Explanation of contingency planning approach to promoting cultural landscape in interaction with human ecology over time

Document Type : Original Article


1 Department of Urban Planning, Faculty of Art, Architecture and Urban Planning, Islamic Azad University, Najaf Abad Branch, Najaf Abad, Iran

2 Department of Urban Planning, Faculty of Architecture and Urban Planning, Art University of Isfahan, Isfahan, Iran


The cultural landscape since the 1990s was introduced by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) as an interdisciplinary subject, and formally was determined on the agenda of the organization’s member communities, while since the 1920s, many scholars have studied and published the related theories. Human ecology is concerned with the relation between human and their environment and is closely linked to the cultural landscape and has the dual function of simultaneously realizing the promotion of cultural landscape values and improving human ecology. Human ecology theorists since 1907 AD have been trying to improve the relationship between human and the environment by doing research on cultural, social, and economic issues. The purpose of this article is to explore transformations of the cultural landscape over time and its continuity in interaction with human ecology that can be implemented in a planning process to promote cultural landscape.
Material and methods:
The type of research in this paper was descriptive-analytical and its methodology was based on historic structural research. The time frame of this research was from 1908, when the first use of the cultural landscape took place beyond the realm of art and painting, until 2020 –the year of this research. Reviewing texts related to theoretical, technical, and experimental frameworks of the cultural landscape and human ecology, and applying documentary analysis, based on historic-structural analysis and comparative analysis, the common fields of the cultural landscape and human ecology were organized in a sequence of cause and effect relations based on time. In this research, the evidence (especially historical evidence) as the research material led the researcher to answer the question “What was it?”. This research method was historical-adaptive that evidence was interpreted with a "contingent and probabilistic" (versus algebra) view of cause and effect and used synthetic explanations. Data and information that were required for this research were historical and qualitative evidence and were gathered from four paths (1) primary texts and sources (2) secondary texts and sources (3) current texts (4) recovered texts.
Results and discussion:
Findings of historic-structural analysis of cultural landscape showed that it is transformed and evolved from “product of nature and humanity” to “representation of the diversity of the relation between human and nature to display unique methods of sustainable land use, properties resulting from the constraints of the natural environment, and mental interaction between human with nature”. Theorists' concern in international experiences is the awareness of individuals and communities to diagnose and describe cultural landscapes in their country and attempt to register them globally in order to protect and enhance the values of the cultural landscape. This can be achieved through “cultural resources management”, which replaces “protection of cultural heritage”. While human ecology, with common substantive with cultural landscape, focuses on interactions between human and the environment in order to inform individuals and communities of the devastating impact of some human actions on ecosystems and cultural landscapes. Scholars in this field of knowledge seek to find solutions to improve the relationship between human and nature, while at the same time researchers and professional activists in the field of the cultural landscape are focused on identifying and describing cultural landscapes. On the other hand, referring to the importance of process-oriented planning and decision-making, attention to the role of actors as well as the need to emphasize the uncertainty principle, the interdisciplinary of the cultural landscape and human ecology concepts, transformations and complexities of natural environments, and anthropogenesis, “strategic planning” approach, and in particular “contingency planning”, can establish a substantive and process link between these dual knowledge domains.
The results of this paper proposed a model of contingency planning related to the cultural landscape and human ecology, with a focus on the historical study and periodic description and analysis of evidence, suggesting a two-step process with two levels (1) documentation and programming and (2) sharing, and six steps (cognition cultural landscape values, identifying cause and effect relations, analyzing the impact, developing response strategies, developing evidence-based contingency plans and sharing contingency plans related to cultural landscape values among key actors). In the first level of this process, cultural landscape values are identified and described using surveys and field observations, and then simultaneously analyzing impacts and developed response strategies by analyzing the substantive of purposeful interviews about the cause and effect relations of each of these values. In the second level, reverse the trend of decreasing cultural landscape values and promote them by proposing evidence-based contingency plans related to the cultural landscape values and sharing them among key actors.


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