Landscape as a Driver for Well-being: The ELC in the Globalist Arena
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Landscape as a Driver for Well-being:The ELC in the Globalist ArenaShelley Egoz aa School of Landscape Architecture , Lincoln University , NewZealandPublished online: 18 Jul 2011.
To cite this article: Shelley Egoz (2011) Landscape as a Driver for Well-being: The ELC in theGlobalist Arena, Landscape Research, 36:4, 509-534, DOI: 10.1080/01426397.2011.582939
To link to this article: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/01426397.2011.582939
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Landscape as a Driver for Well-being:The ELC in the Globalist Arena
SHELLEY EGOZSchool of Landscape Architecture, Lincoln University, New Zealand
ABSTRACT The European Landscape Convention (ELC) recognizes that landscapes aredynamic entities that change over time and advocates appropriate management strategies thatwill protect landscape values and the well-being of communities and individuals affected bychange. Global drivers are however often powerful forces to which the inhabitants of landscapedont have means to resist. Two cases of dramatic landscape change, in the contrastinggeographies and political contexts of New Zealand and Palestine, are presented. The firstexample is located within a benign context and the other in an area of extreme conflict.Nonetheless in both cases the changes described have striking visible impact on the landscape andsignificant flow-on effects, some of them intangible and unquantifiable, on the well-being of thepeople who inhabit these landscapes. These cases present the two ends of a spectrum in which thehypothesis of a world landscape convention inspired by the ELC is relevant. The argument is thatthe moral imperative of a landscape convention in the spirit of the ELC holds the potential tobecome the mechanism to mitigate such ill effects of landscape change at a breadth of situationsfrom the everyday ordinary landscape to military conflict zones.
KEY WORDS: European Landscape Convention, landscape change, community well-being,New Zealand, Palestine
The European Landscape Convention (ELC) recognizes that landscapes are dynamicentities that change over time and advocates appropriate management strategies thatwill protect landscape values and the well-being of communities and individualsaffected by change. Global drivers are however often powerful forces. The ELC as itis articulated today may not be addressing global economic drivers of landscapechange (Primdahl, 2007) to which local communities have little means of resistance.
One of the ELCs important contributions, I argue nevertheless, is that itintroduces a moral dimension to the landscape discourse. The ELCs statementabout landscape being: a key element of individual and social well-being and thatits protection, management and planning entail rights and responsibilities foreveryone (Preamble to the European Landscape Convention, 2000), stresses socialequity as the underlying premise. The Council of Europe convention represents the
Correspondence Address: Shelley Egoz, School of Landscape Architecture, Faculty of Environment,
Society and Design, Lincoln University, PO Box 84, Lincoln 7647, Christchurch, New Zealand. Email:
Landscape Research,Vol. 36, No. 4, 509534, August 2011
ISSN 0142-6397 Print/1469-9710 Online/11/040509-26 2011 Landscape Research Group LtdDOI: 10.1080/01426397.2011.582939
moral authority of Europe rather than State power (Olwig, 2007). The ELC istherefore underpinned by the spirit of common good and social justice. As suchit holds the potential to influence a world convention. Similar to the UniversalDeclaration of Human Rights, a Universal Landscape Convention could become amoderating mechanism that addresses landscape abuse. Conceptually and philoso-phically related to human rights, a right to landscape is implicit in the essence of theideas captured in the ELC. Presidents Roosevelts 1940s vision for a need to definehuman rights emerged in the context of threats to freedom (Hayden, 2001). Today,climate change poses another acute threat; it is apt therefore that landscape, in itsholistic meaning as defined in the ELC becomes the driver to address such threats.
To illustrate the importance of the moral imperative embedded in the ELC I focuson two examples of visible impact on the physical landscape. Both have significantflow-on effects, some of them intangible and unquantifiable, on the well-being of thepeople who inhabit these landscapes. I examine these cases against the hypothesis ofan international landscape convention inspired by the ELC.
The case studies I present are from two geographically diverse locations, verydifferent in their political and cultural context. By unpacking these cases here Iillustrate the universal essence of landscape and that, as implied in the ELC, everylandscape affects well-being and could benefit from such a convention. The firstexample is from New Zealand, portraying dramatic landscape change in the peri-urban landscape. Urbanization is a worldwide common phenomenon and the way itdrives change of a landscapes rural character is not restricted to the New Zealandcontext. The New Zealand example, nonetheless, illustrates some of the short-comings of New Zealand domestic planning legislation and how it falls short inensuring the power balance between investors economic interests and residents iskept equal. The main lesson is that the effects based planning legislation in NewZealand which does not address cumulative consequences overlooks the holisticnature of landscape one of the principles that is at the core of the ELC. This iswhere a global landscape convention that endorses the values of the ELC couldcontribute to instilling the imperatives of rights of communities to claim a landscape.
The second is the striking landscape transformation of the West Bank Palestinianterritory under Israeli occupation. An analysis of spatial elements that constitutethis landscape, correlated with the intangible humanitarian toll on the civilianpopulation, exposes the correspondence between landscape and well-being.I illustrate how the landscape has been fragmented through a spatial typology ofplanes, lines and point elements in the landscape. I make the point that thecumulative impact of landscape fragmentation on well-being is more than the sum ofits parts.1
The drivers and resulting landscape of both cases are very different in politicalcontext, scale and severity of impacts on human beings. Nonetheless in both casesthe impact is a result of cumulative effects and the visible landscape expression ofglobal drivers has non-physical flow-on effects on peoples well-being. I thus chose topresent these two cases as indicators. The disparate case studies illustrate the twoends of the wide spectrum of situations where landscape and well-being are lacedtogether. Endorsement of a convention that adopts the approach that landscape is awhole and embeds a moral obligation for social justice can become the framework toaddress such effects.
510 S. Egoz
Case 1: New Zealand
New Zealand (NZ) is a relatively small nation (4.4 million inhabitants) in the SouthPacific. In the past two and a half decades, neoliberalism, free market ideology andderegulation have been politically prominent in NZ, with significant impacts on theplanned landscape.
The first example is a case study of dramatic landscape change that had occurredin a small NZ settlement. Between 2000 and 2003 the residential area of Prebbleton,a small rural village in the region of Canterbury on the outs