Revisiting futures: time and culture in landscape studies

Authors and Affiliations: 

Hannes Palang et al
Tallinn University

Corresponding author: 
Hannes Palang

As defined by the European Landscape Convention, landscape is an area as perceived by people, whose character is shaped by both natural and anthropogenic processes. The presentation will take two issues out of this definition, one being time an temporal development, the other being people and their perception of the landscape.
While most of landscape studies are done by outsiders (Cresswell (2004) even argued that landscapes are for looking at, not living in) it’s insiders and their understandings of the landscape that define the development paths. Ecosystem services framework, especially the cultural services part (spiritual values, identity etc), so far seems to be difficult to operationalise, and here better understanding of how local landscape works is essential.
We will base the empirical part on revisiting a scenario study done in 1998 (Palang et al 2000) to analyse how much such a study can in fact help in understanding landscape change. We will then analyse the developments from the point of view of cultural sustainability (Birkeland, Soini, 2014, Pavlis, Terkenli 2017), path dependency theory (Zarina 2013), and landscape semiotics (Lindström et al 2014).
The results point towards some well-known problems. First, for local people gradual changes are important and preferred. Stewardship of landscape is stressed in many papers; stewardship can emerge if there is a link with the land, that it turn is generated over time. Time-deep landscapes are able to better contribute to cultural ecosystem services. Finally, landscape studies have the theoretical tools that could help furthering this understanding.


Cresswell 2004,
Palang et al 2000
Birkeland, Soini, 2014
Pavlis, Terkenli 2017
Zarina 2013
Lindström et al 2014

Oral or poster: 
Oral presentation
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