The concept of traditional landscapes was introduced in Flanders in 1985 and aimed to actualise the classical chorology of the geographical regions. Traditional landscapes have been defined as the landscapes which evolved during centuries until the fast and large scale modern changes in ‘tabula rasa’ style started. These large scale impacts became possible with the Industrial Revolution when the necessary technological power became available. Nevertheless, the modern impacts became really devastating after World War II with the economical boom that followed. These changes deform the traditional structures, and thus their functioning, of the existing landscapes. In some places the traditional landscape was even wiped away entirely to create a completely new landscape. The modern landscapes are mainly characterised by uniform and rational solutions and lack identity and personality. Remnants of the traditional landscape structures still exist but became isolated patches in a large scale uniformed space and are more and more difficult to recognise. The concept of an ensemble and its use as an anchor place proved to be a valuable approach for landscape management. The first aim of the mapping of the traditional landscapes was to reconstruct the pre-industrial spatial framework for the whole territory of the Flanders Region, based upon the natural regions and the cultural-historical landscapes which were superimposed during centuries. This was achieved using a hierarchical land classification showing the ‘familiarity’ between smaller units to form larger regions. Secondly, for all units the characteristics of their actual and past situation were described. This allowed to formulate models or ideal descriptions for the different types of traditional landscapes. As the detail and completeness of the available information is not yet equally available for the different regions, the method conceived the possibility of refining the mapping and modelling in the future. Examples of the traditional landscape mapping and modelling will be discussed to clarify the methodology.
Landscape and Urban Planning – Elsevier
Published: Oct 1, 1997
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