Skip main navigation

New offer! Get 30% off one whole year of Unlimited learning. Subscribe for just £249.99 £174.99. New subscribers only T&Cs apply

Find out more

The conceptual framework of cultural landscape

The conceptual framework of cultural landscape
The next section, section two, which is the conceptual framework of what I’m talking about the academic background, and it’s got a number of sub sections in it. So let’s start off with the question, what is cultural landscape? Fundamental to examination of values, meanings and cultural heritage processes is the word landscape itself. And then it’s conjunction. It’s joining with the word cultural to give us cultural landscape. Now why is this? In my view, and I’m reading from something I wrote three years ago, linked to a cultural concept of landscape is the understanding that one of our deepest needs is for a sense of identity and belonging.
And that a common denominator in this is human attachment to landscape, and how we find identity in landscape and place.
Cultural landscape study has been coincidental with a widening interest in the public history moves and everyday landscapes. The understanding of the notion that landscapes reflecting everyday ways of life, in ordinary, the ideologies that compel people to create places, and the sequence or rhythm of life over time, tell the story of people, events, and place through time. They offer a sense of continuity, a sense of what one author some years ago referred to as a sense of the stream of time. They also offer the context of broader concepts and understanding of cultural heritage, the monuments and sites.
A cultural landscape concept is therefore intended to increase awareness that heritage places are not isolated islands, or what we call dots on a map. There is interdependence between people, their social structures and ecosystems and in landscape conservation. As this quote that I’ve just given you, suggests there is a link between cultural landscapes and modern thinking on cultural heritage. I think it’s useful to look at the definition of cultural landscape. And there are many, but this one I’m going to refer to this one by a man named of Peter Fowler. From an article he wrote a number of years ago. It’s rather an enigmatic title, Cultural landscapes, Dreadful phrase, Great concept. He was criticizing the term cultural landscape.
The definition, which I give below and wide quoted is because it’s succinct, and in particular, I find it theoretically and professionally workable as Fowler. Let’s quickly look at it. Cultural landscapes reflect the interactions between people and their natural environment over space and time. Nature, in this context, is the counterpart of human society; both are dynamic, the dynamic forces, shaping the landscape. A cultural landscape is a complex phenomenon arising…… A cultural landscape is a complex phenomenon with a tangible and intangible identity. The intangible component arises from ideas and interactions which have an impact on the perceptions and shaping of a landscape, such as sacred beliefs closely linked to the landscape and the way it has been perceived over time.
Here is the perhaps the most important sensors. Cultural landscapes mirror the cultures which created them. This definition evolved from discussions at a UNESCO international meeting in Germany in 1993, which I had the pleasure of attending. And we were discussing the three categories of cultural landscape that were announced in 1992 for World Heritage purposes. And these categories, which are shown here, evolved out of increasing interest in the cultural and landscape concept during the 1980s and early 90s. And as it gathered momentum, it permeated or linked into cultural heritage management and planning theory and practice. So, we have three sorts of cultural landscapes for World Heritage purposes. Clearly defined landscapes designed and intentionally created by man.
And here I use a Chinese example and the Japanese example of famous gardens. The second is the organically evolved landscapes into categories, a relic or fossil landscape in which the evolutionary process has come to an end but where its distinguishing features are still visible. Here is an example from the middle east. And it’s an area which is on the World Heritage list in Syria. It’s called visit now, known as the Deserted Villages.
But the most widespread kind of landscape is the second type in the evolved landscaped continuing landscapes which retain an active social role in contemporary society associated with traditional ways of life, and where the evolutionary process is still in progress, and whether this significant material evidence of its evolution over time. And the third category of the associative cultural landscapes is justifiable by virtue of the powerful religious, artistic, or cultural associations of the natural element rather than the material cultural evidence. Here I use famous Australia example Uluru, the aboriginal place of Uluru, and associated with the aboriginal art of dot painting, in which the dots would put on represent the landscape.
And it’s like looking out of a plane window down onto the landscape.
Their critical to the 1990s movement the were 1960s and 1970s scholarly writings of cultural geographer, such as David Lowenthal, Peirce Lewis, Donald Manning, J.B. Jackson with his inimitable essays on the everyday American scene, Dennis Cosgrove in Britain, and J.N Jennings in Australia. They built on the late 19th century German tradition of a man called Otto Shooter, who was also a geographer. And he coined the term made the word “culture launcher”, which is German for cultural landscape where he saw landscape morphology, the shape of the landscape out there,
as a result of culture, it’s a cultural outcome. And round about the same time, there’s another German, who’s both an anthropologist and a geographer, Franz Boas, who championed the idea that different cultures adjusted to similar environments. And he taught what we called the historic mode of conceptualizing environment. In other words, you need to look at the history of the place. He argued that it was important to understand cultural traits of societies, their behaviors, their beliefs, and their symbols, and the necessity of examining these in their local context.
He also understood that as people migrate from one place to another, and as the cultural context changes over time, the elements of a culture and their meanings will change, which led him to emphasize the importance of local histories for an analysis of cultures.
Now, at this point in the paper, it’s important to acknowledge that the fundamental question or dilemma facing any critical discussion on cultural landscape is whether the term cultural is appropriate, or should we just refer to landscape? Why use cultural? If the discourse on lines landscape is inextricably linked to aspects of culture, nature, diversity and human identity. And in this regard, the Chinese scholar in Tongji University, professor Fang Hande, she believes, or she argues, for example, that in China the term has been problematic.
She suggests that people are part of the landscape experience, and that landscaping with the context of nature has its own specific meanings particularly in China. And she argues that in contrast with western ideas, that landscape is humanistic, rather than religious, its aesthetic rather than scientific.
Traveling in nature aims to be enjoyable in groups, the either individual and groups of people. Whereas one aspect of landscape in some parts of western discourses, you need to be alone. The wilderness idea there are lots of people going, it destroys the idea. Does it? I don’t think it does. She also said that artistic rebuilt nature is more beautiful than the original. An interesting enough, that is similar to the Italian renaissance gardens of the 17th century, in which art design we’re seeing to include natural elements actually improving on nature, making nature better.

In this video, Professor Ken Taylor will introduce the conceptual framework of cultural landscape.

What are the types of cultural landscapes?

Please share your thoughts in the comments section below.

This article is from the free online

International Culture and Tourism Management: Cultural Heritage and Tourism Management

Created by
FutureLearn - Learning For Life

Reach your personal and professional goals

Unlock access to hundreds of expert online courses and degrees from top universities and educators to gain accredited qualifications and professional CV-building certificates.

Join over 18 million learners to launch, switch or build upon your career, all at your own pace, across a wide range of topic areas.

Start Learning now