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Beyond the conventional: Meeting the challenges of landscape governance within the European Landscape Convention?

Scott, Alister
Journal of environmental management 2011 v.92 no.10 pp. 2754-2762
case studies, governance, interviews, landscape management, landscapes, planning, policy analysis, Scotland
Academics and policy makers seeking to deconstruct landscape face major challenges conceptually, methodologically and institutionally. The meaning(s), identity(ies) and management of landscape are controversial and contested. The European Landscape Convention provides an opportunity for action and change set within new governance agendas addressing interdisciplinarity and spatial planning. This paper critically reviews the complex web of conceptual and methodological frameworks that characterise landscape planning and management and then focuses on emerging landscape governance in Scotland within a mixed method approach involving policy analyses, semi-structured interviews and best practice case studies. Using Dower’s (2008) criteria from the Articles of the European Landscape Convention, the results show that whilst some progress has been made in landscape policy and practice, largely through the actions of key individuals and champions, there are significant institutional hurdles and resource limitations to overcome. The need to mainstream positive landscape outcomes requires a significant culture change where a one-size-fits-all approach does not work.