Italiano
Paesaggio e patrimonio culturale

Landscape and cultural heritage

Basic concepts

In order to define the concept of Landscape and Cultural Heritage, it is convenient to start from the classical distinction (Biasutti, 1962) between the two dimensions of landscape: "the sensitive or visual landscape consisting of what the eye can embrace, or if we wish, what is perceptible to all senses; a landscape that can be reproduced by a photograph (…) or by a picture of a painter or by the brief and short description of a writer". The second dimension is related to the geographical landscape which is an abstract synthesis of the visible landscapes because it tends to detect the elements or features presenting the most common repetitions over a space which may vary in size, but which is in any case bigger than the one comprised in a sole horizon."
The combination of Landscape and Cultural Heritage defining this domain can be summarized as follows: landscape is the sensitive landscape as defined by Biasutti, while "Cultural Heritage" is represented by the geographical landscape, whenever it is related to an historical value, together with other aspects of cultural heritage such as museums, monuments etc.
The sensitive landscape is related to individual experience, contributing to individual wellbeing in a so called "existential" sphere. The factors determining its influence on individual quality of life are imponderable and far from the mere sphere of aesthetic values. The affective and symbolic values bind to individual memory and day by day habits are maybe the most important ones. Everything is anyway filtered by the lens of subjective perception.
Geographical landscape, on the other hand, is settled by history in specific forms recognized by the community giving a particular identity to a region of physical space. According to the Code of Cultural Heritage and Landscape, geographical landscape is defined as "a homogeneous part of territory whose features derive from nature, from human history or from their mutual interrelations". In this sense, the landscape is an integral part of the Cultural Heritage and of the historical heritage of the community. The same definition is given by the Italian Constitution that binds the Landscape to the protection of the "National historical and artistic heritage" (art.9).
Specific attention must be paid to the feature of agricultural landscape defined as: "the form that man gives to natural landscape during the conscious and systematic agricultural activity and its purpose" . The protection of agricultural landscape is also part of the strategic goals of National Strategic Plan for rural development of 2007-2013. The reason is related to the fact that the landscape "is a key resource with added value to the products with designation of origins, resulting in a key element for the development of tourism and for the biodiversity bind to the quality of the cultivated areas (…) and representing an aspect that characterizes the quality of life in the rural areas" .
Objective measures may be applied to the Landscape/Cultural Heritage thus defined, and can be referred to both the quantification and qualification of territorial supply and to the effectiveness of governance in the protection of the supply themselves.
In this sense, the degree of conservation of landscapes recognised as of historical value, equally to what happen for the consistency of the artistic and monumental heritage, is connected to the ability of a territory to represent a source of well-being for the community thanks to the richness of its cultural heritage and landscape.
However, the landscape is changing and changing should not be necessarily considered as worsening, and at the same time conservation should not be considered a positive value itself. The real value is the protection of traditional or historical landscapes for its benefits at different levels, documented by an extensive literature and all linked to the dimension of collective well-being: preservation of historical memory and territories identity, tourism's promotion that creates richness and brings worth to local products, environmental protection and soil conservation. As demonstrated by active local associations, the protection of landscape is also an important factor of social gathering, and it is strongly linked to the quality of life.

Dimensions considered to represent the domain

In the domain representation several elements need to be considered: the contribution - positive, negative or neutral - of sensitive landscape to quality of life of individuals; the crucial relevance of art and culture for the growth of social, human and economic capital of the country; and the correlations with well-being of individuals related to forms of identification and sharing of the values of cultural heritage - including as integral part of the latter the geographic landscapes of historical value, seen as common goods contributing to personal and collective well-being.
To measure the contribution of sensitive landscape to quality of life subjective indicators of perception of values of sites or of their impoverishment/maintenance are used. For the second component the proposed measures are indicators of the endowment of goods and of the forms of protection guaranteed by public governance, these measures are used to assess how citizens consider these goods as common goods, well-being bearer, in which identify and for which endeavour to ensure the respect and protection for future generations.
To carry out the analysis, the territory of each region is divided into three distinct landscape areas: urban, rural and natural. A subset of "cross section indicators" including indicators considered relevant for all areas of survey domain is defined, while for rural and urban areas specific subset of indicators are defined in order to take into account the different nature of the phenomena. Indicators for natural areas are not proposed in consideration of the redundancy with those proposed for the Environment domain, because – according to the adopted approach - in the natural landscape environmental and landscape quality tend to coincide.
For urban areas territorial units of analysis coincide with the areas included in centres, residential areas and places of production, as mapped by Istat in the "Basi territoriali" of Census .
In rural areas agrarian regions are chosen as units of analysis . This area is further divided into three “phases” corresponding to different developmental stages of rural areas: a central phase, corresponding to active and stable agricultural areas, and two transition phases, one towards the urban (areas attacked by urban sprawl, that is forms of widespread and low-density edification) and the other towards the uncultivated/natural (deserted agricultural areas in process of re-naturalization) identified according to the combined variations of scattered population (resident outside of central and inhabited areas) and of the exploited agricultural area (SAU).

List of indicators

  1. Endowment of cultural heritage items: The number of archaeological sites, monuments and museums surveyed by the "Risk Map of Cultural Heritage" (an information system held by the Italian Ministry of Culture), per sq.km.
    The universe of reference will be integrated over time using updates on the census of heritage with the data published in the “Guide Rosse” of the Italian Touring Club or other thematic publications. The indicator allows you to locate concentrations of archaeological and architectural heritage that contribute to improve the aesthetics quality and historical and cultural value of the landscape. The quality of the landscape and the daily experience with the historical and artistic heritage which deeply marks a very significant share of the national territory, are key components for the definition of well-being. Art and architecture are historical setting of most of the villages, establishing urban grid, road network, symbolic references, lifestyles and relationships, making them high-value contexts of identity and cohesion.
  2. Current expenditure of Municipalities for the management of cultural heritage: Current expenditure of Municipalities for the management of cultural heritage (museums, libraries and art galleries) in euro per capita
    The indicator provides a direct measure of resources devoted to the culture, the protection and promotion of cultural heritage. Under the reduction of public spending and intense competition between public services for funds, a per capita share of spending on cultural goods higher than the national average is a significant proxy of the importance given by the local administrators to the cultural heritage, to its contribution to the quality of goods and places and therefore indirectly to the welfare of residents and visitors.
  3. Illegal building rate: Ratio of the number of unauthorized buildings to the number of building permits issued by the Municipalities.
    The indicator summarizes, with simplicity and clarity, a key aspect of “good governance” of the area, associated with obvious consequences on welfare. Unauthorized building, like any other form of illegal, undermines the credibility of government bodies and generates negative behaviors and expectations by citizens. From this point of view, the indicator is not only a direct measure of the damage to landscape , but also a good proxy for the protection of public interests.
  4. Urbanization rate of areas subject to building restrictions by virtue of the Italian laws on landscape protection: Number of buildings realized after 1981 in areas subject to building restrictions by the "Galasso Law" (no. 431/1985, as integrated by the Cultural Heritage and Landscape Code - Legislative Decrees no. 42/2004, no. 157/2006 and n. 63/2008), per sq.km.
    The indicator provides a measure of the level of impairment in specific areas that are considered more sensitive in terms of landscape and contributes, with the previous one, to describe the effective capacity of public authorities to safeguard the public interest territory governance. It is also an indirect measure of the risk of disaffection of citizens in the protection of common goods and the subsequent disintegration of the sense of identity to where people live.
  5. Erosion of farmland from urban sprawl: Percentage ratio of rural areas affected by urban sprawl to the total of rural areas ("rural areas affected by urban sprawl": rural areas with increasing population and decreasing agricultural land).
    The indicator is a proxy of the impact of the built-up in non-urban areas, associated with impairment and fragmentation of rural landscapes. The transformation of rural areas in vast areas of sub-urban areas, in addition to obvious aesthetic and functional repercussions on the rural environment also involves the proliferation of a not sustainable pattern, characterized by high consumption of soil and intensification of the daily mobility, with obvious negative consequences on the individual and collective wellbeing.
  6. Erosion of farmland from abandonment: Percentage ratio of abandoned rural areas to the total of rural areas.
    The indicator is a measure of the dynamics of rural depopulation, active especially in mountain areas and normally associated with an increased hydrogeological risk, resulting from the reduction of maintenance works related to agricultural practice. The natural transformation of these areas could be regarded positively by an environmental point of view, it represents a loss of value from the cultural point of view, since it involves the obliteration of characteristic forms of traditional rural landscape (terracing, hydraulic, etc.).
  7. Presence of historic rural landscapes: percentage ratio of areas classified as such by the National Inventory of historic rural landscapes to the total area of the Region.
    The measure of the persistence of rural landscapes historians is adopted for the classification of the budget of those areas where the maintenance of representative expressions of local cultural identities, but also the value of the Italian landscape in the cultural heritage of humanity, translate operationally in ‘harmonious coexistence of productive activities that generate income for the people and protection of landscape features and traditional environmental.
  8. Quality assessment of Regional programmes for rural development (PSRs), with regard to the landscape protection: Score assigned to the PSRs based on the adoption of measures of a potentially positive impact on the rural landscape, among those envisaged by the National Strategic Plan for Rural Development 2007-2013.
    The evaluation of the quality of the policies implemented by the Regions on the rural landscape and their potential impact (positive or negative) on the frame of reference is used as a measure of the attention from local authorities to the protection and conservation of rural landscapes historical whose value (supplied) is described in terms of effects and correlations with the well-being of the people above.
  9. Presence of Historic Parks/Gardens and other Urban Parks recognized of significant public interest: Percentage ratio of the area of parks and gardens classified as "historic" and/or "of a significant public interest" by the Legislative Decree no. 42/2004 to the total area of the provincial capital Municipalities.
    The urban green is a fundamental element of the built environment in relation to the landscape. The spread of urban green (supplied), referred to as the value of urban contexts also Agenda 21 and the Aalborg Charter, is a matter of great importance for the improvement of the quality of life in cities as well as the obvious environmental impacts and health human, also in relation to its function aesthetic-landscape. Indeed, the presence of the green “historic” and integrating it into the architectural and cultural heritage, which features many of the specifically urban Italians, described and depicted by writers and artists in its uniqueness as a specific feature of our landscape, identifies and associates in ‘imagination the beauty and harmony to our nation.
  10. Conservation of historic urban fabric: Share of inhabited buildings realized before 1919 and in excellent or good state on the total number of building realized before 1919.
    Maintaining a high proportion of historic buildings inhabited and well preserved is indirect index of the local governance and private initiative, as a function of the appreciation for the architectural continuity, spatial and visual landscape of the urban built environment, allocate resources to preserve the relevant quantitative and qualitative. A place that keeps intact as possible brought its historical, cultural and attracts at the same time the permanence of the resident population, strengthens the sense of belonging and recognition of citizens, increasing civic and individual attention to safeguarding. It also helps to trigger virtuous mechanisms attractive tourist flows that feed the overall economic well-being.
  11. People that are not satisfied with the quality of landscape of the place where they live: Proportion of regional population reporting that the landscape of the place where they live is affected by evident deterioration.
  12. Concern about landscape deterioration: Proportion of population reporting, among the environmental problems for which they express more concern, the decay of landscape due to overbuilding.
    The last two proposed indicators measure the perception of citizens about the degradation of scenic places to live. In the first case may have a role, in addition to the objective value / quality or degradation of a place, even the subjective projections of emotional and symbolic values that bind each to his own place to live. The second indicator allows in particular to investigate, among the various problems related to the quality of the environment and of the territories, the weight in the perception of people due to the specific concern (and consequently feelings of comfort/discomfort) to uncontrolled and invasive forms of construction. As described above, the indicators for the cross-domain object of analysis, the indicator also becomes an indirect measure both orientation / disaffection of citizens with the protection of common goods and the consequent consolidation / dissolution of the sense of identity to places of life. Both indicators can be derived from the proposed questions currently on an experimental investigation Istat “Aspects of daily life” for improvement in the formulation and more spherical grasp the satisfaction or concern related to the state scenic places to live.