evalu-
ating environmental impacts produced by activating a specific project. The
SEA, instead, is a process aimed at integrating considerations of environmen-
tal nature into plans and programs, to improve the overall quality of decision-
making. The progenitor of the strategic evaluation method was the US
Department of Housing and Urban Development, which published the Area-
Wide Impact Assessment Guidebook in 1981. The Netherlands were the first
to ratify the directives, followed by Denmark, Finland, Sweden, and then the
other European states.
One has a partial and limited view of the landscape within consolidated
evaluation systems in the EU. It is evident that it can seem relatively difficult
to give a quantitative value to the landscape in all its complexity, while it is
possible to identify and measure one of its many aspects (perceptive, ecologi-
cal, historical/cultural, and so on). Because of this, in the experiences exam-
ined 3 , one sees interpretations directed at reducing the complexity of a single
aspect, or holistic visions entrusted with an overall judgment on behalf of
experts that comply, however, with completely subjective evaluation methods.
Through the ELC, a new political project for the landscape has begun, which
is aimed at:
Recognizing the landscape's complex meaning 4 .
Understanding its importance to the entire territory 5 .
1 In 1985, the European Commission issued Directive 337/85/CEE “ on the assessment of the
effects of certain public and private projects on the environment ”.
2 The European Directive on the SEA (2001/42/CE) required all member states in the European
Union to ratify the directive in national regulations before 21 July 2004. Many member states
began to implement the directive starting from the narrowest terms connected to territorial plan-
ning, to later extend the approach to all policies bearing on the environment. The SEA Directive
is directly linked to the EIA and Habitat Directives, in addition to other directives (water, nitrates,
waste, noise, air quality) that fix requirements for the implementation and assessment of
3 Research to identify indicators for landscape evaluation (to be applied in the SEA) was under-
taken by the Umbrian Observatory for biodiversity, rural landscape, and sustainable planning.
4 Art.1 of the ELC provides a definition of landscape: “… it is an area whose character is the
result of the action and interaction of natural and/or human factors ” .
5 Art. 3 of the ELC: “ ... this Convention applies to the entire territory of the Parties and covers nat-
ural, rural, urban, and peri-urban areas. It includes land, inland water, and marine areas. It con-
cerns landscapes that might be considered outstanding as well as everyday or degraded landscapes ”.