Landscape, migration and integration

Bas Pedroli, Wageningen University & Research / UNISCAPE,

Shelley Egoz, NMBU Centre for Landscape Democracy,


Landscape forms the living space for people, whether sedentary, nomadic or migrant. They all have a right to landscape. This inevitably leads to conflicting expectations and interests. Global change, land degradation, social unrest and warfare further aggravate these potential conflicts. It is the challenge of place making to find sound solutions for the aspirations of different groups of people and provide options for all to develop and cherish a sense of belonging. Focus is on a debate about the landscape ecological boundary conditions in a broad transdisciplinary sense for such place making.


Today, Europe is facing complex problems and opportunities related to the social integration of refugees. Migration is closely associated with terms such as displacement and relocation suggesting that notions of place/landscape both as material and as intangible entities play a major role in the experience of social integration. The European Landscape Convention confirms this aspiration for social justice and the imperative that all people have a right to landscape.  In this context, there is a clear need for an integrative ecological approach to landscape as a multifunctional systemic organism and infrastructure for well-being, which holds opportunities to mitigate adverse effects on landscape and people.

The understanding of landscape as both the physical and psychological infrastructure for wellbeing (Egoz et al. 2011) offers an active framework to address environmental and ecological degradation and their adverse effects on people (Pedroli et al. 2016), as well as the framework for supporting social and emotional needs.

In addition, a growing scholarly interest in the ethical dimensions and moral responsibilities is ongoing, following the introduction of several discourses on landscape justice (Olwig & Mitchell, 2009; Basta & Moroni 2013) and the right to landscape (Egoz et al. 2011) as well as landscape democracy (Egoz 2015). Migrants and nomads have historically been and still are one of the most vulnerable groups in society (Egoz 2013). It is in this context that landscape justice and migration is to be addressed in the proposed symposium.

Migration has always been part of the human experience. Yet, in the 21st millennia’s “liquid times” (Bauman 2007) we are encountering complex challenges related to the ongoing increasing spatial mobility of people. Economic “globalisation”, recent violent events in Africa and the Middle East in particular as well as climate change propelled disasters are driving what is termed forced migrations. An influx of economic migrants, refugees and asylum seekers is changing both demographic patterns and physical landscapes. The theme is about migrants and landscape, and calls for papers which particularly focus on ways in which landscape practices may offer innovative ways to integrate migrants and facilitate their inclusion into their new home societies.

What can participants expect to learn?


  • To achieve an interactive debate about the landscape ecological boundary conditions in a broad transdisciplinary sense for place making in a society facing challenges of displacement and relocation.
  • To foster a developing network of scholars committed to this topic;
  • To discuss new avenues for research and landscape planning that will facilitate improved life conditions and quality of life for immigrants as well as their host societies.


  • Special Issue of peer-reviewed scientific journal
  • Extension of the existing community of practice around landscape and justice
  • Overview of ideas for joint research proposals