Minutes November 22 2011

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Reviewing Sketches

Our session started with a review of last week's sketching theme. The group on urban streets presented their sketches as they could not meet last week. After this, we introduced into the second seminar theme, the landscape layers.

Lecture by Professor Diedrich Bruns about 'Landscape Layers'

In order to make sure that all participants are on the same level of information Diedrich Bruns from Kassel University, Germany, gave an introduction into this theme.

The recording is available here:

A short feedback poll made obvious that the majority of the participants is familiar with the theme presented.

Tasks for the next session

Landscape Layers

  • In the lecture, two approaches have been mentioned:
    • time based approach leading to a 'landscape biography'
    • layering according to different information levels in the landscape such as geomorphology, topography, water, habitats, settlements, points of interest etc.
  • Since our time is very restricted and most of you will be facing difficulties finding all this information we recommend you to concentrate on the time based approach
  • However, relevant landscape/urban features such as water bodies, topography and/or larger green spaces should be added in your analysis in any case. In this respect you may extend the territorial scope of your case in order to show its wider landscape context.
  • Please select the layers you want to analyse according to your specific interest. The types of layers will surely vary according to the character of your area
  • Please consider no less than 5 layers in order to assure comparable results within the groups

Time Frame

  • Results need to be uploaded by Monday, 28th of November
  • Please add short explanations to your layers
  • Again, your findings will be discussed in parallel small groups

Layers – Strategy, Approach, Method and Technique

by Diedrich Bruns, 22/11/2011

According to the European Landscape Convention, the focus of landscape policy making is not only on protecting outstanding landscape features, but to consider and to appreciate the quality of all living surroundings, whether outstanding, everyday or degraded (COE, 2008: § I.4)

Thus, territories should be viewed as whole rather than identifying high-light places only. Strategically, different landscape approaches should be combined, linking ecological, archaeological, historical, cultural, perception, and economic perspectives. The most commonly used approach to practically linking, despite their variety and apparent differenced, these diverse perspectives, is by applying the so called ‘layer-cake’ model. This model is at the very foundation of all modern GIS based methods.

In addition to linking different thematic approaches, the layer principle is also applied to understanding and analysing the evolution of landscapes. The term ‘landscape’ itself has a diversity of contemporary meaning, and these provide the starting point for our analysis. The most commonly used approach to try and understand the genesis of landscape is to define sequences of ‘layers of time’ and to address the transformation not only of the physical landscape but also of the concepts of landscapes. In this case the analytical method is based on the idea that landscapes may be modelled along a multi-temporal trajectory and that the result would be a landscape ‘biography’.

In both approaches GIS techniques are employed. Layering is done, for practical purposes and for the convenience needed to implement models that represent an extremely complex subject, the landscape. Techniques have a tendency to start leading lives of their own, and to make us their slaves. Never forget, therefore, that landscapes form a whole and that this whole should be designed in its entirety.