Participatory methods for identifying cultural heritage landscapes

Authored by: Michael Drescher , Robert Feick , Christopher DeGeer , Robert Shipley

The Routledge Companion to Rural Planning

Print publication date:  January  2019
Online publication date:  January  2019

Print ISBN: 9781138104051
eBook ISBN: 9781315102375
Adobe ISBN:


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The concept of ‘cultural landscape’ is relatively new in planning. A cultural landscape can be defined in various ways but generally is seen as a distinct geographic area that may have been altered by human activity and that can help us understand a people or place. This chapter explores the concept of cultural landscapes, discusses their importance in rural planning and outlines how candidate sites are identified. Given that conserving the values that such places represent is desirable, the chapter considers first how legislation and policies have evolved to guide planning practice. In the past, the identification of special planning areas was primarily undertaken in a top down manner by experts. However, involving the broader community has become a hallmark of cultural landscape planning. Through the lens of a case study in Ontario, Canada’s most densely populated province, several approaches to public participation in cultural landscape identification are explored. This case study not only involved the general population but also reached out to distinct local groups, such as religious communities and First Nations (Indigenous people). The challenges inherent in such an effort are outlined and the lessons learned have been summarised. Recommendations are offered for potential application in other jurisdictions.

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