Environmental Engineering Reference
3. Favoring integration in territorial planning and programming 6 .
4. Involving communities and interested populations in the process of iden-
tifying objectives for quality to be pursued 7 .
The Recommendations of 6 February 2008 by the Committee of Ministers of
the Council of Europe (guidelines for the establishment of the ELC, Art. 1,
item 10) makes way for the opportunity to create landscape observatories ,
either specific, or as part of a wide observation system. A wide range of activ-
ities are assigned to the observatories:
Describing the state of landscapes at a specific time.
Exchanging information on policies and experiences regarding protection,
management, planning, and participation.
Using and processing historical documents regarding the evolution of land-
Fine-tuning quantitative and qualitative indicators to evaluate the effec-
tiveness of landscape policies .
Producing data used to understand tendencies and the development of pre-
visions and future scenarios .
One of the first European experiments, the Landscape Observatory of
Catalonia, and some noninstitutionalized Italian experience in the regions of
Abruzzo, Calabria, and Sardinia, view the “ observatories as places to meet, in
which expert knowledge intersects diffuse and ordinary knowledge, bringing
together scientists, technicians, administrators, and representatives of civil
society ” . It therefore considers not only social processes through which
communities are manifested, but also specific values that the subjects and
interested populations attribute to the landscape. It is evident that this repre-
sents a substantial difference with respect to the deterministic-type approach
regarding the environmental question.
Redefining the Environment and the Landscape
These new methods of landscape evaluation bring up the definition of the idea
of landscape and, with it, the idea of environment. Up to now, the two terms
have encompassed a very wide spectrum of interpretations , rendering them
“right for many uses,” but provoking confusion and difficulty for comparison
and interdisciplinary communication. In some cases, the temptation has been
to refine the many possible interpretations of the environment and landscape :
6 Art. 5 of the ELC: “ ... integrating landscape into their regional, town planning, cultural, envi-
ronmental, agricultural, social, and economic policies”.
7 Art. 6, paragraph C of the ELC “ … to assess the landscapes thus identified, taking into account
the particular values assigned to them by the interested parties and the population concerned ” .