Environmental Engineering Reference
The territory, of which the city is a part, expresses complexity because it man-
ifests a “ relationship with an active system ” : human communities estab-
lishing their own relationships with the Earth and, moreover, determining
landscapes. If we want to give life to quality landscapes, we should imagine
intelligent territories, but since territories represent the space where communi-
ty expectations are found, we should care for the reference communities in
Although the author does not intend to venture into the identification of
reference communities, mention of the celebrated Social Formation and
Symbolic Landscape by Denis Cosgrove (1984) is warranted for closer inspec-
tion by the reader. In Cosgrove's text, two ideal figures—the insider and the
outsider—which, naturally, approach the territory with different value scales 9 ,
are identified. However, the concept of community is closely linked to that of
territory and therefore the attention that we direct to the territory corresponds
to the well-being and quality of life of the settled community.
The desire to start from the community was expressed very clearly at the
most recent World Conservation Congress of the International Union for
Conservation of Nature (IUCN), which took place in Jeju Island , Republic
of Korea, on 15 September 2012. Among the 19 confirmed principles of the
treaty, all oriented toward a new era of safeguarding, sustainability, and solu-
tions based on nature, there was special interest in community involvement.
Some parts of the treaty are expressly directed at protecting the rights of
socially vulnerable stakeholders, in particular local communities and native
peoples , to encourage the just and fair sharing of advantages arising from the
ecological functions of biological diversity; to support consciousness aware-
ness, knowledge, good governance, and sustainable investments, to demon-
strate that environmental protection is everyone's affair and that humanity is
fundamentally dependent on nature; to convince everyone that the improve-
ment of nature and ecosystems is a crucial first step in offering advantages,
compensation, and recognition to nature's guardians. The IUCN will guide a
conservation movement that approaches the community, civil society , govern-
ments , and investments with the goal of negotiating and implementing the
practical solutions that nature offers us to face the multiple challenges of
development, thus demonstrating their profitability and measuring and verify-
ing their effects. Solutions founded on nature are based on the role of ecosys-
tems that, if well managed, can contribute to increasing the resilience of
humans and offer supplementary opportunities to all communities. This initia-
9 For further information, we recommend: Salsa A (2009) Il tramonto delle identità tradizionali.
Priuli e Verlucca, Turin; Wolf ER (1972) L'Europa e i popoli senza storia. Il Mulino, Bologna;
Turner V (1976) La foresta dei simboli. Morcelliana, Brescia; Trigilia C (2005) Sviluppo locale.
Un progetto per l'Italia. Laterza, Rome-Bari.