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THE MIXED FATE OF THE ELC IN A DECENTRALIZED

NATION (SPAIN); PROPOSALS FOR REAL ADVANCES
Pascual RIESCO-CHUECA
Centre for Landscape and Territory. University of
Seville (Spain)
IN VARIETATE CONCORDIA (EUROPEAN UNION MOTTO)

• A PLURALISTIC EUROPE / COMPLEXITIES OF SCALE AND POLITICAL
LEVELS.
• SUBSIDIARITY (“A MATTER OUGHT TO BE HANDLED BY THE SMALLEST, LOWEST,
OR LEAST CENTRALISED AUTHORITY CAPABLE OF ADDRESSING THAT MATTER
EFFECTIVELY”): ALLOWING LARGE DEGREES OF SOCIETAL
SPONTANEITY.
• THE ELC TRIES TO STIMULATE “SUBTLE BUT PROFOUND” CHANGES
AT ALL LEVELS AND SCALES (PAUL SELMAN)
THE SITUATION:
• SPAIN AND THE ELC.
• DECENTRALIZATION AND A WEAK
CENTRAL ADMINISTRATION.
• KEY LANDSCAPE PROBLEMS IN
SPAIN.
• AN UNSTEADY, IRREGULAR
COMMITMENT TO LANDSCAPE.
• SOME ACHIEVEMENTS AT THE
REGIONAL LEVEL.

PROPOSALS:
• LANDSCAPE AS AN ASSET.
• WHAT SHOULD BE EXPECTED
FROM THE NATIONAL
GOVERNMENT.
• SUGGESTIONS FOR REGIONAL
ADVANCES.
“Vista de Toledo”: El Greco (1604-1614)
A PLURALISTIC EUROPE
PROTECTING AND PROMOTING CULTURAL DIVERSITY: A MEANS OF BUILDING A MORE
HUMANE AND INCLUSIVE EUROPE (COUNCIL OF EUROPE’S ACTION PLAN, 2005)

THE ELC HAS CONCEIVED LANDSCAPE AND CULTURAL DIVERSITY AS AN ASSET.
A BASIC NEED FOR “STRONG FORWARD-LOOKING ACTION TO ENHANCE, RESTORE OR CREATE
LANDSCAPES” (ELC) + A PLURALITY OF ROADS TO ACHIEVE THAT OBJECTIVE.

“THE NEED FOR CREATIVE AND ADAPTIVE APPROACHES TOWARDS LANDSCAPE AS A
DYNAMIC SYSTEM ARE ESSENTIAL YET THERE IS LITTLE IN LEGISLATION OR POLICY GUIDANCE
TO HELP OR GUIDE US ABOUT OPTIONS FOR CHANGE” (PAUL SELMAN)

THE ELC PROVIDES SUCH GUIDANCE, WHILE ALLOWING CREATIVE AND DIVERSE APPROACHES
ACCORDING WITH EACH NATIONAL / REGIONAL / SECTORAL TRADITION
SPAIN AND THE ELC

• SIGNED THE ELC: 20th OCTOBER 2000, THE SAME YEAR IT WAS
ADOPTED.
• RATIFIED IT: 26th NOVEMBER 2007 (A SEVEN-YEARS DELAY).

THE SPANISH CONSTITUTION (1978) CONTAINS NO REFERENCE TO
LANDSCAPE (AND ONLY VAGUE, NON-COMMITING REFERENCES
TO ENVIRONMENT AND CULTURAL HERITAGE).

THE 17 AUTONOMOUS COMMUNITIES HAVE FULL POWERS IN THE
SPHERES OF LAND PLANNING, THE ENVIRONMENT, AND
CULTURAL HERITAGE. SUCH ISSUES DID NOT SEEM A PRIORITY AT
THE TIME THE CONSTITUTION WAS APPROVED (1978)
THE 17 REGIONS
(AUTONOMOUS
COMMUNITIES):

ADMINISTRATIVE
UNITS RESPONSIBLE
FOR MOST OF THE
ELC
IMPLEMENTATION
WITHIN THEIR
TERRITORY.
STRUCTURAL SPAIN: THREE DEEP ONGOING TRANSFORMATIONS (1975-TODAY):
DECENTRALIZATION, DEMOCRATIZATION, EUROPEAN INTEGRATION
THE SPANISH MINISTRY OF ENVIRONMENT

RESPONSIBLE FOR THE FOLLOW-UP OF INTERNATIONAL INITIATIVES CONCERNING
TERRITORY AND LANDSCAPE;
RELEVANT AUTHORITY IN ENVIRONMENTAL POLICY ISSUES (WATER, COASTS AND
BIODIVERSITY) HAVING SUBSTANTIAL TERRITORIAL INFLUENCE ON THE WHOLE
OF THE STATE.

THE ELC AND SPAIN. THE GENERAL DIRECTORATE FOR SUSTAINABLE
DEVELOPMENT OF THE RURAL WORLD (DGDSMR) IS NOW RESPONSIBLE FOR
• INTERNATIONAL MONITORING OF THE ELC (FORMERLY THE DIRECTORATE FOR
BIODIVERSITY),
• INFORMATION DUTIES ON THE STATUS OF THE SPANISH LANDSCAPE,
• DISSEMINATION OF THE CONVENTION’S PRINCIPLES AND GOALS,
• COOPERATION WITH THE REGIONS.
THE MINISTRY SHOULD BE HARMONIZING ITS OWN STATE POLICIES TO THE
PRINCIPLES OF THE CONVENTION, AND REINFORCING THE LANDSCAPE
DIMENSION OF ITS PROGRAMMES.
Atlas de los Paisajes de España (Ministerio de Medio Ambiente, 2003)
AN IMPORTANT ACHIEVEMENT AT THE NATIONAL LEVEL:
A GLOBAL LANDSCAPE CARTOGRAPHY
LEADING LANDSCAPE PROBLEMS IN SPAIN

• UNSUSTAINABLE TOURISTIC AND RESIDENTIAL DEVELOPMENT
• SCATTERED HOUSING (AROUND RURAL TOWNS) AND SPRAWL (AROUND
CITIES).
• AGGRESIVE ENERGY INDUSTRY.
• UNCONTROLLED GROWTH OF THE TRANSPORTATION NETWORK.
[AS A RESULT, ARTIFICIAL SURFACE GREW BY 29.5% IN THE PERIOD 1987-
2000]
• INTENSIVE AGRICULTURE: PLASTIC AND HEAVY EQUIPMENT, CLUTTERING.
SHARP RISE OF AREAS UNDER PERMANENT IRRIGATION.
• ENCLOSURES (BARBED WIRE) AND PEDESTRIAN EXCLUSION IN FOREST
LANDSCAPES.
• BANALIZATION IN SMALL TOWNS AND RURAL AREAS:
– POOR ARCHITECTURAL QUALITY OF PRIVATE HOUSING
– LOSS OF CULTURAL HERITAGE AND IDENTITY (CLICHÉ LANDSCAPES)
UNSUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT OF THE COASTLINE
FENCES + AGGRESIVE PRIVATISATION
AGRICULTURE + ENERGY: TECHNOLOGICAL TAKEOVER
PLASTIC AGRICULTURE, ALMERÍA (Photo: Ángela Iglesias)
LANDSCAPE EVOLUTION AS REVEALED BY
OLD PICTURES: A TREND TOWARD
BANALIZATION?
GERENA, SEVILLA
Linares, 2007, Pedro Poza
BAD LANDSCAPE QUALITY OF RESIDENTIAL DEVELOPMENT
A GROWING BUT UNSTEADY, INTERMITENT INTEREST FOR LANDSCAPE

• THE DECENTRALIZATION ERA (1978-TODAY) HAS BEEN LONG ENOUGH FOR THE
REGIONS TO DEVELOP THEIR OWN TRADITIONS AND INERTIAS CONCERNING
TERRITORIAL POLICY (ECOLOGIC / CULTURAL / LAND PLANNING FOCUS)

• LANDSCAPE AT THE REGIONAL / LOCAL SCALE HAS BEEN SHOWN AS A FIT ARENA
FOR ENHANCING IDENTITY AND [POTENTIALLY] MITIGATING INTRA-REGIONAL
TERRITORIAL CONFLICTS [within the region].

• DECENTRALIZATION BRINGS TO THE FORE A PLURALITY OF ACTORS: LANDSCAPE
MAY PROVIDE A MEETING POINT TO LAUNCH OTHER PROJECTS AND POLICIES.
• LANDSCAPE IS LOCATED AT THE CORE OF CITIZEN CONCERNS: QUALITY OF LIFE, LIFE
STYLE, COMMUNITY CREATION.
• A GOOD LANDSCAPE IS AN ATTRACTOR FOR TOURISTS AND INVESTMENT.

• RICH AVAILABLE EXPERIENCE ACROSS EUROPE: LEARNING FROM THE ERRORS AND
INSIGHTS OF OUR NEIGHBOURS.
A DIVERSITY OF LEGISLATIVE TRAJECTORIES AMONG THE
REGIONS: COMPARATIVE TABLE

COMMUNITY LANDSCAPE ACT OTHER
ANDALUSIA LAND PLANNING SCHEME (POTA, 2006)
LANDSCAPE STRATEGY (2012) +
CATALOGUES.
CATALONIA ACT 8/2005 LANDSCAPE
PROTECTION, MANAGEMENT
AND PLANNING
DECREEES, GENERAL LAND SCHEME (1995).
LANDSCAPE OBSERVATORY.
LANDSCAPE CATALOGUES.
VALENCIA ACT 4/2004 LAND PLANNING +
LANDSC. PROTECTION
DECREES.
BASQUE
COUNTRY
ACT 3/1998 GENERAL
PROTECTION ENVIRONMENT
REGIONAL PLANNING GUIDELINES (1997)
GALICIA ACT 7/2008 LANDSC.
PROTECTION
GUIDELINES LAND MANAGEMENT. LANDSC.
CATALOGUES / AGREEMENTS
LANDSC. STRATEGY (2011)
CANARY
ISLANDS
CONSOLIDATED DECREE 1/2000
LAND MANAGEMENT AND
NATURAL SPACES
GUIDELINES ON PLANNING AND TOURISM.
SUB-REGIONAL SPACE PLANS
Adapted from Elorrieta, Berezi & Sánchez-Aguilera, Dolores (2011) Landscape regulation in regional territorial planning: A
view from Spain. The European Landscape Convention: Challenges of participation. M. Jones & M. Stenseke (eds.).
Springer Science.
AN INTENSE (ALTHOUGH UNEVEN, INTERMITENT AND
UNCOORDINATED) ACTIVITY TRIGGERED BY THE ELC AT THE
REGIONAL LEVEL

IDENTIFICATION, CHARACTERIZATION + QUALIFICATION OF REGIONAL
LANDSCAPES
CATALOGUES, CARTOGRAPHY, MONOGRAPHIES, THEMATIC STUDIES

ENHANCED AWARENESS AND PARTICIPATION
WORKSHOPS, LEAFLETS, EXHIBITS

SOME INSTANCES OF THE “PROTECTION, MANAGEMENT AND
PLANNING” APPROACH IN SELECTED AREAS

INTEGRATION OF LANDSCAPE IN LAND PLANNING
STEP-BY-STEP ADAPTATION OF LAND POLICY.
• LANDSCAPE CATALOGUES, BASQUE COUNTRY (2011-)
• PARTICIPATION ACTIVITIES, ALT PIRINEU I ARAN
CATALOGUE, CATALONIA (APPROVED 2013)
• PARTICIPATION ACTIVITIES,
CATALOGUE, SEVILLE (ANDALUSIA),
2013
• GUIDELINES FOR THE ELC
IMPLEMENTATION, MALLORCA, 2009
SOCIAL
NETWORKING:
A MEANS TO
DISSEMINATE
LANDSCAPE
ACTIVITIES

[CAPA = LANDSCAPE
CATALOGUE, SEVILLE:
A WEBSITE IN
FACEBOOK]
• LANDSCAPE ATLAS, MURCIA (2009)
• UNIVERSITY MASTER: LANDSCAPE
PROTECTION, MANAGEMENT AND
PLANNING, SEVILLE (2007-2009)
2011: Meetings and discussion on fluvial and forest landscapes. Baixo Miño, Galicia.
Sponsored by the Environment Ministry.
• LANDSCAPE UNITS, LA RIOJA (2003-2005)
• LANDSCAPE UNITS, NAVARRA (2010)
• ACT 7/2008 LANDSCAPE PROTECTION, GALICIA
SHORTCOMINGS IN THE REGIONAL EXPERIENCE (A GLOBAL VIEW)

• TIME LOST BECAUSE OF THE DELAYED ACKNOWLEDGMENT OF
THE ELC (RATIFICATION 2007); THE INERTIAS OF EACH REGION’S
LEGISLATIVE TRADITION HAVE SLOWED DOWN THE ELC
IMPLEMENTATION.
• INSUFFICIENT COMMUNICATION AND COORDINATION.
TERMINOLOGY PROBLEMS.
• BIAS TOWARDS LANDSCAPE PROTECTION AND
RURAL/ECOLOGICAL/HERITAGE EXPRESSIONS OF LANDSCAPE.
• WEAK INTEGRATION OF LANDSCAPE POLITICS, SPECIALLY
CONCERNING MANAGEMENT AND PLANNING PROVISIONS.
• SCARCE DEVELOPMENT OF PARTICIPATORY MEASURES AND
LANDSCAPE QUALITY OBJECTIVES.



IN PRACTICAL TERMS, WHAT DOES LANDSCAPE PROVIDE?

• A SHARED HERITAGE, AND A KEY CONTRIBUTOR TO QUALITY OF LIFE
(WELLBEING, MENTAL AND PHYSICAL HEALTH).
• A GOOD ARENA FOR SETTLING TERRITORIAL CONTROVERSY.
• AN ELEMENT INCREASING SOCIAL COHESION AND CROSS-SECTORAL POLICY
APPROACHES.
• AN ATTRACTOR FOR TOURISTS AND CULTURAL LIFE.
• HIGHER LAND VALUE AND PROPERTY PRICES.
• AN APPEALING FACTOR FOR HIGH-PROFILE INDUSTRY AND FIRMS.
• A BACKGROUND FOR LOCAL PRODUCTION, THE BASIS FOR BRANDING
STRATEGIES (PROTECTED DESIGNATION OF ORIGIN (PDO); PROTECTED
GEOGRAPHICAL INDICATION (PGI); TRADITIONAL SPECIALITY GUARANTEED
(TSG) ). BY ASSOCIATION, INCREASED SALES.

• THEREFORE, A KEY SOCIAL CAPITAL
LANDSCAPE IS “A KEY ELEMENT OF INDIVIDUAL AND SOCIAL WELL-BEING”, “AN
IMPORTANT PART OF THE QUALITY OF LIFE FOR PEOPLE EVERYWHERE: IN URBAN
AREAS AND IN THE COUNTRYSIDE, IN DEGRADED AREAS AS WELL AS IN AREAS OF
HIGH QUALITY” (ELC, PREAMBLE).
“CULTURAL LANDSCAPES CONTRIBUTE THROUGH THEIR ORIGINALITY TO LOCAL
AND REGIONAL IDENTITY” (ESDP, § 151).
NATURAL AND CULTURAL HERITAGE PROVIDE “ECONOMIC FACTORS WHICH ARE
BECOMING INCREASINGLY IMPORTANT FOR REGIONAL DEVELOPMENT” (ESDP, §
134).
QUALITY OF LIFE, INHERENT TO A GOOD LANDSCAPE, “PLAYS AN INCREASINGLY
IMPORTANT ROLE IN THE LOCATION DECISIONS OF NEW COMPANIES” (ESDP, §
134).
THE IMAGE OF “A DISTINCTIVE LANDSCAPE CAN BE USED TO PROMOTE THE
QUALITIES OF AN AREA FOR ATTRACTING NEW INDUSTRY, FOR TOURISM AND
FOR OTHER TYPES OF ECONOMIC INVESTMENT” (ESDP, § 323).
[ESDP = EUROPEAN SPATIAL DEVELOPMENT PERSPECTIVE, EC 1999]
In Gailing, Ludger & Kilper, Heiderose (2009) “Shaping cultural landscapes through regional governance”, Guiding
principles for spatial development in Germany, ed. Wendelin Strubelt, p. 114.
WHAT SHOULD BE EXPECTED FROM THE NATIONAL GOVERNMENT
• THE DEVELOPMENT OF PRINCIPLES AND GOALS ALREADY INCLUDED (IF ONLY
PARTIALLY) IN CURRENT BASIC LEGISLATION (PERTAINING TO THE ENVIRONMENT,
HERITAGE, LAND-USE, RIVERS, LAKES AND DAMS, COASTAL AREAS...).
• INSPIRATION AND IMPETUS FOR FINDING NEW NECESSARY SOLUTIONS AND
MEETING THE REQUIREMENTS IMPLIED BY THE COMMITMENT.
• STIMULUS AND COORDINATION FROM THE NATIONAL GOVERNMENT. DIRECT
FUNDING OF SOCIETAL NETWORKS SUCH AS RECEP/ENELC, CIVILSCAPE,
UNISCAPE.
• COORDINATION AND GUIDANCE FOR REGIONS, SPECIALLY IN CASES WHERE
WEAK LANDSCAPE COMMITMENT, OR A LACK OF EXPERTISE IS FELT.
• PROMOTING LANDSCAPE COOPERATION BETWEEN NEIGHBOURING REGIONS
(FRONTIER AREAS).
• CREATING A NATIONAL FRAME FOR GREEN INFRASTRUCTURE AND LANDSCAPE
TO PROMOTE REGIONAL COOPERATION.
• PAYING ATTENTION TO SPECIFICALLY SPANISH LANDSCAPE TYPES (DEHESA,
HUERTA: DOBRIS ASSESSMENT (1995)
IN VARIETATE CONCORDIA: PROPOSED INITIATIVES AT THE REGIONAL
LEVEL
• CROSS-LEARNING AND EMULATION AMONG REGIONS, IN THE LINE OF THE
“CREATIVE MANAGEMENT OF LANDSCAPE” (European Spatial Development
Perspective, 1999) [AN ANALOGY WITH SCANDINAVIAN ECONOMIC PLURALISM]
• UNIFY LANDSCAPE-POLICY LANGUAGE, TO ALLOW CROSS-LEARNING AND
BENCHMARKING.
• AVOIDANCE OF MISTAKES, BY LOOKING AT THE EXPERIENCE OF THE MOST
ADVANCED COMMUNITIES.
• ENSURING BETTER PUBLICITY OF SUCCESSFUL LANDSCAPE POLICIES AND GOOD
PRACTICE.
• PROFITING FROM SOME POTENTIAL LANDSCAPE-AWARENESS DRIVERS:
– TOURISM AND REAL-STATE MARKET.
– REINFORCED LINK WITH CULTURAL ACTIVITIES;
– REGIONAL IDENTITY (LANDSCAPE-AWARENESS SAFEGUARDS KNOWLEDGE)
– THE ECONOMICS OF GEOGRAPHICAL INDICATIONS;
– SOCIAL NETWORKING TECHNOLOGIES.
THANK YOU