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Culture, Landscape and Sustainability

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050). This special issue belongs to the section "Social Ecology and Sustainability".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 May 2024 | Viewed by 3273

Special Issue Editors

Center for Landscape and Culture, School of Humanities, Tallinn University, 10120 Tallinn, Estonia
Interests: cultural geography; collaborative planning; community; heritage; maritime culture; stewardship
Department of Geography, University of the Aegean, 81100 Mytiline, Lesvos, Greece
Interests: geographies of everyday life; landscape studies; tourism and development; identities and globalization; participatory governance
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The nexus of culture, landscape, and sustainability is not a new research area (Palang et al. 2017). The issue of sustainable future management of old cultural landscapes had already been raised in 1999 by Vos and Meekes. Although culture is not so self-evident in the visions of United Nation’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals, Routledge has been running a book series on Studies in Culture and Sustainable Development, since 2015. Furthermore, based on its integrative, interrelating, and interlinking character, as a strand of sustainability, should cultural sustainability altogether be considered a separate pillar, intersecting the ecological, economic, and social dimensions or forming the basis of them all (Dessein et al. 2015, Soini and Dessein 2016)?

Although we claim that all landscapes are cultural, cultural change continues to impart upon and imbue landscapes with new qualities and characteristics (e.g., renewable energy ones or eco-villages) with newly emergent lifestyles and expectations. How are we to operationalize sustainability in these new contexts of landscape change (Antrop 2006)? In the ongoing series of crises (i.e., climate change, energy and food crises, war, pandemics, migration and economic depression, tourism, etc.) unforeseen developments—both positive and negative—may become a mainstay, despite long-term landscape planning visions and strategies. How to tackle reactionary, adaptive, counter-active (i.e., re-wilding), resilient, interim-usage and conservative, or other processes in our landscapes? Landscape transformation has been seen as a rather stable development in recent decades, while acknowledging changes in the values that landscapes represent in their constant state of becoming (Pavlis and Terkenli 2017). What is or may be the role of culture in landscape planning, use, management, stewardship and governance, and vice versa (Terkenli and Georgoula 2022)?

Meanwhile, landscape sustainability as a science continues to evolve (Wu 2013, 2021). In light of the ‘new reality’ presently faced by humanity, do we need to accommodate (cultural) sustainability in landscapes accordingly, as in, for example, ‘quiet sustainability’ (e.g., Smith and Jehlička 2013) or degrowth? Is sustainability (Kuhlman and Farrington 2010), as well as cultural sustainability (Soini and Birkeland 2014), relevant or even meaningful and desirable, in newly emergent landscape contexts? How do top–down policy-making interacts with bottom–up needs and priorities and how may these best accommodated in the landscape? Finally, how do these overly complex and often vaguely-defined concepts (culture, landscape, and sustainability) come together in socio-spatial experience and practice?

This Special Issue seeks to ascertain and highlight recent theoretical and epistemological contributions, as well as methodological innovations and empirical applications, in the contemporary interdisciplinary field constituting of research areas on culture, landscape, and sustainability. We invite research ranging from specific case studies to theoretical-methodological inroads into scientific areas of interface between and among these three research subjects: culture and landscape, cultural sustainability, and landscape sustainability.

References

Dr. Anu Printsmann
Prof. Dr. Theano S. Terkenli
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Sustainability is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2400 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • culture and landscape
  • cultural sustainability
  • landscape sustainability

Published Papers (4 papers)

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Research

24 pages, 13179 KiB  
Article
Identifying Rural Landscape Heritage Character Types and Areas: A Case Study of the Li River Basin in Guilin, China
Sustainability 2024, 16(4), 1626; https://doi.org/10.3390/su16041626 - 16 Feb 2024
Viewed by 260
Abstract
Rural landscape heritage faces issues of landscape character homogenization and unclear protection boundaries. We propose combining landscape character assessment (LCA) methods to identify the characteristics and areas of heritage, aiming to preserve the diversity and integrity of the landscape. This paper focuses on [...] Read more.
Rural landscape heritage faces issues of landscape character homogenization and unclear protection boundaries. We propose combining landscape character assessment (LCA) methods to identify the characteristics and areas of heritage, aiming to preserve the diversity and integrity of the landscape. This paper focuses on the Li River Basin as the study area, presenting a method for identifying characteristics and areas of rural landscape heritage. It is divided into four steps: selection and spatial scope identification of rural landscape heritage, identification of natural character areas, identification of cultural character areas, and identification and analysis of character areas of rural landscape heritage. Firstly, cultural relic units, traditional villages, and intangible cultural heritage as sources of rural landscape heritage were selected by utilizing the Minimum Cumulative Resistance model (MCR) to calculate the spatial scope of rural landscape heritage. Secondly, clustering and automatic partition methods were employed to classify the Li River Basin into four types of natural character areas. Thirdly, cultural core areas and buffer areas were determined based on the heritage source hierarchy and cultural features. Fourthly, by overlaying heritage spatial ranges, natural character areas, and cultural character areas, 2 levels of heritage areas, 7 types of heritage cultural areas, and 43 heritage character units were obtained. This method not only provides a comprehensive framework for the identification of characteristics and areas for rural landscape heritage but also enhances the integrity of data selection in landscape character assessment methods at the cultural level. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Culture, Landscape and Sustainability)
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30 pages, 50023 KiB  
Article
“There Are No True Himbas Anymore”: Exploring the Dynamics of the Himba Culture and Land Use in the Face of Change in Kunene Region, Namibia
Sustainability 2024, 16(4), 1582; https://doi.org/10.3390/su16041582 - 13 Feb 2024
Viewed by 388
Abstract
The Himba people have upheld a unique society for many decades, characterized by their distinctive customs and social structures. Though they have demonstrated great resilience and endured various external forces threatening their cultural identity, the survival of the Himba culture is in jeopardy [...] Read more.
The Himba people have upheld a unique society for many decades, characterized by their distinctive customs and social structures. Though they have demonstrated great resilience and endured various external forces threatening their cultural identity, the survival of the Himba culture is in jeopardy due to the increasing challenges of modernization and environmental degradation. This study aimed to document and understand the Himba traditional culture, examine how external factors have influenced them, and explore how resilient their culture is in the face of outside pressures. The study reveals that the Himba people are facing significant cultural transformations brought about by many outside factors, such as modernization, globalization, education, religion, and environmental pressures. Most participants concurred that the Himba culture has changed. While some respondents expressed a sense of regret for losing their culture, some felt the cultural changes experienced were warranted. By studying how the Himba people respond to environmental and societal changes, this study showcases the resilience of indigenous communities and provides valuable insights into the intricate relationship between Himba culture, land use, and sustainability. As a tribe in transition, adapting to uncertainty and embracing change may be the only option for them to sustain their culture. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Culture, Landscape and Sustainability)
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20 pages, 19239 KiB  
Article
Cultural Fluctuation of Lake Communities by the Shrinkage of Lake Limboto, Indonesia
Sustainability 2024, 16(2), 704; https://doi.org/10.3390/su16020704 - 13 Jan 2024
Viewed by 457
Abstract
The fluctuating conditions of Lake Limboto have greatly affected the activities of people living around the lake. The shallowing and narrowing of the lake poses a significant problem to local people’s survival. The lake is predicted to disappear by 2030, which will consequentially [...] Read more.
The fluctuating conditions of Lake Limboto have greatly affected the activities of people living around the lake. The shallowing and narrowing of the lake poses a significant problem to local people’s survival. The lake is predicted to disappear by 2030, which will consequentially lead to a diminishment in the productivity of the lake. This article aims to analyze how the communities around the lake respond in their daily activities to the transformation of the lake and the shocking prediction about its lifespan. This study uses an interdisciplinary approach by integrating multiple fields of study to understand and address the problems regarding this issue. This research comprised a literature review, field survey, and in-depth interview process around the lake. This research relied on the framework of cultural studies to analyze the survival and resilience of the people around the lake, gaining an understanding of their special daily activities. The results of this study show that some people are aware of the lake’s gradual recession, but they have not prepared for it, treating the problem as only a government affair. They continue to live at the lake’s shores, enduring even amidst impoverished conditions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Culture, Landscape and Sustainability)
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17 pages, 10710 KiB  
Article
Smellscape Characteristics of an Urban Park in Summer: A Case Study in Beijing, China
Sustainability 2024, 16(1), 163; https://doi.org/10.3390/su16010163 - 23 Dec 2023
Viewed by 741
Abstract
The construction of urban green spaces is a pivotal aspect of sustainable urban development. As societal preferences evolve, a shift from visually oriented landscapes to multi-sensory landscapes has emerged. However, scant attention has been given to the olfactory dimension of urban green spaces. [...] Read more.
The construction of urban green spaces is a pivotal aspect of sustainable urban development. As societal preferences evolve, a shift from visually oriented landscapes to multi-sensory landscapes has emerged. However, scant attention has been given to the olfactory dimension of urban green spaces. This study addresses this gap by investigating the relationship between odor perception and park visit experiences, employing a combination of smellwalks and questionnaire surveys conducted in Purple Bamboo Park in Beijing. Natural odors, with most perception frequencies above 60%, are the most dominant odors in Purple Bamboo Park during the summer, including plant, water, and soil smells. The questionnaire survey results revealed a positive correlation between the perception of natural odors and tour experience. Notably, floral fragrances emerged as the predominant olfactory stimulus influencing the park’s olfactory ambiance. Furthermore, a remarkably strong association was observed between the degrees of olfactory, visual, and overall experiential satisfaction, which indicates that multi-sensory experiences in urban parks work as an organic whole. By recognizing the pivotal role of smell in shaping perceptions, urban planners and designers can now integrate olfactory considerations into their work, thereby elevating the overall quality and sustainability of urban green spaces. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Culture, Landscape and Sustainability)
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